letters are best. Or insert a handwritten note on informal cards with your formal
thank you letters.
2. Thank you call from staff and/or a board member – There’s nothing like an
enthusiastic thank-you call the same day the check arrives at your nonprofit. How
thrilled are you? Let the donor hear it in your voice.
3. Nominate your Donor to CONFR’s Make A Difference Donor Award. This is a
special way to let your nominee know how special you think he/she is, AND will bring
visibility to your organization.
4. Ask for Advice - Call on donors with expertise to help with issues that your
organization is facing.
5. Send a short half page “bulletin” to inform donors of your latest news and
accomplishments on a regular basis separate from new appeals or thank you letters.
6. Ask donors to be your Advocate - Provide donors with information about your
organization through bulletins and newsletters so they can talk about your good
7. Involve young students by having them hand deliver a scroll of paper with their
handprints and thank-you messages.
8. Give an Update – If the gift is for a specific campaign, project, or program, give an
update of it in the thank you note so there is a real connection with the gift and the
9. Clip newspaper articles - When a wonderful article about your group appears in a
local newspaper, send a copy to contributors. Coverage in major news media
heightens the feel-good experience of people who have invested in your programs.
Let them see the attention others are paying. In a brief cover note, be sure to say,
“Your generosity helped make this possible. Thank you!”
10. Personal letter from a staff member or volunteer with a signed photo of the
grateful recipients of your organization’s services.
11. Invite More Engagement – Encourage your donor to follow your organization on
Facebook and Twitter or any other social networks that you participate in.
12. Invite donors to a focus group. What better way to get your donors engaged
than by asking their opinion?
13. Tell a short story – Tell a story about someone whose life was changed by the
14. Invite donors to a special event. Always have a camera at events so you can
take photos of major donors (or potential donors). Send the picture to them…with a
thank-you…within 24 hours.
15. Invite donors to lunch with CEO and Board President; individually is best, but
small groups can also provide an opportunity to learn more about your donors.
16. Spotlight donors in a newsletter or on your web site.
17. Invite donors for a tour of your organization and let them meet some of the
people you serve. The people you serve are your best “salespersons.”
18. Host a “Thank You or Donor Recognition” reception: Developing this informal
community will build a sense of commitment and partnership between the donor
and your organization and among other donors.
19. Develop naming opportunities – bricks, windows, trees, seats, “family Tree of
Donors” are just some of the possibilities.
20. Arrange for special discounts with local businesses for your donors.
21. Send holiday cards at times other than December - Thanksgiving, New Years,
Valentine’s Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, etc.
22. Send anniversary cards to note number of years of giving – five, ten, fifteen, etc.
23. Make a personal visit to the donor’s home or place of business with a small gift
with your organization’s logo or a plant, candy, etc.
24. Invite them to a Q & A session about your agency. Every few months, invite six
to eight donors to your offices after work (after 5 p.m.) and have a general question
and answer session about what you’re doing and the impact you’re making. Serve
light refreshments. Follow up with a phone call a few days later to thank them for
their time and input.
25. Invite the major donors to attend a board meeting periodically to meet the
organizational leadership and to get a flavor of how your organization operates. Just
make sure the particular meeting is the “correct” one for this purpose. If you’re
planning on ousting one of your board members at the next meeting, that’s
probably not the ideal meeting in which to invite a donor.
26. Invite special speakers to donor events - When you read in the paper that a
local bookstore is bringing in an author that has written a new book relating to one
of your issues, see if you can “piggy-back onto” this event and have the author
speak at a special event that you host for your donors.
27. Arrange for special tickets and other perks for your major donors. See if you
can get a good deal with the symphony or a local theatre company and invite some
of your donors to go with you to a show or performance.
28. Encourage donors to participate in organizational activities – However you invite
them, you will please most donors by encouraging them to become engaged in your
work. By visiting workshops, joining nature hikes, or otherwise getting a hands-on
feel for your work, donors take ownership and feel a part of things.
29. Publish donor names in your Annual Report or other publication.
30. Promote your organization’s brand – Enclose with your letter a bookmark, rack
card with upcoming events or stories, refrigerator magnet, so they continue to see
your organization’s name and logo every day