Donor Recognition Strategy Guide

Glass Donor Plaque

Imagine if a donor so inspired by your nonprofit mission left you a sizable donation, and the organization never sent a thank you letter or email (let alone included them to their wall of generous donors).It is highly probable that the donor will not donate to your organization again because they did not feel appreciated. A simple expression of gratitude, like a thank you note or an acknowledgment letter, can make the donor feel valued and respected. Donor loyalty can be maintained by implementing effective donor recognition practices.

Donor Recognition 

It is a well-thought way of defining the practice of appreciating and thanking donors for their donations to your organization. Most nonprofits divide donors’ recognition in tiers depending on the amount and type of gift. 

A good donor recognition policy achieves these goals:

  • It cultivates relationships with existing supporters and encourages them to give more
  • Attracts new supporters to the organization

How Donor Recognition Benefits Nonprofits

  • It helps maintain your donors- recognizing donors who contributed towards your organization’s mission irrespective of the amount, makes them feel like an essential part of the story. These donors will want to stick around for a more extended period. 
  • Motivates donors to give more and again- Donors give since they believe their contributions will make a difference. Recognizing a donor’s gift makes them feel valuable, inspiring them to give more to achieve the organization’s mission. 
  • Helps acquire new donors- Appreciating those who give to your nonprofit attracts other people who want to donate. Appreciation shows some sense of accountability, and every donor wants to associate themselves with an accountable nonprofit.

Who Should Be Recognized

Recognizing every donor who contributed to your organization, regardless of the gift size or amount, is an important aspect of a donor recognition plan. However, it’s equally important to ensure that the level of recognition is proportional to the amount given, as it demonstrates respect for the loyalty of donors to your organization. Overwhelming or underwhelming recognition can lead to dissatisfaction or discomfort among donors.

Major donors who make significant contributions to the non-profit should receive public recognition, such as having their names added to a custom-designed wall. This recognition acknowledges their ability to make vast and recurring donations, which can have a significant impact on the organization.

Legacy donors who leave gifts to your organization can be recognized by giving them a membership. This simple gesture is a great way to show your appreciation for their contribution and to maintain a good relationship with them.

Defining Donor Recognition Tiers

Your organization’s recognition levels should be in tiers based on the donation type and amount. The amount and gift types in the tiers depend on the organization. Each tier should have levels of rewards and acknowledgment that grow in value to motivate the donors to move to a higher tier. 

Types of recognition include:

  • Personal recognition: Include tokens of appreciation, small gifts, in-person meetings, personal letters, emails, and phone calls.
  • Public recognition: These can be donor recognition walls, major donor clubs mentioned on the website, or press releases. It is essential to consult the donor before mentioning them publicly.
  • Naming Opportunities: Mostly applied to the company’s major donors. Donor names are done in building, endorsement, campaigns, and funds.


Each tier should have a mix of public and personal recognition. Naming opportunities are strictly for the most significant company donors. A company that practices a donor recognition policy can maintain most of its donors. 

Post Contents

Related Posts

Ways to Engaging Millennial Donors

Ways to Engaging Millennial Donors

Millennials, typically defined as the generation born between 1981 and 1996) are the future of U.S ...
Best Practices in Matching Gifts and Donation Challenge Campaigns

Best Practices in Matching Gifts and Donation Challenge Campaigns

Implementing challenge campaigns and matching gift strategies is an excellent way to stretch fundraising ...
How to Celebrate National Nonprofit Day

How to Celebrate National Nonprofit Day

On August 17, the United States celebrates National Nonprofit Day to recognize the impact of the social sector and ...

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This