Have You Thanked Your Donors Lately?

When was the last time you thanked your donors?  Maybe it was when you sent a thank you letter after your year-end appeal.  Perhaps you sent out a Valentine’s Day email message. 
Okay, it’s been awhile. You need to be thanking your donors more often – at least once a month. 
Nonprofit organizations generally don’t do a great job of thanking their donors, and that’s a problem, especially as donor retention rates continue to plunge. 
We can do better. The good news is, with a little planning, you can come up with short, creative ways to thank your donors throughout the year.
Send a card
Now is a great time to send a handwritten card or postcard.  Some organizations do special thank you messages around Thanksgiving or Valentine’s Day, but not in May or June.
Your donors probably won’t be expecting anything and should be pleasantly surprised. Send something by the end of June before people start going on vacation.
Share your mid-year accomplishments
We’re almost halfway through the calendar year.  Hard to believe, isn’t it?  Share some accomplishments with your donors.  Remember to focus on how THEY are helping you make a difference.
You could create a postcard infographic with a prominent thank you and a few accomplishments.  Keep it short and engaging. Don’t bore donors with a lot of facts and statistics.
Create a thank you photo or video
A good photo can get your message across in an instant.  Think about creating a photo where a person or group holds a thank you sign. 

Network For Good Thank You Photo  

beCause Thank You Photo 
I really like this thank you video from OperationSmile.  It features different people associated with the organization saying thank you.  Can you do something like that?  You don’t need to make a long video.  Two minutes or less is great. 
Put your photos and video on your website and share them by email and social media.

Use your newsletter to thank your donors

Many nonprofits have a newsletter, which often focuses too on much the organization. Your newsletter should always be donor-focused.
When you share success stories, thank your donors in the process.  Thanks to you, we were able to expand our afterschool program to three more high schools.
Do something special for your donors
Think about having an open house or maybe a BBQ for your donors.   A great time to do this would be in September or October.  It’s a nice segue to your year-end appeal.  
Make an investment to thank your donors
You may be thinking, we don’t have time to do some of these things and we can’t afford to do a lot of mailings.  That may be so, but you can’t skimp on thanking your donors.
Create a Thank You Plan that you can incorporate into your communications calendar.  I hope you have a communications calendar because that will make some of this a lot easier.
You might not have much of a printing and mailing budget, but some donors prefer print communication.  Besides it’s always nice to get a thoughtful card in the mail.  Can you budget more for printing and mailing?  Communicating with your donors should be a priority. Make an Investment to Thank Your Donors 
Keep finding ways to thank your donors throughout the year.  What are some other ways you thank your donors?

Photo by Jon Ashcroft https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode

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