Help Guide
6 Ways To Thank Your Supporters This Thanksgiving
November 15, 2021 by Michelle Clancy

Fall is in the air. The days are growing shorter, weather is rolling in, and there is a brief, quiet lull before the holiday hustle begins. It's a time when people are preparing to give thanks for the things important to them in life.

As non-profits, we spend a considerable amount of time seeking new supporters through mail and email campaigns, events, and other creative marketing strategies. A study conducted by the Urban Institute and the Association of Fundraising Professionals found donor retention rate is, on average, at just 43 percent. Roger Craver, author of the book Retention Fundraising: The New Art and Science of Keeping Your Donors for Life, suggests it could (and should) be closer to 75-85 percent.

This begs the questions: What can we do to keep our current donors engaged and contributing and how can we thank those who support our organizations in non-monetary ways? Could something as straightforward as a thank you truly go that far in the world of fundraising? The simple answer? Yes.

Research has shown that lack of acknowledgment is one of the main reasons donors and volunteers stop supporting a non-profit organization.
Acknowledgment, particularly toward the end of the year when many organizations are reaching out to their supporters, may feel a little bit daunting, but it doesn't need to be! We've compiled six ways you can stand out from the crowd.

1. Separate at least one Thank You per year from an ask entirely

Many organizations tie these two things together, thanking their supporters while also asking for additional donations or services. This can leave people feeling as though your organization is more focused on the fundraising than the thank you. Sending at least one thank you communication each year to your supporters - without including an ask - makes that messaging seem more sincere.

2. Personalize to create a more meaningful relationship

Showing gratitude in a way that seems personal and less "form letter" is a great way to reach people on a deeper level. Try to create a communication that is personalized in some way, perhaps handwriting the note or including details about their gift, such as thanking them for their contribution through their workplace campaign or the event where they donated. Include their name in the communication. Form letters and generic communications often lack the authentic feeling a handwritten or personalized communication provides.
It's a great time of year to thank board members for the work they do on behalf of your organization and volunteers for the time and energy they put forth to assist your cause.

3. Consider a phone drive

Do you have a little extra time or staff? Calling board members, donors, or volunteers to thank them for their support is an extremely personal way to thank them. It also allows you the opportunity to answer any questions they may have and to strengthen your relationship by talking with them about the ways their support has benefited those seeking assistance from your non-profit.

4. Make your annual holiday card a Thanksgiving card

Some organizations send out annual holiday cards to their donor base. Your organization may do the same already, but what if you shifted to a different sort of holiday? Consider sending out Thanksgiving cards rather than holiday or New Year's cards. Not only will this help your organization stand out but may also get your message in before the holiday card crowd!

5. Create a volunteer or board member "spotlight"

Thanking your supporters does not need to cost your organization a lot of time or money, You can thank them on social media for free! Create a monthly or an annual Spotlight post to highlight the efforts of your volunteers or board members.
Hot Tip!

If you are posting a lot of video content on Facebook, you can convert your Facebook page from a Business Profile Page to a Video Page.

6. Create a thank you video

It doesn't have to be long and can be filmed on your iPhone.
You will find great video templates for free on
Non-profit supporters want to know their support is appreciated and making a difference. Spending a little extra time to craft a personalized, meaningful acknowledgment is a wonderful way to let them know their dollars are truly a gift and are assisting your organization in its mission.
With Giving Tuesday just around the corner, it is a perfect time for your organization to reach out to your supporters and thank them for past pledges, services, and volunteer time.