How To Thank & Report this Summer

a heart drawn in the sand

Summer is a perfect time for your nonprofit to Thank and Report back to your donors. While most other nonprofits are ignoring their donors during the summer, you can earn your donors’ loyalty by thanking them and showing them the effects of their gifts.

And remember that your donors are BUSY – but that works in your favor this time of year. It means you don’t have to send them an epic thank you letter or an 8-page newsletter. You just have to send them something that gets their attention and has a short message.

Here’s a list of quick things you can do. And as always, make sure you’ve Thanked and Reported to your major donors first, then move on to the rest of your donors.

  • Send a Thank You card:

    Just a short note that says something like, “Thank you for your incredible gift. Because of you, someone will be helped. Your gifts are really making a difference!” And if you can, send it on a card from the hallmark store, not on a card branded from your organization. Make it feel personal!

  • Send a picture of a beneficiary:

    All you need to do is print out a photo and write a quick note on the back. Keep it short and sweet – and about outcomes: “This is Jerry and he’s at camp this week thanks in part to your generosity. Thank you!”

  • Email it:

    You can do the same thing in email to all of your donors! (If you do send it out via email, fight the urge to send it to everyone on your email list. Send it just to donors.)

  • Send photos of summer programs in action:

    If you have programs that are active in the summer, send photos of the beneficiaries participating. Avoid the urge to write too much – you’re trying to create a bite-sized Report that your donor can recognize even if they immediately delete the email. Three short paragraphs (max!) and make sure the word “you” is used in the very first sentence.

  • Pick up the phone:

    This is a stretch for many organizations, but call your donors this summer! Starting with your major donors and your monthly givers, just call them! Prepare a 30-second speech that starts of by saying, “I’m not calling to ask for money, I’m just calling to thank you for your gifts and generosity. . .” If you’re on the phone with the donor for just a few seconds, that’s great. If they want to engage you for longer, even better. But it’s their call – you’re just there to thank them, tell them they matter and that their gifts make a difference!



Steven Screen is Co-Founder of The Better Fundraising Company and lead author of its blog. With over 25 years' fundraising experience, he gets energized by helping organizations understand how they can raise more money. He’s a second-generation fundraiser, a past winner of the Direct Mail Package of the Year, and data-driven.

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