According to Penelope Burk’s donor-centered research, 65% of first-time donors don’t make a second gift. Why do donors fail to return to make a second gift to your organization?

Thank You! keyboard key. Finger

The answer is surprisingly simple: 80% of donors say a simple “thank you” would convince them to make a second donation.

Your donors want to see how their donation is directly benefiting your good cause. A great “thank you” message helps build a personal connection between your nonprofit organization and your individual supporters.

How can you make a “thank you” message more than just a transaction receipt?

Kivi Leroux Miller explores this in her article 9 Clever Ways to Thank Your Donors. We’ve summarized her fantastic suggestions into items that you can implement at your organization right now!

1. Send a Greeting Card, Not A Business Letter

Your “thank you” should be relatively short, and be written with a warm, friendly feel. Think of how Hallmark writes copy, rather than how an accountant would write!

2. Share Progress, However Small

Show your donors they matter, no matter the size of their donation. Make sure to explain exactly how your donor’s gift is causing positive change and helping to advance your cause. Let your donors see how their donation is helping by visualizing your data in an infographic or colorful chart.

3. Add An Invitation

Have you thought about inviting your donors to join you or support you in a way that doesn’t include asking for another donation? Ask your supporters to volunteer, sign a petition, come to a free event, or follow you you on social media.

4. Add A Personalized Opening

Shake up your copy and be creative!  Start your “thank you” with a personalized feel. Try “You made my day” instead of traditional openers like “Thank you for…” The first line of an email often appears in your donor’s inbox below the subject; make sure that line is something worth clicking on!

5. Show Success Photos

Your donors love to see photos that celebrate your successes. Photos help create a connection between your nonprofit and your donors. Consider sharing photos of the people your organization has helped, or pictures from a volunteering event.

6. Create A Video Message

Online video is a cost-effective and popular medium. Your staff members just need a smartphone or a laptop to create a direct, moving and authentic “thank you” video. Experiment with new platforms like Vine or Instagram to create short messages that can be shared across social media!

7. Send A Postcard

A “thank you” message doesn’t have to stick to the traditional letter format. There are several apps available that allow you to create and send a personalized postcard with a photo. Try sending a photo postcard that visually captures the everyday work you do.

8. Be Specific

Donors are hungry for personalized details about the impact of your work. Are you careful to segment your donors by the types of funds and programs they contributed towards? If donors gave to a specific program, they should receive special information about their impact on that program.

9. Ask Volunteers To Help

Harness the power of volunteers to improve your “thank you” process! Ask your volunteers to join staff in writing hand-written and personalized “thank you” notes to donors. A hand-written note is a powerful and thoughtful way to follow up with your supporters.

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