10 Ideas for Thanking Your NonProfit's Donors


Saying Thank You to volunteers and donors is a vital step in your nonprofit's communications strategy. A sincere acknowedgement of your appreciation for your donors' efforts will help them understand how their support - cash donation, in-kind services, volunteer time - contributes to your achieving your goals. 

  • A Thank You is recognation and appreciation for what your donors and volunteers do for your nonprofit
  • The act of saying thank you is your first step in donor retention and requesting their next donation

Community support is critical to the success of most nonprofits, which simply would not exist without volunteers. Recruiting, training and managing volunteers and donors is time-intensive and a significant drain on your nonprofit's resources. Volunteer and donor retention is an imperative. Saying thank you in meaningful ways is your first step in coverting first-time volunteers to long-term advocates.

10 Ways to Thank Nonprofit Supporters

1.  Make it personal 

Claire's Campaign at Inn From the Cold raises funds to support homeless mother's and their children. A local businessman matches funds raised on behalf of his mother, Claire, for whom the program was named. To thank him for his donations and support, Alchemy PR designed a cookbook to be given to donors with Claire's favorite recipes.

2.  Give community recognition to your volunteers

It's great to recognize and thank your supporters in your nonprofit's newsletters and website. Show your appreciation for a job well done and publically thank your donors in their community:

  • nominate them for an award at their church or place of work or a community organization
  • provide recommendations on LinkedIn
  • write letters of commendation to their employer

3. Implement a student volunteer recognition program

Many young people began a life-long commitment to volunteer while they are students. Students want to be thanked in ways that are meaningful to them, and not necessarily adults.

  • provide references and letters of recommendations for school or work
  • students love fun tshirts that show their interests
  • create internships so students can demonstrate a work history

4. Design Thank You campaign artwork

As part of your campaign strategy design campaign artwork that can be transformed into thank you cards for campaign supporters. Alchemy PR designed this superhero art for the HIV Edmonton Aids Walk, which can be used as notecards to thank donors, walkers, vendors and other supporters.


5. Show them the numbers

Statistics show that millennials want to donate their time, money and connections to causes that are meaningful to them. When this rising demographic engages with your nonprofit give them the facts and feedback that tell them exactly how their support made a difference, as NonProfit Hub describes:

Generosity Water asks you to gather 16 friends and each pledge to give $3.33 a month for three months. At the end of the three months, you’ve raised $5,000, which is enough to fully fund a water project.

6. Let them lead

Many volunteers have the time, skills and dedication to take on more responsibility. Some nonprofits have a hard time letting go of the reins. Let qualified volunteers take charge and run a project or campaign that is important to them. You're still there for support: and they have the satisfaction of leadership.

7. Show don't tell

Videos are a great way to show who your volunteers are and the impact of their support. Videos don't have to be fancy or expensive to make - in fact, one of your vounteers might be good with an iPhone and their video editing tools! Volunteer appreciation videos can be posted on social media, websites and shown at your nonprofit's events and activities. 

8.  Be prompt in your follow-ups

Most donors don't want a lot of thanks - they're there for your cause, not for you. But volunteers deserve prompt responses as a sign up respect and appreciation. Reimbursement for expenses, receipts for donations, 

9. Create a senior leadership thank you call chain

Many hard working and dedicated volunteers never see or meet the senior leadership and board members of big nonprofits. Schedule a donor call-athon at a board meeting where every board member and senior team member calls 5 volunteers to thank them for their support. It's nice to be thanked!

10. Send a Thanks-for-Giving email

Thanksgiving is a time when we remember all we have to be thankful for. This year on Thanksgiving send a Thanks-for-Giving email to your volunteers to thanks them for their support

Bonus: Give credit where credit is due

When your nonprofit receives recognition for your efforts and contributions to your cause, don't simply say thank you. Remember to thank the volunteers and donors who made it all possible.

Volunteers and donors aren't in it for the thanks. But nonprofit organizations who do not provide meaninful thanks to their supporters will find they spend too much time recruiting and training volunteers, and less time actually working for their cause.