How Do I Thank Donors Thoughtfully

Jordan Patrick May 28, 2020
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Knowing how to thank donors thoughtfully is crucial to retaining donors and improving the reach of your nonprofit. To ensure that you thank your donors well, you need to be strategic. This means thanking your donors in a way that lines up with your nonprofit values, highlighting how the donors’ participation has helped. defines “thoughtful” as an adjective that is “characterized by or manifesting careful thought” or “occupied with or given to thought; contemplative; meditative; reflective.” When your nonprofit wants to offer a thoughtful “thank you” to donors, the best way to do so is to consider the most considerate way to deliver them. Your nonprofit will stand out by offering a thank you that uniquely represents your core mission. The following list has examples of ways to say thank you. Weigh them carefully against the cause of your own nonprofit.

Follow-Up Phone Call

Studies show that donors who are thanked by telephone within 48 hours of giving a donation are more likely to give in the future. Most people are used to receiving phone calls that are asking for money, so it can be such a nice surprise to be thanked. Also, spend some time determining the best people to make these thank you calls. It could be a nice touch to cycle the calls through the management team instead of the interns.

Highlighted Sponsors

Your website is the perfect place to highlight your donors. Create a highlighted sponsor page or a thank you page where you can list the businesses that partner with your nonprofit. You can post personalized messages to each sponsor. If you choose this option, consider how to honor these businesses in a way that also works with your nonprofit style.

Stewardship Pyramid

Outline to donors exactly how they can expect to be thanked for their monetary donations. This ensures consistency in the thanking process. A good example of this type of pyramid is the type of perks given in Kickstarter campaigns. A nonprofit should adjust their thank you gifts to manageable options.


  • $1 - $99 — an email thank you
  • $100 - $499 — a phone call thank you
  • $500 - $1000 — a handwritten letter and phone call

Donor Gifts

A gift is always a nice touch, but it’s best if your gift somehow relates to your nonprofit’s mission. A thoughtful gift can become a reminder to the donor of your organization and the good work they are participating in. For example, an organization that protects girls from working on the street might give donors a handmade item made by one of the women who have had their lives changed by the nonprofit. Include a short note along with the gift to explain the impact of the monetary donation and what this gift represents.

Take Note of Your Donors

Part of being thoughtful is remembering details about your donors. When you talk to donors, take note of the personal life details they share and ask about them. They will appreciate that you actually listened to what they are passionate about in their lives. This will make the relationship between the donor and your nonprofit more personal.

Handwritten Notes

Nothing says personal like a handwritten note. Since writing a note out with pen and paper takes more time, your nonprofit should be strategic in when those letters are written. A handwritten note might be appropriate for a second donation, an anniversary of the first donation, or around the holiday season. Take the time to share the impact that their gift will have in tangible terms.

Social Media Shout Out

Social media is an amazing tool to reach out to donors. You might want to thank a donor immediately after their donation, but you can also choose to do a weekly thank you, highlighting a donor of the week. It’s also important that if a donor tags your nonprofit in a post and shares about their donation that you take the time to comment a thank you and possibly reshare the post. You might make a custom GIF for these thank yous and replies, to give a touch that’s both more personal and more fun to social media mentions.

A thoughtful thank you can go a long way in proving to your donors that they are an important component in your nonprofit’s mission. Your donors want to feel connected, so make the time to thank them quickly and personally in whatever ways work best for your organization.

What do you think? Share your thoughts with us!

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Best Practices
Written by

Jordan Patrick

VP of Product

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