As a nonprofit organization, one of the greatest things we can do is to maintain a strong and thankful relationship with our donors. If your nonprofit is just getting started, obviously the first few steps are to get everything up and running, including completing your charitable solicitation registration. Then, once you’re ready to accept donations, it’s important to learn how to sustain the organization with donations. This means saying thank you to your donors on a consistent basis.

Every nonprofit knows how crucial it is to send thank you letters after receiving gifts. Standard procedure involves thanking them for their donation amount and on what day they made it. Some organizations may add the director’s signature for that added personal touch, but then we move on to the next task.

While those types of thank yous are sweet, the truth is that it takes so much more. A key factor in developing and maintaining a strong relationship with our donors is to acknowledge them in a way that lets them know how important they are.

Here are some ways that you can go beyond the standard thank you card or letter:

  • Ask board members to be a part of the thanking process. In order to create a true attitude of gratitude in your nonprofit, be sure to acknowledge their role within the organization and thank them first. They are a big part of your day-to-day operations, so they should feel supported too.
  • Start creating and printing a regular report that’s handed out to every staff and board member involved in thanking your donors. Then, brainstorm together great ways to thank your donors.
  • Then, at board meetings, hand out cards that have notes about every donor in them. Your board members can then add a personal response to each card or make phone calls to thank each donor just before the meeting starts.

Take a look at your gift acknowledgment policy and ask questions.

  • Does your nonprofit have a complete thanking policy?
  • What are the first steps taken once the gift (donation) has arrived?
  • Is this policy written down anywhere so everyone has access to it?
  • Do people in your organization respond according to the gift amount? For instance, do certain amounts receive faster/greater attention?

Think about when the donor is thanked and how often.

  • How long does it take for each donor to be thanked?
  • How often are thank you letters send out? Daily, weekly, or monthly?
  • Are all donors thanked, in the same way, no matter the amount?
  • Is the donor thanked more than once or just after the donation is given?

Once you’ve taken a closer look at your thanking procedure, start to develop ways to show appreciation to your donors in surprising ways. For instance, come up with three to four ways to acknowledge them throughout the year. Whether you’d like to do it on Valentine’s Day, the donor’s birthday, or other holidays, it will be that much more special. Consider producing videos that highlight what your organization has been doing with the donations and send it to donors via email. You can also host an annual get together to give your donors the chance to feel extra special.

Remember, once you’ve completed your charitable solicitation registration and beginning steps, the next step is to develop and maintain healthy relationships with your donors. If you follow some of the tips outlined above, you’ll be well on your way to accomplishing your mission of helping the people who need it.