Engaging with supporters is an essential part of nonprofit fundraising. And your strategy should not be solely focused on donation appeals and other financial requests. Instead, communications should incorporate a wide range of outreach to build stronger relationships with donors.
With that in mind, we’d like to focus here on post-donation messaging. And we’ve compiled a list of targeted communications that your organization can send following an individual gift.
- Thank-you messages
- Donation receipts
- Matching gift information
- Donation impact overviews
- Monthly giving opportunities
Keep in mind as you develop and finetune your overall strategy that your outreach efforts should be as personalized and relevant as possible. This will be the most impactful as you begin stewarding donors, ensuring an optimal supporter journey alongside your organization and its mission.
1. Thank-you messages
First and foremost, you want to say thank you after every donation you receive. This can be an automated email, so long as you ensure that messaging is personalized and targeted for the best results.
After all, effectively thanking your supporters is the key to donor retention. And not being acknowledged is one of the main reasons why donors opt not to contribute to an organization again.
Example: Thank-you message
Subject line: Thank you for giving!
Dear [donor name],
We have received your recent donation of $[gift amount] to our [specific campaign or designation] and wanted to take the time to thank you. On behalf of the team at [organization] and our overall community, we are so grateful for your generous support of our mission.
Thanks to contributors like yourself, our organization is able to [summary of mission overview]. Specifically, donor funding empowers our team to [recent project or goal], [recent project or goal], and [recent project or goal].
Your support is making a great difference, and we truly can’t thank you enough.
2. Donation receipts
One of the most important donation follow-ups you can send is a donation receipt. Not only does this type of record enable donors to claim taxable income deductions, but in many cases, providing one is also required by the charitable organization in question.
Here are the conditions put forth by the IRS for charitable donation receipts. A gift receipt must contain:
- Name of the organization;
- Amount of cash contribution or description (but not value) of non-cash contribution;
- A statement that no goods or services were provided by the organization if that is the case;
- Description and good faith estimate of the value of goods or services, if any, that organization provided in return for the contribution;
To make this easy for fundraising organizations, many online donation platforms offer some sort of automated receipting tool.
Example: Donation receipt
Subject line: Here is your tax-deductible gift receipt.
To [donor name],
Thank you again for supporting [organization] with your recent donation. Generous donors like you enable our team to continue driving forward our mission.
Attached is a copy of your tax-deductible donation receipt.
Nonprofit Mailing Address:
Please note that [organization] is a 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization. Your donation is tax-deductible within the guidelines of U.S. law. To claim a donation as a deduction on your U.S. taxes, please keep this donation receipt as your official record.
No goods or services were provided in return for this contribution.
3. Matching gift information
Tens of thousands of businesses offer generous matching gift programs. Those that do essentially agree to match donations made by their employees to qualifying charitable causes. However, tons of eligible donors (approximately 78% of 26+ million individuals) have no idea that their companies established these initiatives.
Many nonprofits are looking to ramp up their matching gift promotional efforts to drive more potential matches to completion. And post-donation follow-ups have seen significant success in this realm.
According to an analysis of corporate giving research from Double the Donation, matching gift emails sent within 24 hours of an initial donation result in a 53% open rate—which is approximately 2-3 times higher than the average nonprofit email open rate. When you provide access to critical information and next steps, donors are more likely to follow through on their end of the process, ultimately resulting in elevated match funding.
And if the first follow-up doesn’t drive the match to completion, we recommend triggering multiple matching gift outreach messages in the days and weeks after an initial donation. This practice empowers teams to maximize participation in the programs.
Example: Matching gift information
Subject line: Your employer matches gifts!
[Donor name], did you know your employer, [company], matches charitable donations to nonprofits like ours? This allows you to double (or sometimes even triple) your donation impact without spending another dime.
Our records indicate that your recent donation of $[donation amount] on [transaction date] is eligible for a match from your employer.
Interested? Follow the instructions listed here [link to online submission form] to request your match. The process is typically quick and easy and can be completed in just a few minutes.
Then, let us know that you’ve completed the submission process. Not eligible for a matching gift? We’d like to know that too!
Feel free to reach out with any questions you may have.
Thank you in advance,
4. Donation impact overviews
The majority of your donors are likely giving because they care about your organization and its mission. That said, communicating about donation impact can make a huge difference for nonprofits and their supporters. For instance, this guide to relationship-driven fundraising programs suggests that organizations put donors—and their nonprofit impact—first.
When donors have a solid understanding of where their hard-earned dollars are going and who their contributions are affecting, they tend to feel more deeply connected to the cause. And that can keep them supporting your efforts for years to come.
Example: Donation impact overview
Subject line: Here’s how your donation helps
[Donor name], your recent gift makes a big difference.
Our records show that you contributed $[donation amount] to our recent fundraising campaign. Your donation allowed us to reach our campaign goal of $[fundraising goal]. For this, we thank you.
But beyond that, your generous donation is playing a huge role in bringing our [organization] that much closer to our overall objective: [summary of nonprofit mission].
Your gift directly empowers our team to [specific task or project related to nonprofit mission], [specific task or project related to nonprofit mission], and [specific task or project related to nonprofit mission]. And [core audience of nonprofit programming] is grateful for your support as well.
Follow us on social media to receive ongoing updates on [organization]’s work—and how your support helps.
5. Monthly giving opportunities
Recurring monthly donations are an extremely valuable funding source for nonprofit causes. These regularly scheduled gifts can help ease the ebbs and flows of charitable giving throughout the year. And many of your donors would be glad to get involved in the opportunities—perhaps they’ve just never been asked.
Take this opportunity, post-donation, to encourage supporters to join a monthly sustainer program.
Subject line: Amplify your impact with monthly giving!
Dear [donor name],
We appreciate your continued support of [organization] and [primary audience the nonprofit supports]. Today, we are reaching out to see if you would be interested in joining our monthly giving program to stretch your impact even further.
Monthly sustainers empower our team to maintain and expand our work in the community without having to worry about where the next donation will come from. For just $[suggested donation amount] a month, you can help drive our mission forward on an ongoing basis.
If you’d like to join, click here [link to recurring donation form] to sign up.
As always, feel free to reach out with any questions you may have. We’d love to help however we can!
Incorporating smart donor outreach after they make their contributions is essential for maintaining impactful supporter relations and stewardship strategies. And luckily, the right communications tools can make this process quicker and easier than ever before.
In doing so, you’re likely to see increased results in terms of nonprofit donations, supporter engagement, corporate matching gift revenue, and more. Best of luck!
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