By Amber Alarid, JVA Consulting
Have you been charged with recognizing donors? Do you wonder where your organization would be without its donors? Individual donors at all levels are as essential to your organization as large foundation grants, so be sure that your individual donors are reminded of this in fun and fresh ways. There are plenty of easy and cost-effective ways to thank your donors that feel personal and will help you cultivate strong relationships. Impress colleagues and donors alike with these creative outreach strategies.
Send your donors an invitation
Are you hosting a free event that allows donors to mingle with staff, volunteers and/or clients? Do you offer tours of your facility? Engage donors in activities that cost them nothing and get them more involved in the organization. By showing that you appreciate your donors’ time, unique talents and interest in your organization—not just their monetary gifts—you paint a sincere picture of how much they contribute to your organization and how much you value their investment. An article reprinted from the NonprofitMarketingGuide.com stresses that this kind of invitation should always be separate from any appeal for donations.
Dedicate a space to thank yous from specific people
Canadian Blood Services created a website that is specifically for recipients of blood/platelet donations to share their stories and thank donors. While the style of this site is likely a bit ambitious for most small nonprofits, I couldn’t help but share it as an intriguing example. Do you have a wall that could be dedicated to client thank-you cards, stories and photos? Would your staff or clients be open to posting thank-you notes on Facebook to share their personal gratitude? The fun thing about the Canadian Blood Services website is it collects very personal thank-you notes and status updates of clients and showcases them in a very public way—giving large-scale recognition to donors and calling attention to the great work the organization does. Just be sure to get permission from clients before sharing personal stories, updates or thank-you notes.
Create a thank-you video
Don’t send the same old mass mailing that offers a boring form letter. Your knowledge of updated technology gives you the freedom to break free from routine thank yous. I love this example of a video thank you that a former coworker shared with me—and all the clients we have shown it to have loved it as well. Bowling Green State University created a rap video to thank major donors who contributed to its new gym, the Stroh Center. Videos like this one have been known to go viral, brightening up lots of people’s days and highlighting donors as superstars. However, videos are not limited to recognizing major donors. Even videos that include staff, volunteers and clients sharing their personal stories of what the program (funded by donations) means to them can be effective. These types of videos can be uploaded to social media platforms, websites and included in email recognitions.
How do you thank your donors? Have you received a fun and heartfelt thank you recently that you loved? Share in the comments section below.