• Danielle M. Locke

10 easy ways to say Thank You

As the season of giving gets underway, let’s talk Donor Stewardship (a.k.a. saying thank you). Donor Stewardship is about progressively building deeper relationships with your donors. That means having a plan in place for thanking, communicating, and interacting with donors in ways that retain, and hopefully grow, their support over time. Communicating your appreciation doesn’t have to be complicated or costly.


Here are just 10 ways I have used successfully.

  1. Welcome packet upon receipt of their first gift. I like to send a thank you letter with a note, a program specific brochure and perhaps a token gift like a magnet or seed packet.

  2. Personalized thank you note upon the donor’s second gift. They’ll say, “wow, they noticed”.

  3. Handwritten note upon the anniversary of the donor’s first gift. They’ll say, “this organization is organized, and they really care.”

  4. Handwritten note from the Director or a board member (not the Director of Development, sorry my friends)

  5. Thank you call from the Director or board member. Prepare them with talking points/script. Ask them to communicate back to you the donor’s responses (Add this valuable information to your database!)

  6. Send a Thank you video. With today’s cell phones this is easy. Record a personalized thank you message for each donor and email it to the donor. They will be surprised and inspired.

  7. Send a Thank you video to all your donors. Here is an example of a produced Thank you video I like.

  8. Plant a tree, buy a book. Some donors appreciate the “pass it on approach”. I have bought copies of books and donated them in honor of my donor(s) to local preschools, planted a tree in their honor, etc.

  9. Send cards or handmade gifts by your clients. Who doesn’t love a card made by a child?

  10. Send copies of event photos. This is a favorite of mine. You pay for an event photographer anyway right?!. Review the files, print a bunch, and snail mail them with a note of appreciation. They will be surprised and delighted.


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