Valentine’s Day is coming up and it’s a perfect opportunity to thank your donors and show how much you appreciate their support. Okay, maybe you think doing something for Valentine’s Day is hokey, but you should still do something fun and creative to show appreciation this month. The holidays are over, winter isn’t, and the world doesn’t feel like a very nice place right now, so we could all use a little pick-me-up.
This is also a good opportunity to stay in touch with the people who gave to your year-end appeal, especially first-time donors. If you haven’t shown any donor love since your year-end appeal, then you definitely need to reach out now.
Here are some ideas.
Create a thank you photo
Make your donor’s day with a great photo, like one of these.
You can send thank you photos via email and social media, use one to create a card, and include one on your thank you landing page.
Make a video
Videos are becoming an increasingly popular way to connect. Here are a couple that I received recently by email.
You’ll notice that both are short (and they need to be short), donor-centered, and show the organization’s work up close and personal.
Share an update or success story
In addition to saying thank you, share a brief update or success story. Emphasize how you couldn’t have helped someone without your donor’s support. For example – Thanks to you, Jenna won’t go to bed hungry tonight.
Send a card
A handwritten note will also brighten your donor’s day. If you don’t have the budget to send cards to everyone, send them to your most valuable donors. These may not be the ones who give you the most money. Do you have donors who have supported your organization for more than three years? How about more than five years? These are your valuable donors.
Another idea – Send a small number of thank you cards every month, ensuring that each donor gets at least one card a year. Spreading it out may be easier on your budget.
Thank You 101
Make this the year you do a better job of thanking your donors. Thank your donors right away and send a thank you note/letter or make a phone call. Electronic thank yous aren’t good enough.
Be personal and conversational when you thank your donors. Don’t use jargon or other language they won’t understand. Write from the heart, but be sincere. Give specific examples of how your donors are helping you make a difference.
If your budget doesn’t allow you to mail handwritten cards, is there a way you can change that? You may be able to get a print shop to donate cards. You can also look for additional sources of unrestricted funding to cover cards and postage.
Maybe you need a change of culture. Getting your board, all staff, and volunteers involved in thanking your donors will make a huge difference.
Keep thinking of ways to surprise and delight your donors! Get creative.
You can’t say thank you enough. Make a commitment to thank your donors at least once a month.
You don’t even need to wait for a holiday or special occasion. Just thank your donors because they’re incredible and you wouldn’t be able to make a difference without them.