Thanksgiving. It’s that time of year, when we gather our friends and loved ones to express how much they mean to us, and to gobble up as much turkey as we can handle. If you’re a nonprofit, it’s also a time to let your supporters know they are appreciated. However, saying thanks one day a year isn’t enough. Here are a few ways to channel the spirit of Thanksgiving into your donor communication year-round.

  1. Do a video. The value of using video to communicate your nonprofit’s message, results or mission cannot be understated. These can be short and simple, even a quick “thank you” from your staff or the people your nonprofit works to help recorded on a smartphone can be hugely beneficial and potentially turn one-time donors into long-term supporters.
  2. Share actual progress or a success story. People love to hear where their money is going, or who is benefiting from their donation. Include a brief description in your “thank you” letter or email about the specific program or people being helped, and why that donation had an impact on the work your nonprofit is doing.
  3. Include Pictures, especially results oriented photos. Pictures can be a great addition to your nonprofits progress or success stories, and can even tell the story for you! By putting a face behind the donation, especially if it’s the person being helped, you can really bring home the impact that donor had. This establishes a stronger emotional connection between them and the organization.
  4. Consider a donor recognition wall or digital graphic. Don’t underestimate the power of recognizing your donors publicly. Some ways to do this include shout-outs on social media, “Donor of the Week” sections in e-newsletters, or a physical donor recognition wall. This recognition will make the donor feel special, and encourages others to follow their lead.
  5. Add an invitation. The best way to create long-term supporters is to have them engage with your nonprofit, in person. Include an invitation in your “thank you” communication that invites the donor to connect with you, but not in a way that asks for further financial donation. Invite them to volunteer, to attend a free event and to follow your social media pages. This will show that you value their involvement, not just their money. Plus, this helps them to get a first-hand look at the impact their donation can have.

Using a combination of these tips with your standard “thank you” can really elevate the level of donor involvement with your nonprofit, and lead to a relationship between the donor and your mission. Don’t just take our word for it though! Get out there and be creative. Maybe your nonprofit has a unique ability to thank donors in a way not mentioned above, and that’s great! Donors want to know they are appreciated and any way you can accomplish this will only serve to benefit both parties. Have a happy Thanksgiving, and don’t forget to give a personal, meaningful thanks to those who truly deserve it.