Thankful.I know you’re in the midst of meeting and soliciting donors, figuring out stock transfers, sending out last minute proposals, and finishing up plans for next year – but in all the craziness of this time of year, take at least one full day between now and the end of the year to thank your donors.
I get it, you’re busy. But now is the time to thank your donors for everything they’ve done this year.
You’ll get a jump on everyone if you do it now instead of waiting until the middle of January, when everyone else will start thanking.
The beauty of taking one full day to do this is that you can be incredibly focused and creative in your approach with your major donors. Here are some ideas for you:

  1. Set up a thank you visit with your Top 3 donors, accompanied by your Executive Director — Have them visit the donor at their workplace or home (clear this with the donor first).
  2. Send a thank you note to your top 10 donors from your Executive Director — You prepare the text, she or he handwrites it, and you send it out.
  3. You send 15 handwritten thank you notes yourself — No one understands the power of handwritten notes. How many holiday cards have you opened up? Every one. Why? Because they stand out.
  4. Call all of your A and B-tier donors — Most will not pick up, but leave a message of thanks anyway. When you leave a message, remind them of their previous gift. (How to tier donors? Click here.)
  5. Send a quick thank you video — Absolutely powerful. Get your staff or clients to wish the donors a happy holiday and new year individually, using your phone. Send it off… what a lasting impact!
  6. Send a personal email to all of your C-level donors – Make it as personal as possible. Include photos. You will be surprised how many donors will respond.

The power of a thank you has an amazing effect. Not only does it help the donor feel good, but it also influences future giving. (Tweet it!) But thanking today has to stand out. It’s not just a receipt letter. Donors expect that. You have to go above and beyond expectations.
Setting aside one day will force you to be focused on it. If you can’t do one full day, do two half-days. Remember, the more personal this thank you is, the more impact you will have on your donors. At this time of year, it’s easy just to do something quick without much thought, because there are “more important” things for you to do.
But thanking donors is a top priority for you. You’ll reap the benefits later for taking the time now.
Jeff
PS – If you have creative ideas on how to thank your major donors, please leave a comment to help out your colleagues.