5 Creative Ways to Thank Donors During National Philanthropy Month

5 Creative Ways to Thank Donors During National Philanthropy Month

We’re halfway through November—can you believe it?! So much has happened already this month and there’s still so much more to come: Election Day, Veteran’s Day, Daylight Saving Time Ending, Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Giving Tuesday.

With so much going on, you may have missed that yesterday (Nov. 15) was National Philanthropy Day (NPD). The day was dreamt up by Douglas Freeman, a tax lawyer, in the 1980s and was made official in 1986 when President Reagan signed the NPD proclamation.

Even if you missed the day, you can still celebrate—many consider the entire month of November as National Philanthropy Month.

So, with 15 days left, what should you do? Here are five easy ways to connect with your donors and thank them for the impact their giving has made.

1. Make a Call

Pull a list of your top donors, your most recent givers, or volunteers that you couldn’t have gotten through the year without. Set aside 10 minutes each day to call just one of them. Know each person’s affinity to your organization and be prepared to speak to it. And remember, this is a thank you call—don’t mix in making an ask.

2. Join Your Volunteers

Is your nonprofit hosting any volunteer events this month? Join in! Volunteers have made the choice to give you their time—a precious resource. Demonstrate your thanks by working alongside them. You’ll be able to strengthen existing relationships and build new ones by taking even just an hour out of your day.

3. Send a Card

A handwritten note can create such a memorable moment. Imagine going to your mailbox and getting an unexpected envelope. Maybe it’s a different size or shape than the rest of the pile, is a lovely yellow, bright pink or deep teal color, or has an unusual thickness that leaves you wondering—just what is this? It’s joy in your hand. And that’s before you open it.

A warm, heartfelt thank you note that demonstrates you know the donor and appreciate the opportunities their giving has provided cinches it: You’ve just made their day.

4. Share a Video

Videos don’t need to be overly produced to be effective. A short, simple video shot on your iPhone can often work better than a professional-looking video for creating an authentic connection with your audience.

Wheaton College created a thank you video with some chalk, a chalkboard and their students. United Against Human Trafficking had a similar idea, trading out the chalk for markers, paper and a handful of their staff for their video. Our staff got out their iPhones and sent in short clips for the video we sent to our clients during COVID when we couldn’t connect in person.

5. Send a Text

Maybe you waited a while to read this blog and now you only have a few days left in the month. A quick alternative to calling or mailing a thank you: send a text. You can send a group text message as individual threads for one-on-one personal outreach and to avoid giving out donors’ private contact information. There are also a variety of texting applications available for nonprofits, with several that are low-cost or free.

Make the most out of what’s left in November. Take time to connect and share joy and thanks with your donors.

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