How to Make Donors Feel Appreciated

Posted by Ayanna Rutherford on 2.9.2020

brown and gray quotes board on brown wooden surface

A “thank you” can go a very long way. Providing your donors with a “thank you” is the most important part of fundraising. There are so many ways to show donors that you appreciate their support. There is the traditional donor acknowledgment letter or a supporter appreciation event. No matter how you decide to, it is always important to say thank you. Here are some traditional and nontraditional donor acknowledgment techniques.

The “Thank You” letter

Donor should receive a thank you letter that acknowledges their gift as soon as possible. Donation management software systems that generate instant thank you letters can be very helpful with distributing letters, especially during busy times of the year. It is important to make sure that the letters are signed by the Executive Director, either with a printed or wet signature.

Larger contributions should be acknowledged with a handwritten note from the Executive Director. Defining what constitutes a large donation should be done beforehand. While every donation is important, determining the amount where a donor should receive a handwritten letter is important. Depending on your operating budget a large donation could be $100 or $1,000.


If you send a newsletter to your supporters, you may want to consider including a donor acknowledgment section. You can keep an ongoing list of supporters that you update each month as you add contributors, or you can use your newsletter to announce new donors.

Annual Report

Donor recognition is a key part of your annual report. Including a list of donors who have contributed to your organization not only is a great way to recognize contributions, it also shows the strength of your donor base. You can list your donors by gift size or alphabetically. Once you create your donor acknowledgment list, double-check to make sure that you have spelled their names correctly.

Social Media

Creating a donor acknowledgment campaign through your platforms can be a great way to tell your donors “thank you”. Social media is an ever-growing medium for communication and has been an incredible fundraising tool in the last decade. Organizations and individuals use their social media platforms to bring awareness to causes and fundraise. As an organization, you can use the same platforms to publicly thank your donors.

Appreciation events

Hosting special events for donors is another way to say thank you. A simple breakfast or brunch, where donors can learn more about the organization as well as site visits help your donors see how their contributions have impacted your work. Events like this can strengthen the bond between your donor and your organization. These types of events are truly about thanking your supporters and building rapport.

Host a letter-writing party

Gather your team and board members to write handwritten notes to your donors. This personalized touch can help donors feel appreciated. This is also a great end of the year activity. Try to include program participants to help with your letter writing campaign when possible.

Photo Credit: Annie Spratt

Topics: Peer-to-Peer Fundraising, Virtual Events, Annual Report, Thank you, Events