Whether you’re raising funds to send some kids in the community to camp or add a new wing to your building, you need donors.
In the midst of fundraising, it’s important to remember that a time will come when you’re going to be looking for donors again. So if you want to be able to reach out to some of the same contributors in the future, go out of your way to show your appreciation today.
Here are six ways to recognize people’s donations:
1. Publicly thank them
One of the best ways to thank people for giving is to identify them publicly. This kind of recognition not only tells the donors that their offering is valued, but it also communicates to all potential donors in earshot that the sacrificial giving of others means something to you.
You can acknowledge them from the pulpit, at groundbreaking ceremonies, banquets, or anywhere else people are gathered to celebrate what’s been accomplished through giving.
2. Reward them with a meal
Celebration and food go together like leather and Bibles. There’s something special about breaking bread with someone you wish to thank.
You can do this with a large banquet (where you also publicly thank contributors), or you can do it with one-on-one meals. The more focused facetime you can spend with donors, the better.
3. Create lasting memorials
Find ways to recognize donors with a permanent commemoration. This could be a plaque, a sign, or anything that will show enduring appreciation.
Churches have done this for a long time. I worked with a congregation that had a plaque on almost every appliance in the church kitchen, memorializing the person who donated it. Everything from the fridge to the oven had a plaque that bore the name of some saint who had sacrificed the money so the church could have a tool.
If you’re putting an addition on your church, you can put personalized bricks in the walkway or in the building itself. Brainstorm ways that you can personalize what’s being donated.
4. Send a handwritten letter or card
Handwritten correspondence is so rare that it’s become incredibly meaningful again. A thank-you letter written by hand really shows how much you appreciate the donation.
Make sure you send it within a couple of days of receiving the donation or else it comes across as less sincere.
5. Send a thank-you card on the anniversary of the donation
On top of the first handwritten card, set a reminder to send a follow-up card in a year. This will catch them completely off guard and make them feel valued all over again.
In the anniversary card, let them know how their donation has served you over time and how much it has meant to your church or organization.
6. Put a contributor section on your website
It’s easy to add a page on your site where you acknowledge donors. You can even put a slider on the front page that calls out your biggest contributors.
Maintaining the Relationship
Anything you intend to do in the future will be funded by new or existing donors. It’s critical that you maintain a strong relationship with people who have already given to you. Thanking them properly is a step in the right direction.