Saying “thank you” is a simple but powerful act. It only takes a moment, yet volunteer appreciation is one of your most important tools for building and maintaining relationships with your nonprofit’s supporters.
After the whirlwind of seasonal volunteerism, events, and holiday campaigns, the last thing on your mind may be thanking the people who made it all possible . But when done well, a simple “thank you” can encourage future giving and involvement in your organization. This small act can be a critical piece in any nonprofit’s overall campaign strategy.
We’re sharing our years of research and expertise to help you build better relationships with your volunteers, evaluate your current volunteer engagement strategy, and find more meaningful ways to thank your volunteers and donors this holiday season.
- Create a Website Shout-Out
- Host a Virtual Thank You Event
- Share Photographs of Your Campaign Contributors
- Record an Appreciation Video
- Give Them a Phone Call
- Write an Old Fashioned “Thank You” Letter
1. Create a Website Shout-out
Your website is prime real estate for making public announcements, highlighting volunteer opportunities, and communicating impact. Why not capitalize on this space to thank your holiday campaign donors?
One idea is to create a public “stewardship” section on your website. This section is a great place to express gratitude to a large audience. It could also have the dual purpose of boosting engagement with future donors while increasing loyalty among your current audience.
2. Host a Virtual Thank You Event
While some of your events may still be in person, you can choose to offer your contributors a special night-in! Virtual gatherings are a festive and engaging way to thank your volunteers and holiday donors.
When you’re planning your online event, make sure to take specific event needs into account. Will you want to host fun games or breakout rooms for your attendees? If so, you may decide you need to hire an online platform to host the event. If your holiday event has an app component to it, for example, inform your guests about any digital services they need to download ahead of time, so that the night can run smoothly for your digital attendees.
3. Share Photographs of Your Campaign Contributors
Photographs can help illustrate your organization’s success stories and provide updates. The strength of visual storytelling lies in the ability to quickly create a strong emotional connection between your cause and your donors–this works when thanking contributors and showing their impact as well! Mobile-phone photos are fine, but professional-quality photos are even better if you’re going to include the photos in print materials.
4. Record an Appreciation Video
A video is a creative and engaging medium for showing appreciation to your holiday campaign donors and volunteers. Keep the video below 2 minutes for maximum engagement.
You don’t need the most cutting-edge technology or artistic inclination to create a successful video message. Even footage shot on your phone can be a great way to share your gratitude!
Have your Executive Director or Board record the message. They can introduce themselves to your donors, acknowledge the impact being made in the community, and express their gratitude for the donors’ support.
Make sure that your video also tells the donors exactly where their contributions have made a difference, and encourage them with further ways to get involved.
5. Give Them a Phone Call
Pick up the phone! A great way to cultivate both trust and a positive impression of your organization is to give donors a call and genuinely thank them for everything they’ve done to support your cause. To stay on top of this, assign someone on staff to make these calls at least twice a month. Reaching out to donors individually is an important part of building relationships with them.
6. Write an Old Fashioned “Thank You” Letter
One of the most time-tested ways to thank someone is by writing them a thank you letter. You should send your letter as quickly as possible following a donation. According to NonprofitPro, anywhere between two days and two weeks is an appropriate length of time to send your letter. If you wait too long, you miss the chance to deepen the bond between your organization and the donor or volunteer. Check out this resource for writing a great thank you letter.
It is essential to thank your contributors after your holiday campaign (and throughout the year!). Adopting one or more of these strategies can boost donor engagement and retention while promoting a positive impression of your organization. Donors want to know that you appreciate their contributions. When you consider that fundraising boils down to two sources—new and existing donors—it’s clear any nonprofit needs effective ways to keep their donors coming back year after year.