For non-profits, thanking donors is not only good form, it builds relationships as well as drives future contributions. The average person gets several donation solicitations a day. Keeping engaged can keep their attention, add value to their time, and encourage bigger buy-in like volunteering and event attendance. Here’s a few meaningful ideas that can delight your supporters, build awareness and strengthen those relationships.

1. In Your Communications – Thanking donors individually or as a group and showing organizational impact on your website copy, newsletters, print materials, etc. goes a long way to expressing your thanks and the thanks of the populations/causes you serve. We call it the “score board.” – How many served, impact stats, contribution amounts, any results you are tracking – showing this visually ups your effectiveness. Tying that directly to those who fund your efforts really delivers.

2. Use A Video – Video is the single most powerful way capture the imagination of your donors and to tug the heart strings. Tell a story. Use cinematic imagery, well-written dialog, and powerful music to show success and thank the viewer for their involvement. Two or three minutes should do the job. The best videos have the added value of attracting new donors and raising awareness.

3. Thank You Letters / Welcome Packages – Thank you letters are a good move, but sending a hand-written note along with a special gift like a medallion or pin can really make an impression. The note can be from you, a director, spokesperson, or even from a person helped by your cause. The token gift should be a quality memento capturing the spirit of your organization and serve as a reminder of the donor’s support.

4. Anniversary Cards – Average donor retention varies among causes around 45%. You could boost that to 65% by annually reminding donors of why they donated at first and asking for their continued support. Cast vision. Show results. Expose continued problems that need intervention. These are most effective when accompanied with a token premium of some kind.

5. Premiums – Premiums are tricky. According to a 2012 study published in the Journal Of Economic Psychology, rewarding contributors can diminish donations in most circumstances. However using them in a meaningful way can help drive donation amounts and frequency when coupled with helping raise awareness. Lapel Pins are particularly effective in this area, as they are something low cost and can be worn to signify support and spur recruitment and conversation among colleagues and acquaintances.

In case you didn’t know, our firm specializes in all of the above. Since 1998 we’ve provided meaningful gifts to thousands of organizations and companies for various occasions from awards and recognition, to donor premiums, even content creation like videos and websites through our sister company C. Forbes Creative. With just one short call you’ll realize that you’re in good hands with the C. Forbes team.

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