If you really want to shake up how you give thanks this year, watch this.

As a fundraiser, you know it’s important to show appreciation and thank your donors. You know it’s nice to send them a hand-written thank you card or call to thank them personally. Donors fund your mission, after all. But what about everyone else who works to move your mission forward? And when you do thank these people, are you capitalizing on the opportunity to further your connection and gain insight? 

Here are ten ways to show appreciation for everyone in your ecosystem, and how you can leverage that interaction into takeaway insights for the future.  

1. Live video

Whether it’s on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, live videos are a great way to capture raw and authentic emotion. Post videos to thank specific people who helped make a big event happen. Thank donors who contributed to the new library. Share a video tour of the classroom that was outfitted with new iPads for the year. There’s room for creativity here, and these videos are free to record (using a phone or computer) and post. Analytically, you can watch the interactions and engagements on social media to connect with current constituents (tag them!) and attract new ones. 

show appreciation

2. Bricks, tiles, plaques

“Buy a brick” or “laying your legacy” are classic ways to collect donations and physically (and permanently) show appreciation for the individuals who keep a mission or institution alive. It’s also a nice way to encourage donors to come back – and visit their bricks! 

3. Social spotlights

Writing a social spotlight is quick and easy way to highlight a member of your staff, board, or volunteer base to everyone within the organization and its constituents. They’re free, informative, and can be used across multiple platforms (blogs, website, newsletter, etc.). Spotlights can be written to celebrate exceptional performance, introduce a new member, celebrate a work anniversary, or introduce one chapter to the national group. 

4. Giveaways 

Do you have unsold auction items? Did you receive a donated item/experience that you know your staff would love? Save it for them! Offer staff and volunteers the opportunity to enter their names and participate in giveaways. This way, donated items don’t go to waste, and you are able to take inventory of what your donors weren’t interested in for next year. 

5. Survey

We get it: a survey doesn’t quite sound like the gift of thanks. However, they’re very valuable to include in follow-up notes and emails. Asking a constituent to fill out a survey is actively seeking their personal input. It shows that you take their thoughts into consideration as you plan for the future of your organization, which makes them a valued part of your organization. 

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6. Plan an outing

If one evening cruise was donated for your auction, could you get a second? Use the second to thank volunteers who work hard all year round! Use the opportunity of bringing a group together to foster discussion around your mission, their tasks, how they feel about their commitment to your organization, and what drives them to volunteer. Prepare a few talking points in advance, but fun outings are a great way to generate honest conversations.  

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7. Company-wide volunteer day

Most nonprofit organizations have a need for volunteers. Is there an initiative that you can support by inviting all board members, staff, volunteers, and donors to participate? This is a great way to not only bring together all constituents to get to know each other but also to achieve a common goal.  

8. Potluck dinner or picnic

Hosting a potluck dinner – at your organization’s space, community space, someone’s home, the park –– is perfect for community building. Invite all constituents and staff and encourage them to bring a friend or two! This opens the door for potential new donors and volunteers who already feel connected to your mission through the friend they come with. Potluck meals are fun, casual, lowcost ways to expand your donor base and bring people together.  

You could even go as far as asking new guests if they would like to opt-in for more information about the organization. Collect their phone and email so you can add them to your listserv. 

9. Photos

Share photos! You can put them in cards, on social media, in collaborative albums, or create magnets with your organization’s logo and a photo from your event. Photos are of course a great way to keep memories, but they’re also great reminders of your organization and the event you threw. 

If you opt for a shared album on social media, make sure you know who the people are who are submitting photos. They’re obviously engaged with your organization, so keep them on your radar!  

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10. Just say it…thank you!

Last and certainly not least…SAY THANK YOU to people when you are with them! It sounds obvious but remember; showing appreciation and kindness will go further than any card or social media post ever will. <3  


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For more tips & tricks, check out an episode of one of our Jam Sessions.

Kelsey Woodworth