• Rebecca J Diamond

Thanking Your Donors Should Be a Celebration


Actually, there is one super simple and effective way to thank your donors, say “thank you.”


I recently had a conversation with an extremely successful and well-known Chief Development Officer in the Washington, D.C. region. During our call she shared that she had been on the phone all day because today was the organization’s blowout “thank our donor celebration,” and I immediately said, “I need to share that!”


Thanking your donors is extremely important, but how we thank our donors is something organizations also need to consider.


Do we send an email to anyone who donated less than $100? A snail mail signed form letter for donors who contributed less than $500? Add a few handwritten words on the form letter for those who contributed more than $1,000?


If you’ve worked for a nonprofit, you’ve probably seen the executive staff and board members at your organization spend an hour or two, or even a full week, splitting up a list of major donors and calling them to say thank you, but have you ever referred to it as a celebration?


I was so excited to hear the CDO say “celebrate our donors AND volunteers” that I felt like I was in her building in D.C. celebrating donors with her (I was not; I was in hot and sunny South Florida)!


As Irene Cara belts out in the movie Flashdance, “take your passion and make it happen.” Use your passion to celebrate your donors.

  • Pick a day—a day you are NOT asking for something—and include all your staff and board and make calls. Pick up the phone and call everyone and anyone that has donated to your organization in the last 12 months. Can you imagine the shock at the other end of the phone, that XYZ nonprofit is JUST calling to say “thank you”?

  • Make sure your callers have a script, talking points, and success stories. Let the donors and volunteers know that their time and money has made a difference with your clients, participants, or members.

  • In the office, bring in cupcakes, balloons, party favors or even cater lunch for your staff. The more you celebrate with your team, the more the genuine voices will pop out over the phone.

Raising money is not for the faint of heart and your team benefits from all the money raised, so include them in the celebration of thanking your supporters. This celebration is a win-win: first for your donors, and also, the staff and board will feel included; they will hear from donors why they give, plus the staff can share personal program successes that they are a part of because of the generous donors of your organization.


It’s time to celebrate—and say “thank you”!


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