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Easy Ways to Say Thank You By Jane Jeffries

Saying Thank You to Your Donors is a Top Priority

I try to write an article once a year for the local arts magazine. Sometimes, they pay for the article, but my real motivation is to score an invite to the swanky Holiday Fling that they host every year for their volunteers and donors.

At this event there’s an amazing spread of food and live music. One recent year, about mid-December, no invite arrived, so I finally emailed to find out when the party was. “Oh,” the editor wrote back, “this year just got really busy, so we decided not to have the party.”

Honestly, my first thought wasn’t even disappointment. It was shock—that they would so easily miss such a huge opportunity with their volunteers and donors. Saying thank you isn’t just the polite thing to do; it’s one of the easiest ways to connect with and cultivate loyal volunteers and donors. Besides, what makes anyone want to be loyal to you if you can’t bother to say thank you? Or worse, that you thought you were so busy that you didn’t think it was worth spending time on?

They didn’t realize it, but in the end, this organization sent the message that their volunteers and donors are not really valued. And over time, if they repeat that message, it’s going to be a problem.

Developing a base of dedicated donors for your organization does not have to be difficult. And there is one sure way to gain the donor’s loyalty: say thank you. This detail should never be taken lightly. It takes very little time, but it pays huge dividends.

7  Expressions of Gratitude

And there are any number of ways to say thank you. Here are 7 ideas on how to say thank you to your donors:

  1. Send a hand-written note. This is rare in our electronic world. It shows that you took time and thought to thank them.
  2. Send a note that is signed by your Board of Directors.It shows that your entire organization valued your donation, service, or time.
  3. Send an email with photos or a short video.The electronic world also has its advantages. And everyone loves pictures. This is also an easy way to show how a donor’s gift had impact.
  4. Post a thank you on your organization’s Facebook page. Include photos if you can. This is a very public way to appreciate what your volunteers have done.
  5. Acknowledge donors and volunteers in your newsletter.Some donors want to remain anonymous, but others like to be acknowledged. Newsletters are also great places to share stories about what volunteers have done for your organization and how they’ve impacted the mission.
  6. Have your Board of Directors cook for them.If you have a small group to thank, this gives you a chance to build relationships and to tell them how their gift mattered.
  7. Call to thank them personally and invite them to tour your facility.Phone calls can open conversations. If you can get donors on-site, they can gain a better appreciation for what you do, and they feel more connected.

You are never too busy to say thank you to your donors. It tells the donors or volunteers that you appreciate and value them. And that’s just one easy way to build loyalty among your donors.


Jane Jeffries, with a background as a freelance writer and playwright,  has a unique talent for storytelling, which is a highly effective tool for fundraising. In recent years, Jane has broadened her scope of writing. Her background in creative writing has made her an effective grant writer. She has written grants and fundraising letters for several non-profits and churches in her community and is a vital member of the Dickerson Bakker team.

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