How Do You Thank a Major Donor?

Donors can make or break a campaign. They help fund the project and provide financial support to get things going and see it through from start to finish. Because of this, organizations highly value their donors and are always looking for ways to show their gratefulness.

While a simple “thank you” is more than enough to show your appreciation to your donors, taking it a step further can make a significant impact. The way you say thank you can encourage your major donors to give again in the future and support your cause all throughout. 

In this article, we compiled eight great ways to say “thank you” that will make an impact in the lives of your donors and motivate them to contribute to your organization again.

8 Ways to Say “Thank You” to a Major Donor 

1. Phone Call 

If you cannot personally express your gratitude to your donors, the second best thing is to thank them through a phone call. Within 24 hours of them making the donation, call your donors and say thank you for their contribution. 

This call, however, shouldn’t come from just anyone. Ideally, it should be conducted by the highest-ranking person in the organization, such as the CEO or COO. Ask management to allocate just 5 minutes of their time making calls to major donors and saying thank you for their contributions. 

Another thing to note is that when thanking major donors, make it a point to express your gratitude at least five times, on different occasions. By making multiple touches, you can communicate your appreciation and gratitude better. Your goal is not only to let them know that you are thankful but to make them feel it! 

2. Thank You Note 

Either as an alternative to a phone call or to supplement it with an additional show of thanks, send a thank you note to your major donors. Use a special card for this purpose, either a quality card bought from stationery stores or a custom branded card procured by your organization. 

The thank-you note can be written by someone from your organization, or better yet, a beneficiary of their donation who can share something about how the gift benefitted them. In addition to this, make sure to also include these two important messages: 

  • That their donation was needed: Be vulnerable to your donors and communicate that you needed their donation for your cause. Major donors will appreciate that they were able to contribute to an important purpose! 
  • That their donation will make a difference: Chances are, your donors contributed to your cause, which they strongly believe in. Be sure to let them know that their donation will make a difference in the lives of the beneficiaries.

Need help with writing a thank you letter? Check out these donation thank you letter templates and tips.

3. Hand-Made Gift

A little token of appreciation won’t hurt — in fact, your donors will appreciate it! There are some organizations that curate hand-made tokens for their major donors, such as pies, cookies, or merchandise like pens and notebooks. 

While you can order a small token from another shop, a hand-made gift is more personal and thoughtful. Consider taking the time to create something for your donors and deliver it to them in a neat package! 

4. Personal Value-Add

If you have an idea about your donors’ interests, you can give them a personal value-add that they are sure to love. For example, if they are sports fans, perhaps give them a signed photograph of a famous athlete or a bobblehead figurine they can display in their offices. 

Add a note to be sent with your gift where you thank your donor once again for their contributions. 

5. Receipt 

For formalities’ sake, donations should be acknowledged with a receipt, given 24 to 48 hours after the donation is made. You can add more spice to the receipt by attaching a thank you note written by your executive director or your organization’s high-ranking members. 

6. Listen 

While these are all good ways to thank your donors, there are major donors who may be more conservative than others. For example, some may want their donations to be anonymous or expressly ask that you don’t contact them. The most important thing to do is to listen to your donors and honor their requests. 

But remember not to assume that your donors don’t want to be thanked. Everyone wants their good deeds acknowledged. If there have been no express instructions from your donor, take the initiative to thank them for their gifts. 

7. Form a Relationship 

There is a difference between a transactional thank you and a relational thank you. The former is just a means of acknowledgment, putting your donor’s contribution in your annual report, giving them an official receipt, and contacting them again in the future requesting another donation. 

What you should really be after is a relational thank you. This encourages you to form genuine relationships with your donors and add personal touches to your thank yous. The relational thank you is more heartwarming, genuine, and will surely make your donors feel your gratitude and feel special

8. Donor Recognition Walls 

Your valuable donors deserve a place in your office or establishment, with their contributions to your campaign recognized. The perfect way to do this is through a donor recognition wall displayed for your visitors to see. A donor wall lists all the names of your major donors and other contributors, and sometimes with their corresponding yearly or total contributions. 

Thank Your Donors With DonorSigns

DonorSigns can help you honor and thank your donors in the most extravagant way with a custom donor wall displayed in the heart of your office or establishment. We provide organizations like yours, big or small, with a wide selection of donor sign options, from economic donor plaques to modern, interactive donor walls. 

We procure custom, unique, and high-quality donor recognition solutions at any budget, location, or size. Reach out to us today to schedule a consultation where we can further discuss how we can help you honor and recognize your donors and align with your preferred design, the cost of the project, and other technicalities.

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