7 Ways to Thank a Donor Face-to-Face, Without the Ask

Sending out a thank you letter or making a call to convey your gratitude are great ways to let donors know how much you appreciate their contribution.

It’s a must-do task for nonprofits if they plan to ask for more funding in the future and donors notice if that important communication step is overlooked.

Both methods are effective for showing your donors gratitude, but when you really want to make an impression consider hosting an event that is all about them. A fun or informative face-to-face gathering that celebrates the donor, without an “ask” for more funding.

To find out more about donor-centric fundraising, check out Greater Giving’s webinar “Donor vs. Dollars, How to Win in the Long Run” with Alpenglow Benefits with guest presenter and Alpenglow Benefits President Ailie Byers.

1. Celebrate the beginning or end of a project.

Great achievements deserve great celebrations, and who wants to be a part of those moments more than the people who have helped to make it happen?

Invite your biggest supporters to celebrate with you as you kick off or conclude a project. This provides a nonprofit with the perfect opportunity to thank donors and keep the focus on the work, without needing to ask for more funding. If you host it to announce a new project, you can include information on how the project will roll out, setting up the request for funding later on. Include a strong social media campaign in your event planning, with live feeds, video, and images across your active networks, so your donors can share the success they’ve helped to create.

2. An annual event tailor-made just for them.

Annual events are a standard tactic for fundraising. Planning a second one during the year simply to thank the donor community goes a long way toward convincing they are just as important in your nonprofit as the work being accomplished.

Give donors an event to remember! Whether it’s a formal dinner or a family picnic, add some the sparkle that will make it special. Fun games, a beautiful setting, or amazing catering; pick a theme that will allow you to create a fabulous event to show them you are grateful for their participation in your organization. Their memories are the karma-making ingredient that will bring in more funding later.

3. Introducing a new administrator or board members.

Confidence in leadership is important in a nonprofit. Donors want to know their money is being handled skillfully and responsibly.

For more information about test-giving check out Greater Giving’s webinar “Donor vs. Dollars, How to Win in the Long Run” with Alpenglow Benefits. Guest presenter and Alpenglow Benefits President Ailie Byers discusses the motivations and conclusions a test-gift provides your nonprofit and your donors.

When new leadership comes on board invite key contributors to an event to introduce them to your community. Donors will come away with confidence in your leadership team, a better understanding of goals, and the knowledge that they are an important part of your nonprofit.

4. Introduce a beneficiary of your work.

Nothing illustrates the importance of a nonprofit than the work itself. Host an informative gathering where a beneficiary presents his or her real-life accounting of the how the nonprofit has helped them. This type of event offers an opportunity to bring people together who have the same vested interest in a nonprofit’s work, building stronger bonds that encourage larger donations.

Give the beneficiary an opportunity to tell their story with strong images and a clear message. Gratitude toward the donor community will come naturally from people who benefit most from your donors’ generosity.

5. Changes to the nonprofit’s operating structure

Turning the focus on the inner workings of your nonprofit provides a great opportunity to engage with your donors. Their money has, in part, gone into the functioning of the nonprofit and it’s good policy to show them how the organization is continuing to grow.

A meet-and-greet cocktail hour can introduce donors to the top leadership team, as well as the hard-working people who are responsible for making their shared goals come to fruition.

6. Socializing cocktail hour

Host a social hour for a quick and fun event that will bring donors of like minds together. Oftentimes, people are drawn to a shared focus as an extension of other activities in their life. Events like cocktail hours can be seen as a networking event where donors can inadvertently put their commitment to an important cause on display as you thank them for their contribution.

7. Informational tours

Plan a tour for those donors who want to see for themselves the accomplishments made in the field. Take them to meet the people who work one-on-one with the beneficiaries of the donors’ funding. The impressions come away with oftentimes turns into the best pitch for future giving. And, receiving a thank you from someone who is directly affected by their contributions better than any statement of thanks given by an administrator.

Using a donor-centric approach to fundraising by offering your gratitude without a request for funding is an investment in your donor. It underscores your appreciation for their involvement and proves to them they are a valued part of your organization.


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