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7 Secret Perks of Thanking Your Donors

Being grateful and expressing your appreciation has many benefits.

People who practice gratitude on a regular basis are said to be generally happier than those who don’t.  This could be due to the fact that feeling grateful usually means that we’re actively looking for the positive aspects of situations (i.e., things to be grateful for).  One of the simplest ways to feel more grateful is by saying a heartfelt “thank you”.  

 A Harvard study revealed that writing a thank you note can make you happier, along with the person receiving the note! 

As a nonprofit, you know what it means to be grateful and to express it. Your organization is held up by the generosity of your donors, volunteers, and staff.  So although you’re probably showing appreciation to your donors already, there are still significant reasons to reach out and thank them even more frequently and meaningfully.

7 Secret Perks of Thanking Your Donors:

1. Your Supporters Want to Feel Important

Although your supporters also benefit in some way from contributing to your organization (otherwise they wouldn’t be doing it), it’s still a pretty great thing that they’re doing and it should always be recognized…and on a regular basis!  

Not only that, but you should thank them in a personalized way.  Use their name when addressing them in emails and let them know how their particular contribution helped.  These small things can have a major impact, so don’t overlook them.

2. Appreciation Inspires Repeat Giving

80% of donors report that receiving a timely and meaningful thank you would sway them to donate again!

It’s important to send your thank you right away, but make sure to make it meaningful and customize it first.  Make it special and specific to each donor.  

You could be accustomed to referencing the combined efforts of your supporters to guide initiatives, but if you don’t take the time to appropriately recognize the individual contributions, you’re at risk of losing their continued support.  And as you likely know from experience, it’s far more difficult and costly to gain new supporters than to retain old ones.

3. Repeat Donors are Critical to Long-term Success

“Turning your organization’s focus and resources towards ensuring repeat donors, as opposed to marketing to a wider and wider crowd of new donors, is critical to long-term success.”  

Marketing to new donors is STILL a great idea, however, it’s only beneficial if you have a plan in place for retaining your current ones.  And how can you do this?  One way is by showing genuine, donor-focused appreciation!!  Over and over and over and over again.     

“ Finding and acquiring new donors can be an expensive and strenuous process, while communicating with existing donors, in order to encourage repeat donations, is typically much less expensive. Not only is focusing on repeat donors less expensive, but when you fail to retain a donor you are actually losing money.”

4. Gratitude is Low-Cost/High Impact

This may seem obvious, but many people don’t take the time to express their gratitude, despite the fact that it costs nothing or very little and can have a major impact.  This is especially the case for any organization, non-profit or for-profit.  

When people don’t feel appreciated by an establishment (or by a person for that matter) they ultimately won’t feel that they’re being respected by them either.  So why would they continue associating with that organization or person?  Would you?

5.  A Small Donation is Just the Beginning

Showing appreciation for even the smallest donations can ignite a lifetime of support. 

This point is extremely important!  There’s an ever-increasing number of small or “everyday” donors, especially among those that make online donations.  And many nonprofits who are used to getting larger donations are scoffing at these smaller contributions by not showing the same level of appreciation for them.      

A smart move for any nonprofit would be to look at small donations as representative of new donors essentially “getting their feet wet” with supporting your nonprofit.  They’re testing the waters, so to speak, to see how they feel about you.  Pretty smart right?

 It would be like ordering a small appetizer from the new restaurant down the block BEFORE committing to the main course.  Imagine in this scenario that your waiter is delightfully accommodating and grateful to you just for gracing the restaurant with your presence.  Wouldn’t you feel more inclined to eat there again or at least leave a generous tip?

6. Appreciation Instills Pride in Your Relationship

When donors receive a great thank you, they are more likely to consider it a privilege, not an obligation!

It’s easy to imagine someone in your life that you thoroughly enjoy helping out whenever they need it.  And if you have that person in mind, you’d probably describe them as being very gracious, appreciative, and an overall great person.

As a nonprofit, your goal should be to strive for those same attributes – graciousness, appreciativeness, and overall awesomeness!  This is what will win you dedicated supporters; the kind that feel privileged not only to contribute to your cause but to promote it as well.

7. Gratitude Strengthens Your Success and Reputation

When expressed properly, gratitude can be the foundation of your nonprofit’s success and reputation.

SUCCESS:  Donor surveys indicate that a primary reason donors stop supporting nonprofits is because of the way they were treated by them. Your expressed gratitude helps increase the bond a donor has to your cause.  Not only will they support you more, but they’ll advocate for you, too.  When people feel closely connected to a cause, they want the people in their lives to care about it as well.  This means they’re more likely to spread the word on social media and/or by word of mouth.  And the best part?  They do it because they feel naturally compelled to, resulting in new donor outreach and greater success for your nonprofit.

REPUTATION:  Work to distinguish yourself from the crowd in the most positive way imaginable, by being a stellar nonprofit.  This means that you actively appreciate your nonprofit supporters, show pride and care about your cause, and keep your community well-informed.  If you’re good at differentiating yourself in this way, you’ll stand out in a way that gains you even more support.

Showing your appreciation by saying “thank you” is also good manners and the right thing to do.  It’s your small way of giving back to those who give you so much.

We hope you’re now even more inspired to thank your donors!