Your donors are the engine of your nonprofit. They provide the necessary funds to help you achieve your mission. That’s why every donor, from your most passionate supporter to a one-time giver, deserves to be thanked for their contributions.
Not only does donor appreciation demonstrate that you value your supporters, but it is also one of the best engagement strategies you can use to avoid donor churn. You want to do everything in your power to retain and engage the donors who have supported your cause. Consistent and heartfelt thank-yous are an essential factor in helping you do so.
However, getting donor appreciation right can sometimes be a challenge for nonprofits. There are so many options for expressing gratitude and it can be hard to know which ones to include in your donor appreciation strategy.
Regardless of which options you decide on to thank your donors, there are some best practices you should follow to ensure that your efforts are effective. To get donor appreciation right, you should:
Being genuine in your donor recognition efforts will go a long way to show that you truly appreciate your donors’ generosity and to build stronger relationships. Ultimately, donors want to feel connected to your organization, so a personal and sincere thank you will help them feel integral to your cause — which they are!
Take a personalized approach.
Have you ever received a letter that said, “Dear valued customer?” If so, it probably didn’t make you feel very valued. That’s because whoever sent that letter didn’t take a personalized approach to their outreach method and instead made you feel like a cog in a machine.
Personalization is an essential part of donor appreciation. Your donors don’t want to feel like they’re just part of a mass of people — they want to feel like individuals who are important to your organization. Here are some tips for personalizing your donor appreciation efforts:
Taking a personalized approach in your donor appreciation efforts makes supporters feel appropriately recognized for their deeds. Although it might seem time consuming, it doesn’t have to be! With the right donor management tools, sending a personalized thank you note can happen automatically and can make all the difference.
Time is of the essence when it comes to donor appreciation. In fact, according to this resource on donor appreciation, nonprofits should send some sort of thank you note within a week of the donation. Doing so can improve relationships with donors and might even secure a long-term connection.
Conversely, sending your token of appreciation months after a donation has been made can harm your donor retention rates. A donor might think that your nonprofit is disorganized or doesn’t value their contribution, which is certainly not the case! To keep donors engaged, express your appreciation sooner rather than later.
And, even if you have bigger things in store for your donor appreciation efforts, such as a donor wall or gala, it’s still important to send a smaller acknowledgement soon, or automatically, after the donation. This way, donors will receive some instant gratification, and they might feel more inclined to check out your latest donor recognition display or attend an event celebrating their support later on.
Highlight your donor’s impact.
There are lots of reasons why donors contribute to nonprofit organizations, but for many donors, the reason is to make a difference for a cause they care about.
That’s why it’s essential that you highlight your donor’s impact in your appreciation or recognition strategy. Here’s how:
Emphasizing impact within your donor appreciation strategy can help grow your relationships with donors. With a better understanding of how their donations make a difference, they will be more inclined to continue giving to your trustworthy organization.
Use your creativity.
Donor appreciation is a great place to channel your nonprofit’s creativity. Designing a unique appreciation experience, whether it’s through a fun event or a commemorative t-shirt, demonstrates that you value your donor’s interactions with your organization even after they’ve contributed.
Here are some creative ways you can show your appreciation:
It’s even better if these creative approaches to donor appreciation are branded to your nonprofit, which will make them more memorable and enjoyable for supporters passionate about your organization. This Eleven Fifty Seven guide to nonprofit branding can help you elevate your branded experiences to the next level.
Recognize your donors in your facility.
Physical donor displays recognize the supporters who have made your work towards your mission possible. By building these displays in your facility, you remind your staff, beneficiaries, and supporters that donors really do make a difference. While there are all kinds of possibilities for donor displays, these three are the most popular:
A physical display of your appreciation for your donors is a special and memorable way to honor your generous supporters. You could even host an unveiling party to celebrate the amazing impact that your donors have made!
Donor appreciation is one of the most effective ways to build strong relationships with your donors and to retain their support over time. Whether it’s simply using the donor’s name in thank you letters or designing a donor wall for your facility, any token of appreciation can go a long way. Invest a little extra time into your donor appreciation efforts so that your supporters will see that you truly value their generosity.
To schedule a complementary in-depth analysis on how you can use technology to increase donor retention and donor acquisition please visit: arreva.com/demo.