Thanksgiving is coming up and it’s a time of the year in the U.S. when we show gratitude to the special people in our lives. For many, it will be a different Thanksgiving. Some people may not gather with family and friends and if they do, it will be with fewer people, while taking precautions to stay safe.
Your donors are also special people. Many of them have gone the extra mile this year to help you during these difficult times. Don’t they deserve to be showered with gratitude?
Even if donors cut back on their giving or haven’t given at all this year, they should still get some attention. Hopefully, they’ll give again in the future. There’s a better chance of that if you treat them well.
Showing gratitude doesn’t happen nearly as often as it should, but you need to spend just as much time thanking your donors as you do on fundraising.
Here are a few ways to thank your donors and let them know they’re special.
Wish your donors a Happy Thanksgiving
Send your donors a special Thanksgiving message. A lot of nonprofits already do this, but I think as many organizations as possible should do it this year. If you can send a card or postcard, that’s great, but an email message is also fine.
As I hope you’ve been doing for the last several months, wish your donors well. Let them know how grateful you are to have them as part of your family. Your donors will appreciate a heartfelt message right now.
Don’t stop with Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving isn’t the only time to show some #donorlove. The holidays and New Year’s are just around the corner and that’s a good opportunity, especially for those of you outside the U.S., to express gratitude. But you don’t need a reason. Just thank your donors and do it often.
Whatever you decide, DO NOT include a donation envelope or any other type of ask with your thank you message. This is known as a thask and it’s guaranteed to deflate your donor’s good feelings in an instant.
Incorporate thanking your donors into your year-end fundraising campaign
Many of you are working on your year-end fundraising campaign. I know you’re trying to raise money, but you should also be showing gratitude. Does your appeal thank donors for their past or potential gifts?
Besides wishing your donors a Happy Thanksgiving, find other ways to show gratitude while you’re also sending appeals. This is especially important around #GivingTuesday and I’ll write more about that in my next post.
Be ready to thank your donors as soon as you receive a donation
Every single donor, no matter how much they’ve given or whether they donated online, gets a thank you card/letter mailed to them or receives a phone call.
Planning ahead will help you thank your donors as soon as possible. I’m sure you’ve spent a lot of time and effort getting your fundraising appeal out. Perhaps you’ve recruited other staff or volunteers to help you.
You need to do the same thing when you thank your donors. Get your board, other staff, and volunteers to help make phone calls, write thank you notes, or include a handwritten note on a thank you letter. Much of this can be done from home.
Do a better job of thanking your donors
Your donors deserve more than just the same, lame generic thank you letter. I write a lot about thanking donors. Here are a couple of recent posts that cover ways to do a better job of thanking your donors.
The initial thank you right after you receive a donation is important. So is the next one and the one after that and the one after that….
Thanking your donors is not a one-time deal. You want to thank your donors at least once a month. Here are some ideas to show gratitude throughout the year.
- Send a handwritten note.
- Create a thank you video and share it on your website, by email, and on social media.
- Send welcome packets to your new donors.
- Invite your donors to connect with you via email and social media. Keep them updated on your success and challenges. Making all your communications donor-centered will help convey an attitude of gratitude.
- Thank your donors in your newsletters and other updates. Emphasize that you wouldn’t be able to do the work you do without their support.
- Create a virtual tour or other engaging video content so your donors can see your nonprofit up close and personal.
- Thank your donors just because they’re great.
- Keep thinking of other ways to thank your donors.
We need more kindness right now
During these tumultuous times, we keep getting more and more divided. Wherever you live and whichever way you lean politically, we should all show more kindness towards each other.
At the beginning of the pandemic, some people put hearts and teddy bears in their windows, along with signs of support for essential workers. That’s mostly disappeared and I’d like to see it return. I know everyone is tired of wearing masks and socially distancing, but it’s either that or you risk getting infected. Some kindness, both towards ourselves and others, will help us get through this.
In the spirit of kindness, show some gratitude to your donors and make them feel special.