Donors want to see what their gifts allowed you to accomplish and how they will impact lives. In addition to personal stories, it is important to share facts and statistics to support the intended outcomes. Saying thank you to donors along the way may be ending that specific interaction but can certainly build opportunities for future support and deeper engagement. To keep funders engaged and focused on collective success, thank them, thank them, thank them.
Find a variety of ways to offer inexpensive and personal expressions of appreciation to your donors and connect them to your mission. It is important to regularly communicate your progress toward the final budget target, as well as the project status, with your secured and potential funders. Be sure to keep them abreast of any changes to the budget target and/or the timeline. This can be done with phone calls, letters, emails, or posts to online fundraising news, but be sure you are communicating with funders in their preferred method so your updates are heard, as well as welcomed.
Thank You Letters
Letters are an important way to express appreciation while also providing donation disclosures for tax purposes. Send letter on official letterhead to the head organizational contact, but also utilize your network of fundraising volunteers to further personalize and add messages to the letter. Consider the following tips for donor appreciation letters:
- Be timely by sending the letter within a week of the commitment and/or contribution.
- Personalize the letter with handwritten messages and a real signature.
- Communicate the mission so the donor senses continuity with the ask through the thank you.
- Use personal touches and stories (without compromising privacy) so the donor can be a hero.
- Include the donation disclosure to the letter can serve as a tax receipt.
- Offer updates to the campaign progress and project status and invite donors to remain engaged.
- Provide contact information so the donor can share your information with others and stay involved.
Besides thanking your donors at the time of the gift, you may also want to consider how to thank them at the playground site, especially at a grand opening event. Be sure to invite all donors to the grand opening and be thoughtful about offering thanks. It may not be realistic to name each one verbally, but displaying a poster with everyone's name under a header of THANK YOU! is one way to be sure everyone feels appreciated, and remains open to future donation requests. You may also want to consider appreciation events like a picnic at the site for donors and their friends, or some other way to invite them to a special event at the site.