5 Ways to Say Thank You

The High-Five Nonprofit Marketing Ideas Episode Transcript:

Hi! Welcome to the latest episode of The High-Five Nonprofit Marketing Ideas. I’m Julia McDowell, Marketing Strategist for Five Ones. The High-Five is my video series of marketing strategies and tactics for nonprofits and associations.

Today, we’re going back to the very basics…something your parents taught you at a very young age (I hope!): how to say ‘thank you!’. And this thank you will get you further than just perhaps a later curfew.

According to some stats shared by Bloomerang, those first-time donors who get a personal thank you within 48 hours are 4x more likely to give a second gift! So, while it’s obvious that as an organization, you should thank every donor, volunteer, or advocate you have, there are a few different ways to do it. From the quick and easy to the all-out, here are 5 ways to say thank you:

Automated Message

Regardless of whether you’re going to do something else to thank someone, your organization should first set up an automated message triggered by a specific action. For example, if someone donates to your cause, send an email thanking them for their support. If someone signs up to volunteer, send a note with more information, but start by thanking them for lending their time. While email is the most obvious form, you could also send a text message if you collect phone numbers.

And try to personalize your message as much as possible. At least include their name, but go a step further and acknowledge the amount they donated, the event they signed up for, or whatever else you’re thanking them for. And take it a step further and apply the 80/20 rule to the words “you” vs “we.” Make sure you use second-person pronouns in at least 80% of your copy and first-person pronouns in no more than 20% of your copy. This will give you a good balance and ensure that your copy speaks directly to your members or donors.

Handwritten Card

Snail mail isn’t completely dead—I promise. Get into the habit of sending handwritten, branded cards on a specific cadence. Once a month sit down and write to anyone who has donated in the last month. Or after a big event, send out handwritten thank you notes to the attendees. People love to be recognized and a card is a quick, easy, and affordable way to let someone know you appreciate their time, effort, or donation. Think about it, don’t you love a handwritten card? I sure do!

Send Swag

Everyone loves free stuff—it’s just a fact. With your handwritten card, send a notepad, pen, tote bag, or whatever else you have. You could also tier your ‘thank you’ gift. So, if someone donates up to $100 they receive a notepad and pen. But, if they donate up to $500 they get the notepad, pen, tote bag, and cap.

Encourage your recipients to post on social with their swag with a specific hashtag, too! It’s free marketing for you and a fun perk for them.

Feature Top Donors

While not everyone can get a shoutout in every communication, you can feature a few of your top donors. Write a monthly email that interviews a donor about their connection with your organization, what they’ve done, and why. Again, people love to talk about themselves (we’re all human!) so giving them a platform to do so will be a great thank you gift. Plus, you can use these testimonials in just about every one of your marketing channels.

Alternatively, you could send an annual email with a list of every donor or volunteer from the year, thanking them, and discussing the year as a whole. It’s kind of like a digital version of a wall engraved with donor names.

Throw a Party

If you really want to thank your donors, throw them a party! Realistically this is a once-a-year event, but it can also double as a way to solicit more donations or volunteers and further educate guests about your cause or current initiatives. At the party, you could creatively share and honor a list of all of the donors,  feature or even award your top donors, and make sure you share plenty of branded goodies. While saying ‘thank you’ is a given, what’s not so easy is how you want to go about thanking them. Be sure to include this in every one of your marketing campaigns, as the closer, or the cherry on top. And my best advice: start with an automated message and then build up from there.

In the spirit of saying thank you…thanks for joining me for today’s High-Five Nonprofit Marketing Ideas! Have other ideas for how to show you’re thankful? Email me at julia@fiveones.com or share them in the comments below.