Here are 20 ways to say thank you to donors and other people who support and help your nonprofit organization. Which one will you put on your to-do list today?


  1. The Classic Approach: Send a personal note or letter
  2. Formal, but Still Quick: Have formal acknowledgment cards made with your organization’s name and a thank you written on them. Personalize each with a date, how the funds will be used, and your signature.
  3. Say Cheese: Send a photograph with a note.
  4. Casual and Quick: Send a photograph with a Post-Its ® note
  5. Updated Classic: Send an email
  6. Picture Perfect: Include pictures with an email
  7. Read All About It: Send a copy of a recent newspaper clipping, with a note
  8. Hear It From Fellow Volunteer: Ask a board member or other volunteer to call
  9. My Treat: Invite them for lunch or coffee or to join you for a community event
  10. Two Birds, One Stone: When you issue the above invitation, use it as another opportunity to say thank you
  11. In Your Honor: Make them a special guest of honor at a large event or a committee meeting. Honor them with a corsage and short presentation
  12. Your Special Day: Create a special recognition day in their honor, perhaps on their birthday or, better yet, half-birthday
  13. Thanks My Way: Call for advice on how they would like to be thanked. Offer several suggestions. Follow-up.
  14. Memories to Share: Create a scrapbook
  15. Pass It On: Share letters from your customers, copies of a straight-A report card, or other results
  16. An Oldie But Goodie: Publish their name in a list in an annual report
  17. Oaks from Acorns: Don’t overlook small public acknowledgments, i.e., special name tags, public affirmation, and handing out $100,000 Grand® Candy Bar to stars
  18. Just Sharing: Use any of the above with a quote from a customer about how the gift helped them
  19. What Else: Share serendipities and related good news, i.e., did someone match their gift?
  20. Terrific Specific: “Thank you” is important, but “thank you for helping to support Susie’s progress” shines.

Other Thank YouTips

  • Don’t Let the Sun Go Down: Write soon when your gratitude is strongest. Notes are easy to write in 24 hours but dreadful after 30 days.
  • Done in Five: Carry notes, envelopes, and stamps so you can write a note anywhere.
  • Invest for Ease: Purchase tools to make saying thank you easier. Consider ordering preprinted Post-Its ® that list your name and the name of your organization, formal acknowledgment cards, and obtaining multiple copies of endearing photographs.


  • Someone to Remember: Often, it’s against the rules to contact grant panel members to lobby for your applications. However, the rules don’t preclude you’re thanking them after the fact for their time and consideration.

And now my thank you to my many workshop participants who shared variations of or stimulated these ideas.

For other articles on leading nonprofit organizations, see:

Why and How to Design Meeting Openers

How to Develop Successful Events

Ready or Not, Time Management Tool

10 Time Management Tips for Elephant Size Projects

For more answers, check out this Nonprofit  CEO Library.

For solutions delivered to your inbox sign up for Karen’s CEO Solutions.


If you appreciate these Added Value posts, please consider subscribing.

By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Karen Eber Davis Consulting. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact

Latest Posts