5 Quick Ways to Say “Thanks!”

Wednesday, November 9, 2016
Topics: stewardship

While we know you can never thank a donor enough, the Golden Rule of Stewardship is that we should be thanking our donors seven times. SEVEN TIMES?! I speak with some nonprofits that feel lucky if they get one end-of-year thank you out the door before closing the books. After I pick my jaw off the ground I remind them how important it is for timely acknowledgements, but also try to provide a few suggestions of easy ways to remind a donor how much we love them without spending too much time or money!

  1. Board member calls – There will always be a few board members that don’t feel comfortable asking for money. That’s fine. Here’s the perfect alternative! Break up a list of your donors between your board members to make calls to purely thank a donor. It’s usually a pleasant surprise to the donor, who may feel inspired to share why they made their gift or how your nonprofit has meant so much to them. These calls can be for donors at any level, but if you’re feeling strategic—take a look at your donors that are on the bubble of moving into the next donor level tier.
  2. Thank you video – Glamorous, perfectly edited videos are not always necessary to make an impression. At the end of your fiscal year, take a piece of poster board with your logo, THANK YOU!, and maybe a social media hashtag, and run around your organization having lots of different constituents say “THANK YOU!” while holding the sign. This can easily be done on your iPhone. Use an App like Splice to edit and add music, and voilà! Post on social media and/or send to all of your donors for the year.
  3. Thank you card – You know how your mother still has those hand-made, Van-Gogh-inspired cards from your childhood tucked away? Sometimes the most meaningful way to say thank you is through the creativity of those you serve. Whether it’s making a painted paw print or having a child make a drawing, use the art to make quick Thank-You notes on Vistaprint to send for a special reason. Maybe all of your top donors get it signed by the Executive Director, or the Volunteer Coordinator can send them off to committee members.
  4. Don’t forget your volunteers – Donating time might as well be considered an in-kind donation! If you keep track of how many hours individuals donate throughout the year, let them know much you appreciate them by showing their collective impact on your organization with a quick postcard. You can’t put a price on community engagement!
  5. Get Personal – If you’re willing to spend a little money, think about creating a photo book to share with major donors or sponsoring businesses. Whether it’s from an event, a volunteer project, or just general program support—you can have the layout pre-made and just drag and drop photos to make it personal. Shutterfly offers bulk pricing and tax-exempt options. If that’s too much time or money for your shop, simply highlight a donor or volunteer in your next newsletter with a spotlight! It gives you a chance to ask them questions, get some meaningful quotes, and make them feel special by being publicly recognized.


Written by Samantha Shirley, Lead Product Manager