Thanking donors is a necessary part of any campaign, and once you’ve worked in the nonprofit world for several years, you’ve likely got around a thousand thank you letters under your belt. You may even have a nice template saved on your computer, making the entire acknowledgment process more efficient. Considering daily workloads, I’m always an advocate for using templates when possible.


The end of the year and beginning of the new year (Thankuary, anyone?) is the perfect time to do something a little different for your donors. They need to know that this thank you is special, and it’s up to you to come up with creative ways to show your organization’s gratitude. Of course, the standard thank you letter will always have its place but here are some ways you can shake up your acknowledgements:

1. Phone Calls

Remember the days of thank-a-thons? No? Well, I do, so let me explain. A Thank-a-Thon is an organizational effort to contact as many donors as possible via phone to thank them for supporting your mission. Because these events take more time and planning, thank-a-thons are great for the end of the year when you want to add something extra to your campaign.

Because each donor base is different, make sure to discuss this idea with your staff, especially those folks who have the most contact with donors. Certain donors will appreciate a phone call, and others will think you’re a robo-caller.

2. Video Collage

A large part of fundraising is making the communication personal, and one way to do this is by adding a face to the thank yous. Video Collages are just what they sound like a collection of videos with a similar theme, aesthetic, or message placed together. Depending on how tech-savvy you are, these videos can be displayed as small clickable squares, or combined into one long video. What matters most is the content.

Record videos of your staff thanking donors in various ways. Maybe the accounting team will add in a math joke (see what I did there…), the fundraising team will include handwritten notes in their clip and the administration will thank donors while giving an office tour. Combine these clips, then publish the entire video on your social media and website.

3. Sustainable Gifts

We’re living in a more eco-conscious world, so we should be thinking about ways to incorporate this value into our sector. Sustainable gifts are gifts to our donors that are less likely to end up in a landfill, and will last for an extended period of time while doing little to no harm to the environment. Examples include vegetable seeds (great for food banks or community gardens), tulip bulbs, bonsai trees, reusable food wrappers, sourdough starters and more.

Of course, the classic printed mug and t-shirt will never go away, but as the times change, the sector has to keep up!

If you’re interested in learning more about fundraising, schedule a free 30-minute consultation with me to see what we can get done. You’re not in this alone!

work with kari