5 Ways to Bolster Your Nonprofit Organization’s Donor Recognition Initiative

Donors are essential to nonprofit operations. They supply the funds organizations need to deliver on their mission and help their community. While they are important, some nonprofit organizations struggle when it comes to properly recognizing their donors’ efforts. And let’s be clear – donor recognition is as important as receiving the donations themselves.

When nonprofits don’t recognize the efforts of donors, funding dollars get left on the table. Your donors choose to contribute to your organization because they believe in your mission. Of course, you are deeply appreciative, but sometimes may be so focused on your mission that it doesn’t show. This has the potential to alienate and discourage future donations. It also discourages first-time donors from donating to your cause.

Planning and executing campaigns that highlight your donors should be an integral part of your marketing strategy. Donor recognition is an easy strategy to integrate into your operations. Make sure that how you choose to thank your donors fits into your mission strategy as well. Below are five ideas for you to consider adopting into your operations to thank your donors.

5 Ways to Bolster Your Donor Recognition

1. Website Appreciation

Your nonprofit’s website is the perfect place to publicly show appreciation to your supporters. You can start by setting up a new page that is dedicated to your donors. On this page, you can appeal to both one-time donors and recurring donors. Having a message on your website promoting your gratitude to your audience shows you appreciate their time and efforts and the impact they’ve made on the organization. It’s a personal connection that will boost engagement and potentially lead to more stewardship in the future. For your bigger donors, call them out in a clear, meaningful way.

2. Thank You Video

With the increased transition to digital marketing and social media, consider making a thank you video for your donors. A short and sweet video will not only engage your donors but you can also promote your organization to other potential supporters.  The best part is that your thank you video doesn’t have to be reserved for your year-end campaign. You can acknowledge your donors’ gifts with a clear and simple video any time of year. A thank you video is a great way to spark engagement while also showing your gratitude to your donors.

3. Thank You Letters

The most simple and personal way to thank your donors is to send a thank you letter to them. Send a short, handwritten note that references their reason for giving in each letter. Did they give because of they were referred to you by a friend? Did they attend one of your events? Did they respond to a marketing campaign? Make sure you include that so your donors know that this isn’t a mass-produced letter that everyone gets. In the cases where you don’t know why they gave, include a note that talks about the importance of their gift. Also, have a board member personally sign the letter. Send out your letter as soon as you receive a donation. Handwritten letters go a LONG way and add a very personal touch to your thank you.

Check out how Love INC (Lancaster) earned back time to deliver more mission in this client story.


4. Anniversary Cards

To supplement your thank you card, another good tactic to use is to send a personalized anniversary card. It’s another chance to recognize donor loyalty after your initial touch of the letter a year after they make their first donation. To further show your organization’s gratitude, have the card signed by the chair of the board or your executive director. Also, don’t only celebrate their first year of giving – send anniversary cards for 5, 10, 15, and 20 years of recurring donations.

5. Social Media

Facebook and Twitter are powerful tools to use for simple shout-outs. This is a great way to say thank you to donors, both large and small. Not only does it let them know you’ve received their donation and you’re grateful for it, it also tells the world of their commitment to your organization.

Genuine donor recognition an easy, yet essential thing you need to incorporate into your marketing strategy. This way, you can acknowledge their generosity and also ensure that you have as much continued support as possible. You will be able to deliver your mission to the people who need it most.

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