How to Ask for Donations: A Nonprofit's Guide with Top Tips and Actionable Steps
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How to Ask for Donations: A Nonprofit’s Guide with Top Tips and Actionable Steps

Who to Ask for Donations

Asking Individuals for Donations

Your organization can ask individuals for donations.

Whether they donate ten dollars a month for a year or give $5,000 with one check, individual donors have the potential to be the best source of revenue for your nonprofit.

The important thing to remember, however, is that each donor is unique and must be treated as a person, not as a wallet. Aim to deepen your connection with them and help ensure that they continue giving down the road.

Asking Companies for Donations

Learn how to ask companies for donations to your organization.

Companies want to give their corporate philanthropy and corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives a boost. Your organization can be the beneficiary of that philanthropy if you reach out and ask!

Plus, these companies can be great partners for your organization in the future. You can leverage relationships with employees to build deeper partnerships with their employers.

Asking Foundations for Donations

Ask foundations for donations.

Foundations are nonprofit entities that award grants to help other nonprofits further their causes. They can stem from a company’s philanthropy or be family-run entities.

They can give grants to nonprofits with missions similar to theirs. Or, in other instances, nonprofits must apply for a grant and follow the foundation’s instructions for submission and use of funds.

Asking for Donations from Individuals

How Individuals Donate to Nonprofits

Online Donations

Check out Salsa's online donation software so your nonprofit can accept individual online donations.

Online giving has surged in popularity in the last few years, and it’s easy to see why!

Online giving, like crowdfunding makes it easy for donors to give instantly to their favorite nonprofits and causes. They don’t have to wait weeks or even months for an organization to receive and process a check.

Convenient giving is important to donors. They want to donate to nonprofits in a quick and efficient way. Thankfully, online giving tools give them the power to do just that!

Mobile Donations

See how BidPal's mobile donations software can help your organization accept more contributions.

Mobile donations are similar to online giving. The two actually go hand-in-hand!

A mobile donation is any contribution made with a smartphone, tablet, or cellphone. It includes text-to-give donations, QR code promotions, mobile-responsive donation pages, and more!

Mobile giving is still the new kid on the block, but it already has glowing reviews from the nonprofits who have implemented it alongside their other fundraising strategies.

Direct Mail Donations

Traditional fundraising methods, like direct mail, are still successful at helping nonprofits raise money.

But direct mail appeals don’t have to be sent out to each and every donor and prospect in your database. You would end up spending way too much money on postage, and not everyone is going to respond by mailing in a check anyway.

However, letters do lend a certain formality to a donation appeal, a factor that is important when making an ask for a sizable donation.

Phone Donations

See how you can accept donations from individuals through phone donations.

Giving your donors a call can be a great way to raise more money and develop stronger relationships.

Most people think of phonathons for this fundraising method, but you can call donors at any time! If you go the phonathon route, you’ll need well-trained volunteers and a carefully-crafted script for asking for donations.

Phone calls can help your donors connect more closely to your nonprofit. They help you explain your mission and cause to supporters while strengthening your donor relationships. Think about how much a personalized phone call can mean to a donor!

Types of Individual Donations

Planned Gifts

Check out how your organization can encourage more planned gifts.

Planned gifts are donations that are prepared in the present to be made in the future.

They are often left by individuals with strong ties to a nonprofit organization and are made via wills or bequests.

Sometimes, an organization knows that a donor is planning to leave them a donation. Other times, a nonprofit has no idea that a supporter is leaving a planned gift. Either way, planned gifts are often the largest contributions that an organization will ever receive.

Major Gifts

Ask for donations through major gifts.

Major gifts are large contributions that loyal donors make to nonprofit organizations.

Major gifts can be different amounts for different nonprofits. Some may count six-figure donations as major while others might count anything above $5,000 as a major gift.

While the definition of a major gift varies, the fact is that major donations are a big deal for organizations of any size. Individuals don’t give major gifts on a regular basis, so nonprofits should use these contributions wisely.

Event Donations

Ask for donations for your nonprofit through event donations.

Event donations are contributions that individuals make during or before a fundraising event.

These kinds of donations can be made online before the event or through another giving method during the event.

If you’re hosting an event soon, make sure you ask your attendees for donations at some point in the night. It’s not a fundraising event if you’re not raising money!

Annual Campaign Donations

Your organization can capitalize on annual campaign donations.

Annual campaign donations are contributions that individuals make to a nonprofit’s annual fund.

They can be made through any giving avenue, and they usually go toward an organization’s yearly operational expenses.

An annual campaign donation helps a nonprofit keep the lights on, so to speak. These kinds of contributions pay for equipment, resources, utilities, and more so your organization can ultimately further your cause.

The Benefits of Individual Giving

How Individuals Benefit by Giving to Nonprofits

  • 1. Philanthropic Motivations

    Many individuals donate to nonprofits simply out of the goodness of their hearts. They enjoy giving to organizations that champion the causes that they care deeply about.

    The desire to help other people, communities, animals, or the environment is a huge driving force behind individual giving, and is one of the benefits for individuals who want to give to nonprofits.

  • 2. Tax Incentives

    Individual donations don’t only benefit the organizations helping to further the causes they care about, but there’s also a tax incentive attached to donating charitably.

    The higher an individual’s tax bracket, the greater the charitable gift tax deduction is. But that doesn’t mean that individuals in lower tax brackets still don’t enjoy tax benefits from giving to nonprofits.

  • 3. Feelings of Satisfaction

    When someone gives to a charitable organization or cause, they often feel a sense of personal satisfaction or pride. This psychological response is another benefit of donating.

    While it’s obviously not the main reason that most people give to charity, the sense of gratification that individuals feel after donating to a nonprofit is an intangible benefit from supporting charitable work.

How Nonprofits Benefit from Individual Donations

  • 1. Significant Donations

    Nearly two-thirds of all charitable giving is made up of individuals’ donations. People who give to nonprofits are the greatest source of revenue for those organizations.

    Whether they’re mailing in checks or donating via text message, individuals are the biggest supporters of the work that nonprofit organizations do.

  • 2. Abundant Connections

    Every donor has a network of friends and family members who could all become potential donors. When more people donate, nonprofits can draw upon those connections.

    If a nonprofit is able to find connections between their donors and other prospects, they can grow their donor base and raise more money in the long run.

  • 3. Variety of Revenue

    Individuals can give in a variety of ways. Not only can they show their support with their donations, but they also volunteer their time and can sometimes offer in-kind donations.

    Because individual donors have so many different donation avenues at their disposal, nonprofit organizations benefit in more ways than one!

How to Ask for Donations from Individuals: A Free Template

Here's a template for nonprofits to use when asking individuals for donations.

Date

Your Name
Your Organization’s Name
Street
City, State ZIP

Dear [Donor’s Name],

My name is [your name] and I am [describe your position/situation/background]. I am looking to raise [amount of money] to help pay for [project/expense/cause/etc.].

[Include information about why the cause or project is important to you and how it could potentially impact the reader or those you serve.]

Just a small donation of [amount] can help me [accomplish task/reach a goal/etc.].

Your donation will go toward [describe exactly what the contribution will be used for].

[When possible, add a personal connection to tie the donor to the cause.]

Thank you in advance for your contribution. You have no idea how much it means to me to have your support.

Here are the ways you can make a donation:

  • Make a donation online at [URL of your crowdfunding campaign].
  • Send a check in the pre-stamped envelope I’ve included (no cash, please).
  • Come to my fundraising event on [date] at [location] [when applicable]

Thank you again!

Sincerely,

[Your signature]
[Your typed name]

Tips for Your Individual Ask

  • Address the Appeal

    Include your donor’s name in the fundraising appeal to add a personal touch.

  • Get to the Point

    Your letter shouldn’t be more than a page and you should get to your ask within the first two paragraphs.

  • Be Specific

    Tell your donors exactly where their donations will go to help them visualize how much their support helps.

  • Give Options

    Provide your donors with multiple ways to donate so they can select their preferred method.

Asking for Donations from Companies

How Companies Donate to Nonprofits

Matching Gifts

Companies donate to nonprofits through matching gifts.

Matching gifts are a type of corporate giving program that essentially double an individual donors’ contribution to an eligible nonprofit.

After an individual makes a donation, they must fill out a matching gift request form and submit it to their employer’s HR department.

If the nonprofit and donation are eligible, the company will write a check for the same amount to the nonprofit.

Volunteer Grants

Individual and team volunteer grants are corporate giving programs that monetarily reward the time that volunteers spend at a nonprofit.

Once volunteers have reached a certain minimum number of volunteer hours, they can submit a request for a volunteer grant to their employers.

Volunteer grants are usually distributed on a per-hour basis and increase the longer a supporter volunteers.

Corporate Grants

Corporate grants allow companies to donate to nonprofits.

Corporate grants are lump sums of money that a company or corporate foundation will issue to a nonprofit on an annual or semi-annual basis.

Sometimes, a company or corporate foundation will select a nonprofit internally. Other times, nonprofits can apply for a grant and a corporate committee will choose the recipient.

In-Kind Donations

Companies give in-kind donations to nonprofits.

In-kind donations are contributions of products or services that companies and businesses will give to a nonprofit in lieu of a cash contribution.

In-kind donations are often related to the business that is giving them. For instance, an accounting firm might offer free or discounted tax services to a nonprofit during tax season.

The Benefits of Corporate Giving

How Companies Benefit by Giving to Nonprofits

  • 1. Better Public Image

    Companies that donate regularly to nonprofits, either through corporate giving programs or via other corporate philanthropy initiatives, enjoy a better public image than those who do not.

    Additionally, consumers tend to be more willing to buy from companies that give to charitable causes, which, in the long run, boosts a company’s profits.

  • 2. Increased Employee Engagement

    Employees who work for charitably-minded companies are more engaged, productive, and creative than those who work for companies with little or no philanthropic endeavors.

    If businesses want happier, more engaged employees, then they should consider donating to nonprofits.

  • 3. Tax Deductions

    Just like individuals receive a tax benefit for giving to nonprofits, companies that donate to organizations can write off some or all of those donations on their taxes (depending on circumstances).

    The tax benefits for organizations can be complicated, but they can be well worth the hassle if done correctly.

How Nonprofits Benefit from Corporate Donations

  • 1. Varied In-Kind Donations

    Sometimes, nonprofits don’t just need cash or volunteer time. They might need office space while their current office is in renovations, for example.

    In these cases, corporate in-kind donations are a huge benefit. Contributions of products or services can save nonprofits a lot of money in the long run.

  • 2. Stronger Corporate Partnerships

    Corporate partnerships, especially with large companies, can help nonprofits spread the word to more people than they previously could.

    Corporate partnerships, if well-founded, can provide nonprofits with donations and volunteer power for years. 

  • 3. Large Donation Amounts

    Corporate grants can often be large sums of money that nonprofits could only ever hope to receive. If a nonprofit receives this grant on a yearly basis, they have guaranteed future revenue from that company.

    The sheer amount of corporate giving dollars that are out there are great benefits for nonprofits. 

How to Ask for Donations from Corporations: A Free Template

Here's a template for nonprofits to use when asking corporations for donations.

Date

Your Name
Your Organization’s Name
Street
City, State ZIP

Dear [Name],
As a leader at your company/small business owner/CSR manager, you understand the need for [solutions to a problem that your nonprofit is trying to solve].

Our organization, [insert name of nonprofit], is actively trying to create a solution.

But our efforts to [your org.’s mission / cause] won’t reach their maximum effectiveness unless we have the backing of the entire community.

That’s why I’m writing to you!

We’re looking to [host an event, reach a fundraising goal, etc.], and we would appreciate it if could donate [amount or in-kind donation].

I’d love to sit down with you to discuss this further. You can reach me directly at [phone number] or [email address].

I look forward to hearing from you soon. Thank you in advance for your generosity and support!

Sincerely,

[Your signature]
[Your typed name]

P.S. [End with an update about an upcoming event, volunteer opportunity, or other way to engage]

Tips for Your Corporate Ask

  • Address the Appeal

    Include the corporation’s and the CSR contact’s names in the appeal to show that you’re personalizing the letter.

  • Bring in Emotion

    Adding in a story is a great tactic to give the ask gravitas and to connect better with the reader.

  • State Your Cause

    Tell corporations what you’re raising money for; they need specifics.

  • Provide Ways to Engage

    Always give an option beyond donating to ensure you have multiple ways to start the partnership.

Asking for Donations from Foundations

How Foundations Donate to Nonprofits

Foundation Grants

Check out how foundations can give to nonprofits through foundation grants.

Foundation grants are (often large) sums of money that are distributed by community, private, or family foundations.

Sometimes, nonprofits must apply for these grants on an annual basis. Other times a foundation will select an organization to be the recipient of the grant each year.

Challenge Grants

Challenge grants are a great way for foundations to give to nonprofits.

Challenge grants are awarded by a foundation to a nonprofit organization after a certain challenge has been accomplished (i.e., $10,000 raised in 6 months).

Usually, the challenge in question is of a fiscal nature and requires the organization to raise an amount of money by a designated deadline.

The Benefits of Foundation Giving

How Foundations Benefit by Giving to Nonprofits

  • 1. Support Charitable Endeavors

    Foundations are nonprofit entities with their own set of philanthropic goals and purposes.

    By distributing grants to nonprofits, they are able to demonstrate their support for the causes they care about.

  • 2. Promote Causes

    Whenever a foundation donates a large sum, there’s a buzz surrounding the grant.

    This puts the foundation in the spotlight and allows them to promote their causes to the general public.

How Nonprofits Benefit from Foundation Donations

  • 1. Sizable Grant Amounts

    Nonprofits who receive foundation grants and challenge grants grants are often able to fund their most extensive projects.

    However, it’s important to remember that many foundations don’t distribute grants to organizations unless they are already receiving a lot of individual and corporate donations. 

  • 2. Stricter Spending Guidelines

    Having strict guidelines can be extremely helpful for grant-making organizations to determine their rules.

    This means that a nonprofit must spend the grant in a way that falls in line with the prescribed guidelines that the foundation makes. It creates a sense of accountability for nonprofits.

How to Ask for Donations from Foundations: A Free Template

Here's a template for nonprofits to use when asking foundations for donations.

Date

Your Name
Your Organization’s Name
Street
City, State ZIP

Dear [Foundation Employee],

My name is [your name], and I am [describe your position/situation/background]. I am looking to raise [amount of money to help fund [project/expense/cause/etc.].

[Include information about why the cause or project is important to you and how it could potentially impact the community and the goals of the foundation].

I’m writing to ask you to support our efforts through [name specific grant or funding you’re applying for].

Attached you’ll find our application and all necessary documentation, per [name of the foundation]’s instructions.

Your donation will go toward [describe exactly what the contribution will be used for].

If you would like to speak further about [cause/project/proposal/event/etc.], feel free to reach out to me at [phone number] or [email address]. I’d love to answer any questions you have and give you more information.

Thank you in advance for your consideration.

Sincerely,

[Your signature]
[Your typed name]

Tips for Your Foundation Ask

  • Address the Appeal

    Include the foundation’s name in the fundraising appeal, so they know you’ve tailored this letter to them.

  • Follow Instructions

    Foundations have specific submission guidelines that they expect you to follow.

  • Mention Your Project

    Briefly explain exactly why you’re applying for a foundation grant.

  • Give Contact Information

    Include relevant contact info so the foundation can get in touch.

How to Ask for Donations

How to Ask for Donations Via Email

When to Use Emails

Emails are best suited for mass communication on a monthly or even weekly basis.

They can be sent to any supporter, but they shouldn’t be used to ask for major gifts or as substitutes for direct mail appeals to donors who contribute at a higher giving levels or who have been loyal supporters.

Emails are one of the most cost-effective ways to raise money, but they’re only worth it if you write great emails that make people want to give!

Resources Needed

#1: Obviously, you’ll need a list of your donors’ email addresses if you want to start sending out email appeals.

#2: Next, you’ll want to make sure you segment your donors out into the appropriate groups. You wouldn’t want to send the same email to a loyal supporter that you would send to a brand new donor.

#3: Then, write a great email! It should include at least two (but no more than five) calls-to-action or links to your donation page.

How to Ask for Donations with Direct Mail

When to Use Direct Mail

Appeal letters don’t have to be sent out to each and every donor and prospect in your database. Instead, use your appeal letters as a way to reach out to major gift donors, loyal supporters, and businesses.

Direct mail appeals lend a certain formality to a donation ask, a factor that is important when making an ask for a sizable donation from an individual or a business.

Letters can also be a great way to talk up your nonprofit and lay out the projects you need help funding. Direct mail can be used to outline specific donation requests.

Resources Needed

#1: You’ll need a list of donors you can count on to respond to your direct mail appeals. Many donors prefer the convenience of giving online, and you don’t want to spend money on an appeal that won’t be favorably accepted.

#2: Then, you’ll want to decide on what kind of direct mail appeal you’re going to send. You can go the traditional letter route, but you can also send cards, pamphlets, or postcards. The choice is yours!

#3: Don’t forget the self-addressed envelope! If you want donors to give via direct mail, then you have to include a way for them to send in a check to your nonprofit.

How to Ask for Donations with Social Media

When to Use Social Media

Asking for donations on social media is a more casual version of asking for donations via email. It’s a type of mass communication that you can use on a pretty regular basis.

Having said that, you shouldn’t expect to receive any major gifts just because you made a few donation appeals on Twitter. Using social media as a fundraising tool is almost more about spreading the word about your cause.

The best possible scenario is using social media to inform followers about your nonprofit and direct them to your online donation page, where they can make a contribution. But even if they don’t give, you’ve at least put your organization’s mission on their newsfeeds.

Resources Needed

#1: First, you’ll need to find a social media platform that works for you and your donors. If all of your supporters use Facebook but all of your efforts are focused on Instagram, you’re missing the point.

#2: Then, promote your online donation page on the platform. In each post, provide followers with a link to your donation form and explain why you’re asking for contributions. You can even post pictures and videos!

#3: If you can, set up a donation page on Facebook. Some online donation page providers have options for their nonprofit customers to place a version of the donation form within a tab on Facebook. That way, donors can give via Facebook without ever leaving the site.

How to Ask for Donations In Person

When to Use In-Person Meetings

Face-to-face appeals tend to be used for major gift donors, but they can also be utilized for corporate donation requests. In fact, any sizable donation request should officially take place in-person (even though you can communicate in other ways prior to the meeting).

In-person meetings allow your nonprofit to properly lay out how you plan to use the donation in question. They’re your fundraiser’s chance to hype up your organization and the project or campaign that needs funding.

In-person meetings are also perfect for answering any questions that your prospect might have. Few people are going to hand over a lot of money without asking at least a couple of questions first!

Resources Needed

#1: In-person donation appeals are usually reserved for major gift solicitation, so there will necessarily be a lot of preparation that goes into your face-to-face asks. Make sure that you fully research your prospect and prepare for the meeting.

#2: You’ll want to go into the meeting with a general script, notes, and an ask amount. This number shouldn’t be too high (you don’t want to insult a donor!) nor should it be too low (you don’t want to leave money on the table!).

#3: Additionally, you’ll want to be prepared for any answer other than an enthusiastic, “Yes!” You might need to adjust course and ask for a lower amount or offer another type of giving opportunity.

How to Ask for Donations Over the Phone

When to Use Phone Calls

Using phone calls to ask for donations is a tried and true fundraising tactic. You can host a phonathon at any point in the year, and you never really need a reason to call up a few of your supporters.

Of course, there are optimal times for making a fundraising call. A phone conversation can be a good way to explain to a donor exactly what it is that you’re going to do with their contribution. It’s also a great opportunity to talk up your organization and the specific campaign you’re running.

Phone calls are also ideal for getting in touch with donors who don’t live in your nonprofit’s immediate vicinity. You can easily call up a donor across the country for a chat.

Resources Needed

#1: You’ll first need to determine how you’re going to use phone calls to ask for donations. Will it be on a case-by-case basis? Or will you try hosting a phonathon? Either option is a great fundraising avenue!

#2: Next, you’re going to need to develop a script. If you’re conducting a phonathon, your volunteer callers will need something to go off when they call prospective donors. Even if you’re just calling high-quality gift donors to ask for a donation, you’ll need some notes to stay on track.

#3: If you’re hosting a phonathon, you’ll also need great phonathon donation software. You won’t be able to quickly and safely accept donations without this crucial resource.

How to Ask for Donations Online

When to Use Online Donation Tools

Fundraising online is the easiest, most cost-effective, and most efficient way to raise money from anyone who has an internet connection. If an organization isn’t making use of the many online donation tools out there, it’s missing out!

It’s important to remember that most online donations will be small (at least at first). Many people are skeptical about online giving, and they feel more comfortable making large donations via check. Your nonprofit can still reap the benefits of online fundraising by marketing your online donation form to all of your donors.

Online donation forms have become universal giving tools, and they’re not going anywhere any time soon.

Resources Needed

#1: If you have the resources, you can build an online donation page yourself, but it’s probably more cost-effective to enlist the services of an online fundraising company.

#2: Then, you’ll need to actively promote your donation form. Donors won’t know about it unless you tell them! Put a large “Donate Now” button on your website and include the link to your page in all of your communications.

#3: You should also ensure that your donation page works on mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. Many donors give with these devices and you don’t want to hinder their giving process with a malfunctioning donation page.

When to Ask for Donations

Ask for donations during peak giving times.

Peak Giving Times

People like to give for various reasons and at different times of the year. Your nonprofit can take advantage of these peak giving times by scheduling your donation appeals during them.

The end of the year has proven to be a busy time of year for giving. Whether it’s the general holiday spirit or the fact that donors have a better grasp of their finances by the year’s end, people tend to give more in November and December than any other months!

Based on these trends, it would be wise for your organization to ramp up your donation asks during the end of the calendar year.

Don’t forsake the rest of the year, though! Just remember when those peak giving times are and plan accordingly.

Ask for donations on #GivingTuesday.

#GivingTuesday

The Tuesday after Thanksgiving, now known as #GivingTuesday, is a popular time for donors to give to their favorite charities and organizations.

Many people participate in the rampant consumerism of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The creators of #GivingTuesday wanted to make sure that people were also inspired to give back a little during the holiday season. Thus, #GivingTuesday was born!

Make the most of #GivingTuesday by promoting your nonprofit’s mission, and encouraging donors to give.

Include #GivingTuesday information in your correspondence throughout November so that donors are well aware of the day of giving. You can even feature your #GivingTuesday supporters on social media and thank them for their participation.

Days of giving like #GivingTuesday are big days for nonprofits who have been asking for donations. Make sure your organization is prepared!

Ask for donations during events.

During Events

One of the best times to ask for donations from individuals is when they’re all together and excited about supporting your organization.

Whether this takes place at a gala, walk-a-thon, or other type of fundraising event, donation appeals during fundraisers can be a great opportunity to demonstrate what your organization has accomplished and what it hopes to achieve in the future.

Instead of just asking supporters for money that will go toward the general or annual fund, let donors and volunteers know exactly what their money and time are going toward.

If you have plans to raise a certain amount of money in a particular time frame, tell event attendees about that goal and ask them to help you reach it.

Events are the perfect place to let donors know how their funds help your organization and remind them of why they should continue supporting your nonprofit’s cause.

Ask for donations before matching gift submission deadlines.

Matching Gift Submission Deadlines

Companies that offer matching gift and volunteer grant programs often have deadlines for employees to submit requests. Whether that deadline is three months or a whole year after the initial donation is made, your nonprofit has a certain amount of time to promote matching gifts and volunteer grants.

Immediately after a donor makes a contribution or volunteers their time with your organization, send them a thank-you email or letter to let them know you appreciate their support.

Within this acknowledgement, make sure that you also mention matching gifts and volunteer grants. If the acknowledgement comes in the form of an email, provide recipients with a link to more information or a tool (like Double the Donation’s!) to see if their employers offer such programs.

Promoting matching gifts and volunteer grants at the right times will encourage donors to submit those requests to their employers sooner rather than later.

After Asking for Donations

The Importance of Acknowledgements

Someone once said that, “Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.”

Your nonprofit’s first step to developing a better relationship with your supporters is to say thank you as soon as they’ve made a donation or volunteered their time.

Additionally, before you make another donation appeal, make sure that you mention the donor’s previous involvement with your organization and thank them for their continued support.

Saying thank you to donors and volunteers after they have donated their money or time is a great first step in developing a deeper connection with those supporters.

Your nonprofit’s first step to developing a better relationship with your supporters is to say thank you as soon as they’ve made a donation or volunteered their time.

Types of Donor Acknowledgements

  • Donor Thank-You Letters

    Donor thank-you letters are the most traditional form of acknowledgements. They are usually sent to donors who have given via mailed-in check or who have given a substantial (but not necessarily “major”) gift.

    They can be sent to any donor, however. In fact, you can send different types of direct mail acknowledgements to donors.

    A donor that gives $250 might receive a more detailed letter while a $10 contribution might warrant a thank-you postcard.

    The type of direct mail acknowledgement you send out will likely depend on the amount of the donation and the relationship your organization has with that particular donor.

  • Acknowledgement Emails

    Sending out emails is one of the most cost-effective acknowledgement strategies out there.

    Emails should be sent to donors as soon as an online donation or a text donation is made. This immediate response not only shows that your nonprofit is appreciative of that donor’s contribution, but it also serves as a confirmation that their donation was received. 

    You can also include matching gift information and links to more details within your emails to encourage donors to look into having their donation doubled by their employer.

  • Social Media Shout-Outs

    Not all of your donors will have social media accounts, but many of them will be on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or all three!

    If that’s the case, you can use one of those platforms to put the spotlight on some of your supporters.

    Of course, you don’t want to post any personal information or even a donation amount, but you can highlight what a donor’s contribution will help your organization do.

    For example, you could say something like, “Thanks to Tom’s generous donation, we’ll be able to build 3 more doghouses for our rescue puppies!”

  • Phone Calls

    Some donors deserve an extra-special thank-you. And while you won’t be able to call every single supporter, you can use phone calls to personally thank donors who go the extra mile or donate a substantial sum.

    Call and thank donors who give a significant amount or have faithfully supported your organization.

    You can have anyone in your office make the call, but it should be someone in a leadership position, like a board member.

    Thanking donors by phone can be a great way to tell them exactly how much you appreciate their contributions. It’s also a good opportunity to explain what their money will go toward.

  • In-Person Acknowledgements

    Major gift donors and loyal supporters deserve recognition beyond a simple thank-you.

    For donors that have faithfully given to your nonprofit over the years or who have recently donated a large sum, an in-person acknowledgement is sometimes the best way to go. You can either host a major gift donor banquet or simply sit down and thank one donor.

    However you choose to thank your biggest supporters, make sure that the person doing the thanking is in a leadership role or has been a board member for some time.

  • Newsletter Spotlights

    If your nonprofit sends out email or direct mail newsletters to your supporters, you can highlight a new donor each month.

    Again, you won’t want to include any personal info or donation amounts, but you can still say thanks!

    You can even ask your “donor of the month” for a headshot to include in the newsletter. This will not only thank the supporter, but it will also encourage others to give.

    When people see that others are giving to your nonprofit organization, they will be more willing to make a donation sooner rather than later.

Keep This In Mind

Each of these acknowledgement strategies can (and should!) be used in conjunction with one another.

For example, a social media shout-out should never take the place of an emailed acknowledgement, but it can be used to show even more appreciation for your donors’ contributions.

Additionally, your nonprofit must send out donation receipts for any single contribution that is greater than $250. This means that you can’t simply call a donor and hope that your bases are covered. A written acknowledgement must be provided for donations greater than $250.

Stay in Touch After You’ve Asked for Donations

Staying in touch with your supporters should be a no-brainer, but just in case you need some suggestions, here are a few:

  • Keep individuals updated on projects that their donations helped fund.
  • Remind donors of events and fundraisers that they might be interested in.
  • Post on your social media accounts.
  • Send regular emails that aren’t donation appeals.
  • And more!

Think of donors as your friends. You wouldn’t have strong friendships if you never spoke to people.

Remember that donors and volunteers are people, not wallets. They are worth more than the money and time that they give to your organization.

Remember that donors and volunteers are people, not wallets. They are worth more than the money and time that they give to your organization.

Additional Fundraising Resources

Guide to Fundraising

Guide to fundraising

Double the Donation’s ultimate guide to nonprofit fundraising can help your nonprofit raise more money, acquire more donors, and retain your current supporters!

Types of Fundraising Software

Types of fundraising software

You’ll need fundraising software to help your nonprofit on its fundraising journey. Check out Fundly’s list of the different types of fundraising software that you might need.

Tips for Fundraising

How to ask for donations

Want more advice about asking for donations? Fundly has put together a great resource for people who are trying to raise money for project, events, or causes.

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