The following five ideas are just a few of the many ways nonprofits can show their appreciation to contributors. By making contributors feel valued, they are more likely to want to donate to your organization again in the future.
1. Add a personal touch
A phone call, handwritten note, or a coffee date with a contributor can make a big impact on their desire to make future donations. Thank you’s that are personal or given in person often mean much more than a form letter of appreciation.
2. Show them what their contribution does
Contributors like to see what their money is going to support. Rather than showing them a graph that breaks down how each dollar is spent, show donors the tangible results of their donation, such as photos of the new addition that is being built or a video of children receiving new clothes and toys. This creates an emotional connection with donors and encourages them to contribute in the future.
3. Remember important dates
Call or send a note to contributors to commemorate the anniversary of the first year they donated. Likewise, send information around birthdays, anniversaries, or other holidays about how to make donations to your organization in lieu of traditional gifts.
4. Keep communicating
Don’t stop talking to a contributor for the year once they make a donation. “The more a supporter gives, the more you need to communicate with him or her,” said Ruthellen Rubin, a professor at NYU’s Heyman Center for Philanthropy & Fundraising. Cultivating a relationship with a donor and communicating with them throughout the year often encourages them to donate more and more frequently.
5. Acknowledge their donation
Whether it is a certificate of appreciation, a plaque, a calendar, or a pen, donors often like to receive something in exchange for their contribution. Online printing companies like Vistaprint offer low cost items such as mugs, shirts, calendars, or stickers that can be customized with any logo or message. In addition, thank you’s created by the people your nonprofit serves – like a banner signed by the members of a youth orchestra the donor helped fund – may mean more than anything else.