Year-end fundraising coincides with the gratitude season, which includes Thanksgiving in the U.S. and the December holidays. Maybe it’s just me, but it seems as if stores go into holiday mode earlier each year.
Now is a great opportunity to show some gratitude to your donors. You could hold a thankathon, especially if you haven’t launched your appeal yet. Traditionally, thankathons are done by phone, but you can use other channels, too.
If you’re thinking you’re too busy with your year-end campaign to spend much time thanking your donors right now, that’s precisely why you need to get on the thank you train.
You’re never too busy to thank your donors. Showing gratitude and building relationships should help you raise more money. Plus, many donors stepped up to support you over the last two and half years. Don’t they deserve some extra attention?
Showing gratitude doesn’t happen nearly as often as it should, but you need to spend just as much time thanking your donors and building relationships as you do on fundraising.
Here are a few ways to incorporate thanking your donors into your year-end fundraising campaign.
Say thank you in your appeal
Does your appeal thank donors for their past or potential gifts? It should. Remember, you need to be showing gratitude while you’re trying to raise money.
This is especially important around #GivingTuesday and I’ll write more about that in my next post.
Wish your donors a Happy Thanksgiving
One way to show gratitude right now is to send your donors a special Thanksgiving message. A lot of nonprofits already do this. If you’re not one of them, make this the year you start. If you can send a card or postcard, that’s great, but an email message is also fine.
In a recent post about running a multichannel campaign, I suggested skipping the reminder during Thanksgiving week and pour on the gratitude instead. That can also be beneficial if you’re planning to send appeals on #GivingTuesday, which tends to be very transactional.
We’re still living in a time of uncertainty and your donors will appreciate a heartfelt message from you. Let them know how grateful you are to have them as part of your donor family.
Don’t stop with Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving isn’t the only time to show some appreciation. The holidays and New Year’s are coming up soon and that’s a good opportunity, especially for those of you outside the U.S., to express gratitude. But you don’t need a holiday or other special occasion. 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.
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’re spending 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. This is another opportunity for a thankathon.
Make thanking your donors a priority
Your donors deserve more than just the same boring, generic thank you letter. 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 something you just do after receiving a donation. 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. Better yet, personalize it.
- Send welcome packages 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.
Create a thank you plan to help you with this.
Always choose kindness
The world could use some more kindness right now. We’re all still dealing with a lot and the divisiveness doesn’t help. In the spirit of kindness, show some gratitude to your donors and make them feel special.