Follow-Up Ideas for Nonprofits: Saying a Proper Thank You to Your Donors


With each new campaign, you put countless hours into rallying the support of volunteers and donors and in order to gather donations. Usually, it pays off in financial gifts from your newly excited donors. Now what? You’re tired and you’ve just seen the great ROI, so now is time to take a break. Amiright?

We’d like to point out that the time following your big fundraising campaign is one of the most important times NOT to take a break. Why?

“Sixty-five percent of first-time donors don’t make a second gift.”

but if a proper thank you was received from the nonprofit to the donor,

“Eighty percent of donors say that would convince them to make the second gift.”

— Penelope Burk, fundraising blogger

Even just from the quote above, we can conclude that:

a) Thank you’s are necessary.


b) Thank you’s are worth your investment. 

We will also add that c) Thank you’s can be fun and show your nonprofit’s personality.

So how can you thank donors authentically and efficiently?

Here are a few follow-up ideas for nonprofits with recent fundraising campaigns.

1) Video: Make one heart-felt video and send it out to your donors. You don’t have to make hundreds of personalized videos to show that you are grateful for their individual efforts. The videos below were sent out to multiple different donors, but were done in a way that illustrates real gratitude and how every donor was necessary in making a difference.

– Wounded Warrior Project

– OneJustice

Don’t have time for such a lengthy video? Even just a phone camera could be a tool! Use it to send brief video clips thanking the donor by name – maybe just do the highest donors or just the first-time donors.

2) Photos: If you don’t have the technical chops to produce your own video nor the budget to keep it high quality, you can pull ideas from the examples above but use simple photos instead. You can simply include some images of the people your nonprofit works with, or if possible, you can gather a few of these people and take photos of them holding a thank you card. Nonprofit Develop Africa does this effectively, as seen below:


3) Written notes: Request that your volunteers or board members each write a few hand-written thank you cards. Most people’s email inboxes get filled every day, but their mailboxes, less so. In “The Power of a Handwritten Note,” there’s a quote drawn from the U.S. Postal Service survey, revealing that “the average home only received a personal letter once every seven weeks in 2010, down from once every two weeks in 1987.”

If you can have 10 board members and 20 volunteers to write 2 thank you notes per day for a week, you’ve got over 400 thank you’s already.

4) Phone call: have volunteers sign up for a few names to call on a list. You could call donors right after their donation for a quick thanks, or possibly down the road when you can share what their donations did. You could even make it extra personal and call on their birthday week to wish them a happy birthday.

5) Blog posts: A really targeted blog post that walks through the steps of how a donation helped, can illustrate the effectiveness of each donor’s contributions. If you send them a personal email that both thanks them and then emphasizes that they contributed to the work shown in the blog post, it can be the best of both worlds: efficient/informative AND personal.

For these posts, you can give them a “feel good” flair, underlining how much the donor impacted individuals. By also including more technical info, like how a certain dollar amount makes a specific difference, you can also target donors who are more oriented around the numbers.

If you’d like help with generating ideas, shooting a photos or video or creating content, contact ArcStone and plan out your next campaign.