Everyone agrees that stewardship is important, but too often it drops to the bottom of the priority list for busy nonprofit professionals. Here are five overlooked ways to say thanks all year long.

  1. Automated gift acknowledgments. When donors make a gift on-line, they likely receive an on-screen message and/or an automated email acknowledging their donation. When’s the last time you revisited those messages? Are they the bare minimum or do they make a donor feel proud to have supported your mission? Do they share updated and relevant information about your impact as an organization?

    Related: What about your other gift acknowledgments? When were they last updated? How might you make them more memorable?

  2. Use other voices. Ask people you serve or partner with to offer video or written messages of thanks for you to share with donors. This can “put a face to the case” and help strengthen the donor’s connection to your organization.

  3. Forward relevant information. When news or research related to your mission is released, share it with donors. Let them know about the progress you’re making and the evolving needs that you are addressing.

    Related: What are your donor’s other interests? When you see information they may find interesting or useful, send it along with a quick note of thanks.

  4. Utilize other communications. Are there places in your building, in your community, in local news media or on your website where you could offer a public thanks to those who support you? Even in communications about upcoming programs or events, drop a quick “thank you for all the generous donors who make our work possible” message along the bottom.

  5. Text a picture. When you have the opportunity to see your mission in action, snap a picture. Forward it to a donor with a simple note that says “thanks for making this moment happen.” If pictures wouldn’t be appropriate, just send a message, telling a short fact or story and thanking the donor for making it happen. “Today I got to watch 3 condors be released into the wild after rehabilitation at our facility. Thank you so much for helping to heal these magnificent animals.”

None of these ask for more support, but they do remind a donor about the importance and value of what they’ve already given. Donors get to experience the joy of supporting a worthy cause all over again each time you say thanks.

You may find that you get a boost from sharing this gratitude as well. While there are always new challenges to face as a nonprofit, saying thanks is a good reminder that you’re not alone in your mission.

What are some overlooked ways to say thanks that you recommend?

DBD Summer Stewardship


This month, DBD Group is exploring the idea of "stewardship." When and how do we say thank you to donors?  How might we express gratitude in a heartfelt way that also helps to move a donor relationship forward? And how might we do it in a way that cuts through the noise and makes the mission stand out. Join us as we share ideas from our clients and team. No matter how you decide to do it, don't wait to say thanks!                                                                  

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