Saying thank you to donors can set your nonprofit apart from others in so many ways. With larger numbers of organizations vying for the same dollars, it is important to let donors know their gift is not only appreciated, but it made a difference.
Every organization needs to figure out a strategy that works for them and their supporters. Our philosophy is we want to say thank you as quickly as we can and in several different ways. We write the thank you/tax letter within 24 hours of the receipt of the gift, and we sense that our donors appreciate it. Although these letters are a “form” letter, our Development Director usually personalizes them with a brief handwritten sentence or phrase by her signature.
First time donors also receive a hand-written note. Donations over a certain amount will receive a phone call from the Development Director or from me, the Executive Director. These phone calls are some of the best use of our time! It gives us a chance to get to know the individual, give updates about our mission, and answer any questions they might have. More than anything the person recognizes that we know they made a gift and that it was not only noticed, it was appreciated.
Soon after fundraising events, we reach out to people who came. For example, after our golf tournament, we mail a thank you card and include a picture of their golf team from the event. Hopefully, it will remind them of a fun day for a very good cause. After our large yearly fundraising gala, we call each person who attended, sometimes just leaving a message. The purpose of the call is to say, “Thank you, I hope you had a great time, and we would love to have you come out for a visit soon.”
One donor received one of these calls and then told us, “I go to a lot of fundraising events, and I have never been called the next week just to say thank you. That really sets this organization apart.”
You want your donors talking and thinking that there is something truly special about your organization. Thank you goes a long way.