Give Thanks To Your Donors This Thanksgiving

This time of year, we all have so much to be thankful for – family, friends, colleagues and wonderful organizations making a difference in the lives of others.  As we approach Thanksgiving, there is no better time to talk about donor appreciation!

As Penelope Burk explained in Donor Centered Fundraising, a thank you should be prompt, personal and powerful. Prompt means a thank you call or letter within 48 hours. Personal in that it is not a generic letter but instead is addressed and intended specifically for that donor. And powerful by  sharing the impact the donor’s gift will make (tell a story of how it will feed a hungry child, spay/neuter a stray cat, fund a scholarship, etc.)  

But once the initial prompt, personal, powerful thank you is complete, how can you continue to show your gratitude toward your donors? Here are just a few of the ways to show your donors how thankful you are for their support: 

  • Thank you call from the CEO, Board members, volunteers
  • Thank you note, drawing or photo from service recipients of your organization
  • Invitation for a behind-the-scenes tour of your facility
  • Impact reports on the project the donor supported
  • Welcome Package for first time donors
  • A short thank you video from your staff or service recipients
  • Invitation to participate in a town-hall meeting (or webinar) with the CEO for an update and Q&A
  • Handwritten notes, birthday cards, holiday cards
  • Donor surveys to gather more information about the donor and their suggestions for the organization 

No matter what the method of thanking your donors, you can’t go overboard with appreciation! And with the help of Board members and volunteers, most of these should not be costly or time intensive.

These will not all be a fit for each organization or each gift level, but by creating a stewardship matrix with your organization’s different donor levels you should be able to create a stewardship plan and identify whom each ‘thank you’ is appropriate for.

As we move closer to 2018, we’d love to help you develop a stewardship plan to express your gratitude to your donors, not only at year-end but all year long! Please send us an email at and let’s get started. 

John Payne