Altus Dynamics Blog

Top 10 Unique & Memorable Ways to Thank Your Donors

Posted by Davis Campbell on Nov 3, 2015 10:00:00 AM

thank_youSaying thank you to your donors. It can be a pretty simple process. Just write some “personalized” copy, set up an email automation in your donor management software, and voila! But if you want to retain and engage your donors, you need to step it up. In 2015, a simple “thanks” won’t do. To help you differentiate from the generic thank yous of days past, we’ve created a list of the Top 10 Unique Ways to Thank Your Donors to help your organization gain and retain donors for the future.

Handwritten Postcards: The key in thanking donors is keeping it personal. One way of doing this is sending print materials, like postcards. Whether it’s branded with your organization’s logos or from a country you do work in, the personal touch of a postcard will always have a positive impact on donor loyalty.

“This is going on the fridge”: Your goal should be to give thank yous that make it onto your donors’ fridges. What makes something worthy of a spot on the precious refrigerator? It must have a simple layout, larger text, a focus on a photo, and magnetic, if possible. This combination of elements should create a thank you that speaks to your donors on a personal level and can earn you a place on the most coveted display in their home.

Souvenir Thank Yous: If you’re a global nonprofit, this can be a great way to thank and engage your supporters. By sending your donors items such as signed currency, buttons, and other mail-friendly souvenirs, you connect the thank you, donation, and the mission, which in turn further engages donors with your mission.

Thank Yous from Beneficiaries: On the theme of linking the donation to the mission, this is a great way of thanking and engaging donors. Photos, videos, or any other media, of constituents directly thanking donors will keep your mission in the top of their minds, while also creating a personal connection with your supporters.

Personalized Video Messages: Although print thank you messages are a unique way to thank donors, emails can still standout and be effective if they include videos. With speaking from your staff, beneficiaries, and/or other donors, personalized videos can add a level of friendliness that cannot be matched through standard emails.

“Call Me”: In an era fueled by online communication, a telephone call comes as a pleasant surprise to most donors. Phone calls let your organization get to know your donors better, creating a personal connection that also can facilitate donor loyalty. In her book, Penelope Burk found that 95% of donors would appreciate a thank you call within 2 days of donating (Tweet this Stat!), and 85% said such a thank you call would influence them to give again (Tweet this Stat!). You appreciate your donors, and they appreciate a timely phone call; so give them what they want!

Greeting Cards: To create a personal, friendly, and warm feel in a time that feels cold and “for the masses”, send your supporters greeting cards! Something that gets to the point (i.e. thank you for donating) in a concise manner, yet remains personal. Handwritten or printed on stationary, a card will help you develop the friendly donor relationships that other organizations can only dream of.

Thank You with Swag: A pin, keychain, hat, t-shirt etc., all of it is swag. It’s the only and (relatively) cheapest way to combine a gifted-thank you donors with organizational promo and advertising. To save money on the gear and capitalize on its appeal, you can create a leveled system where the donor’s gift depends on their level of donation e.g. $10 gets a keychain, $100 gets a hoodie.

Use Social Media: Through shout-outs and personal messages, you can thank your donors and reach out to their social network. Though social media is seen as an impersonal form of communication by the old guard, many of your supporters would appreciate contact through sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, just as much as you appreciate their donations!

Include Pictures: Including photos of constituents, beneficiaries, and/or infographics the donor’s contributions can help you separate your thank you letters from the rest of the pack. If your nonprofit gives books to underprivileged children, send a photo of them smiling with their new books. If your organization provides clean water to villages in Africa, show your beneficiaries with their new water supply. Linking the message to the mission through a photo will remind the donor of why they donated in the first place while also instilling a sense of

When reforming or creating a thank you program, you must be sure to use mediums that allow for emphasis on your organization’s personal touch and the mission-to-message connection. And remember, donor appreciation programs that standout are the ones that standup the best to the challenges of retention and engagement that nonprofits face today.

Want to learn how to increase your holiday donations? Check out our webinar Beyond Year's End: Donor Engagement Strategies for Extending Holiday Giving

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This Post Was Written By Davis Campbell
Davis Campbell is our awesome marketing intern from Wilfrid Laurier University.