6 Cost Effective Ways for Nonprofits to Thank Their Donors

Taylor Corrado
Taylor Corrado



The holiday season isn’t the only time your organization should be saying thank you and showing your appreciation of your supporters -- but it’s a great time to start.

In a recent podcast by the Chronicle of Philanthropy, fundraising consultant Claire Alexrad and Julia Wilson of One Justice shared their affordable methods of saying thank you all year round.

A few things to remember that should apply to all your thank yous:

  • It’s the thought that counts -- not the cost.
  • Personalize every gift.
  • Think of both online and offline thank yous.

6 Ways Nonprofits Can Say "Thank You" to Supporters

1) Include your supporters in a video.

There are a variety of ways to say "thank you" in a video, with tools like vSnap, GoPro, or your smart phone camera. But incorporating your supporters in the creation process is a fun spin on the traditional thank you video from your staff.

One Justice scripted out their thank you message by printing out the words and sending them to all their supporters. They then had each person record their own video saying the words they received and then sending it back to One Justice. The organization then used iMovie to piece together the videos into one message, and shared it with everyone to say "thank you." Those that participated didn’t know what the full message was going to say, so even those that helped were surprised, as well. 

2) Thank local supporters with some treats.

One Justice's Claire Alexrad shared her love of baking with her local supporters by baking cookies for her major donors and leaving them and a personalized note on their doorstep -- her way of delighting her donors. Julia from One Justice also pointed out (if you’re not a baker) that her organization writes hand-written notes, attaches them to giant Ghirardelli candy bars, and has her volunteers go around their city of San Francisco delivering these sweet thank you treats.

Establish who your local supporters are and do something personal -- and in-person -- for them. You can even tie your gift to your local city, as One Justice did with the local chocolate brand. Encourage them to share the thank you online with a specific hashtag.

3) Customize swag to send as gifts.

Claire uses Vistaprint to buy a variety of free customized items -- from calendars, to mugs, to stickers. The simplest of free goodies can be great gifts for donors. Collect a variety of customized swag and send it out with a thank you note during the holidays or your giving campaigns.

4) Make a point to remember your donor’s anniversaries.

One Justice celebrates donor anniversaries with the organization -- whether it’s the first time someone donated, or a big milestone like the 10th year a major donor has been giving. This is a great idea because most likely, your donors will never remember these anniversaries and will be so surprised to get a card celebrating this occasion. 

5) Make personal thank you calls.

charity: water has a year-round birthday campaign where anyone can pledge to give up their birthday and fundraise for the organization. In addition to sending out social media messages and sending end of the year gifts, they have volunteers call each fundraiser on their special day to say "thank you" and wish them a happy birthday. This is a great way to show your supporters you care, and that there are humans behind the organization's amazing work. 

6) Say "thank you" on Twitter.

If you're collecting donor information -- either through the donation form or in person -- ask for their Twitter handles (i.e. @TaylorLCorrado) so you can tweet at them to say "thank you." This is a quick and free way to engage your online donors, and they'll be sure to share your tweet with their followers, helping your organization raise awareness and potentially gaining new donors. 

How does your organization say "thank you"? Share your creative ideas with us!

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