Donors are an integral part of your school's mission. They breathe life into your fundraising ideas by sacrificing their time and resources to support you. They, therefore, deserve all the gratitude they can get.
Why is thanking donors so important to your cause? It demonstrates how much you value them. It makes them feel important to your school, generating the goodwill required to make them repeat donors. It is easier to convert a donor into a repeat donor than it is to recruit a new donor, so it’s in your best interest to make your supporters feel treasured.
Unfortunately, most donors receive their thank you's in an email or a generic letter once their gift is received. However, you can get creative in your appreciation and make the donors feel special for their contributions. This article will discuss the innovative ways to thank your donors that will raise their enthusiasm.
Taking your time to handwrite a thank you note to a donor might seem old-fashioned, but its impact is simply unmatched. In this world where pretty much everything is digitized, it is easier to send a generic email than to take the time to craft a handwritten thank you note. Rise above the noise. A handwritten note shows that you genuinely care, making your supporter feel genuinely appreciated. While at it, make sure the message is honest and from the heart.
To increase the message's impact, you can get someone senior, the principal, to sign the note. This kind of effort makes the donor feel like they are truly worthy of your time.
Donors, like everyone else, feel great when someone remembers their birthday (or any other milestone like a wedding anniversary) and takes time to wish them well. Sending them a card for their upcoming special date while thanking them for their contribution demonstrates that you care and value your donors. Remember to highlight what was achieved with their money while at it.
Keep an eye out for their social media posts so that you know the dates of their essential milestones and basic personal details without having to ask them. That way, the donor will know that you cared enough to do your homework.
Send a Personal Video
A custom 'thank you' video is another great and unique way of appreciating your supporters. It doesn't have to be elaborate or expensive. A simple video that can even be recorded using a smartphone will suffice. It is the message in the video that ultimately matters. The idea is to capture the donor's emotions. Make sure you mention the donor by name and their contribution. You can even have members of your team or students who benefitted take part in the video. As you can see, there are endless possibilities.
Like recording a personal video, a phone call is an excellent way to personally thank your supporters. Not only is it authentic, but it also builds trust, especially if it comes from a senior member of your team. It also allows the donor to provide feedback while enabling you to answer some of their questions in ways that would not be possible with text messages.
If the donor is too busy to receive a phone call, leave a message and enquire about the most appropriate time to call.
Fun fact: thanking donors with a phone call increases their chances of repeat donations by as much as 50%.
Whichever project you are fundraising for, you can take pictures and put them in a photo book for your donors. This could be a new basketball court or a gym. The photobook doesn't need to be professionally done or expensive. Plenty of online sites can help you create an excellent photobook.
Document everything from its inception to completion. You may also include pictures of your biggest supporters to enhance their connection with the project.
They will feel proud to see what their money helped build. Make the photobook as compelling and exciting as possible.
Invite Them on a School Tour
Do you want your donor to see and feel the contribution they made? Nothing shouts “thank you” more than getting them to tour the school and see for themselves what they helped the school to achieve. Such a tour will allow the donor to connect to your cause, encouraging them to contribute to future fundraisers.
If they helped in buying iPads for students, you could have some of the students welcome the donor to the school to increase that personal touch. The feeling of success will undoubtedly energize your donors and keep them motivated to continue the partnership with you.
Donor Appreciation Dinner
Another great way to express your gratitude to donors is to invite them to dinner/party.
Again, it doesn't need to be anything fancy. It is the gesture that ultimately counts. This is something that can easily be held at the school. It will create a great connection while also giving you an opportunity to network. You may have a keynote speaker or a senior school member (e.g., the principal) give an appreciation speech.
If possible, invite the beneficiaries of the fundraising endeavor so the donors can see the results of their donations firsthand. For example, if the fundraiser helped the football team acquire new uniforms, invite the team to the dinner, and have the captain tell the donors how their contribution helped.
However, DO NOT use this opportunity to ask for donations.
Use your social media presence to publicly thank your donors. You may use photos/videos of the project and tag the donor. Social media is powerful because it allows users to share content, which has the potential to reach a wider audience and excite donors, especially those who like public recognition. Remember to make the post about the donor and the project they helped accomplish and less about your school.
Expressing gratitude to donors is a great way to boost donor retention rates. They don't even have to cost a lot. All you need to do is to make your thank you’s meaningful, creative, and genuine. Make the appreciation regular so that your donors feel genuinely valued for helping your school deliver on its mission.
All the best in your fundraising drives from everyone at LeanStream!