In Part 1 of this two-part article, Secret Nonprofit Donor Thank You Advice: Always Add a Tip, I encouraged you to ‘tip’ your donors with extra gratitude right now. Your donors deserve this, and it will pay off for you in the short and long run by encouraging more donations – today and tomorrow.

We covered three ways to shower folks with extra love, beginning with what I consider to be the most effective strategy.

  1. Extra Thank You Phone Calls
  2. Extra Thank You Notes
  3. Extra Thank You Emails

I promised I’d give you some templates you and your volunteers can use, so… here they are!

Templates for ‘Extra’ Thank You Phone Calls

The script goes something like this:

CALL

You begin with:

Hi _____ (donor’s name). This is _____________.  I’m on the board of the (organization’s name.)  I’m NOT calling to ask you for money. I’m just calling to thank you for the donation you recently made and for standing with us during these difficult times.  It really means a lot and I wanted to tell you personally how grateful we are. 

Donor says something like:

ï         Uh, okay.

ï         It was my pleasure.

ï         Wow! I’ve never had anyone call just to thank me!

If folks are willing to chat:

Take this opportunity to check in and ask them how they’re adapting to the new abnormal. Ask an open-ended question to endeavor to learn a bit about how they got connected with you. If you’ve had any virtual events, ask if they’ve had an opportunity to join in. Let them know about any upcoming opportunities to connect. I like to offer my phone number should they ever have any questions or concerns. It helps donors feel like insiders – real members of your family – when they have a name and number with whom to connect.

You close with:

Just want you to know we don’t take your support for granted. I don’t want to take up a lot of your time. I just wanted to thank you again for (making this first gift/increasing your giving this year/your longtime support). We honestly couldn’t do this work without you. Have a great day!

LEAVE A MESSAGE

If the donor doesn’t answer the phone, leave a message.  After all, you took the time to place the call; don’t waste that energy!

You can reach me at (phone number or email), and I’ll also be sending you an email to make it easy for you.

FOLLOW-UP EMAIL

Subject line: (Your name) from (your organization’s) Board following up as promised in today’s Voice Mail

Body: Sorry I missed you today. I would have loved to thank you in person! As promised, I’m sending you another BIG thank you for your steadfast support. Even with our doors closed, your support is helping (brief blurb about how their giving makes an impact today). I hope you’ll check out (link to something you’re doing now, a new video, a list of useful tips or a recent e-newsletter).

With support from friends like you we will (stay strong/meet the increased need/be back)!

With gratitude,

(Your name)

P.S. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to let me know and I’ll endeavor to find you answers.  Thanks again.

For more, grab my free “Donor Thank You Calls E-Book + Script.”

Templates for ‘Extra’ Thank You Notes

Your heartfelt, exceptional copy goes something like this:

Dear (first name),

You may not fully appreciate how much your recent gift to (your organization or campaign name) means. So I’m sending a special note just to let you know. You are awesome!

I want to say more, but words won’t fully express my gratitude for your support at this time.

Signature (Draw a heart, add an ‘XOXO’ or something to express gratitude that’s not ‘words.’)

OR

Dear (first name),

I understand this may seem silly or over the top, but I think what you did was exceptional.

Your gift during these uncertain times is special, and does not go unnoticed.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart,

Signature

Don’t forget to personally address the envelope.  And put your name above the return address. This will help assure the thank you note is opened.

Templates for ‘Extra’ Thank You Emails

Your heartfelt, informal copy goes something like this:

Subject lines: 

One more thank you from (your name @ organization’s name) because… you mean that much!

I know you were thanked already for your gift to (organization’s name), but TODAY once is not enough.

Preview panes:

Because you cared, kids in our community are getting free lunches (or whatever is true for your nonprofit). For example, “because you cared

  • The doors of our shelter have remained open.
  • Our staff will continue to receive life-sustaining health benefits.
  • We’ve pivoted to offer programming virtually.
  • All furloughed workers will be rehired to continue meeting client needs
  • We haven’t lost a second in the fight to find a cure.

Body (Keep in mind the beginning of the first sentence of your body copy will show up in the reader’s preview pane if they have this email feature turned on)

Because you cared… 

Today I’m sending you another BIG thank you for your generosity during these difficult times.  Knowing we have your support makes all the difference in our ability to keep (brief blurb about how their giving makes an impact today). 

Words are inadequate to truly express how much your recent gift means. To me, and to everyone here, you are a hero!

If I could hug you, I would.

Warm regards,

(Your name)

P.S. If you ever have any questions, don’t hesitate to let me (or name/contact info for an appropriate staff person or volunteer leader).  Thanks again.

Closing Thoughts

When you ask well, you get one gift. When you thank well, you get multiple gifts.

It’s important to always think from your donor’s perspective. Remember, they don’t think the way you do.  We actually know how donors think due to an amazing two decade body of research from Penelope Burk.

Donors appreciate an exceptional thank you. Doubt this at your peril. Even donors who tell you “no need to send me a thank you” will respond well to something special like a call or personal note. People simply won’t tell you the truth, especially if they think it makes them look needy. They’ll tell you what they think you want to hear.

Turn the tables and tell donors what they truly yearn to hear. People want to love themselves when they look in the mirror. If you make them feel good about themselves, they’ll feel good about you.

Human nature.

donor love and loyalty

Claire Axelrad

Claire Axelrad

Fundraising Coach at Bloomerang
Claire Axelrad, J.D., CFRE is a fundraising visionary with 30+ years frontline development work helping organizations raise millions in support. Her award-winning blog showcases her practical approach, which earned her the AFP “Outstanding Fundraising Professional of the Year” award. Claire runs “Clairification School” online, teaches the CFRE course that certifies professional fundraisers, and is a regular contributor to Guidestar, NonProfit PRO and Maximize Social Business.
Claire Axelrad