Give Thanks and Appreciation to Your Valued Donors and Volunteers

During this season of giving nonprofit organizations have a unique opportunity – and responsibility – to applaud the generosity we have been given throughout the past year and to celebrate the humanity that seems especially prominent during this holiday season.

We know that our donors and volunteers are an invaluable part of our work – but are they truly aware of the impact they make and of our gratitude for their generosity? This season, move beyond the standard form letters and cards that so often go unnoticed and thank them…for being them! The kind of folks who recognize a need and give to important causes.

Be innovative! Be passionate! Your goal is to make your supporters feel something wonderful!

Before you begin:

  1. Get excited! Turn on that holiday music and order up an espresso – your passion and enthusiasm will come through no matter the method of communication you choose.
  2. Remember – give your donors and volunteers credit – not you! Your supporters are the heroes; your goal is to tell them everything that they have made possible. Make them shine!

Here are a few of our favorite ideas to get you started:

Include your supporters in a custom-made video.

There are plenty of cost-effective video tools at your disposal: vSnap, GoPro or even your smartphone will do a great job. The idea is to include your donors and volunteers (and the clients you serve, if allowable) in this creative process – and will assuredly be something they remember (and share with other potential supporters!) for a long time to come.

Take a look at the following example from One Justice. Their message was delivered via handwritten posters held and read by actual supporters of the organization who were each asked to record the few moments of video and send it back to One Justice. Then, iMovie was used to put it all together and the completed project was shared with every supporter as a personal ‘thank you’! Oh, and the participants were not told the premise of the project, so they were also surprised to receive this personalized thank you ‘gift’!

View One Justice ‘You Did It! Thank You!’ video here.

Have agency employees donate their time doing something special during the season in honor of a specific donor, volunteer, or group.

  1. Do you have a supporter who has a loved one in a nursing home or a children’s hospital? Gather a group of employees and visit those individuals, performing some holiday carols and delivering some holiday cheer just for them!
  2. Does someone have a loved one serving in the military? If your agency serves children, have the children create handmade cards that can be sent to that service man or woman as well as others who are serving and unable to be with their families for the holidays.
  3. Ask employees to bake a dozen or two homemade treats and deliver them (along with a thank you note) to the local police, fire, or first responder’s station in the area in the name of your donor or volunteer.

What are some of your favorite ways to thank your donors and volunteers? Please share your ideas!

Using #GivingTuesday to Spread Your Message

#GivingTuesday is a day when people and organizations from all over the globe come together to give back. On the first Tuesday following Thanksgiving, people around the world will unite for one common purpose: to celebrate generosity and to give. For nonprofit agencies that want to spread the word about their mission and secure sustainable donors, this is an opportunity not to be missed.

Founded in 2012 by New York’s 92nd Street Y in partnership with the United Nations Foundation, #GivingTuesday has become a global movement that has engaged over 10,000 organizations worldwide. Free to all nonprofit agencies, #GivingTuesday will provide you with all of the resources you need to take advantage of this extraordinary day.

Here are some examples of how your nonprofit can benefit from participating in #GivingTuesday:

  • Launch a new fundraiser or giving platform with national/international press to expand and generate greater funds
  • Celebrate efforts and announce totals on #GivingTuesday
  • Send online and direct marketing communications to donor community to inspire early giving
  • Activate your social media constituency – or start one! – for a social media campaign
  • Get a matching grant or offer something new (a new video or photos) for donors
  • Create a volunteer day for giving back in your community

The possibilities truly are endless. For additional information, visit

How do you plan to participate in #GivingTuesday? Please share your ideas here.