Thanking Online Donors

Online charitable donations were higher than ever last year – a trend that will likely continue in 2014. That means Nonprofits must provide online donors with a seamless giving experience that includes a prompt and genuine “Thank you” and some public recognition for their support. This post-donation messaging is crucial to maintaining positive relationships that encourage future donations.

Consider these five guidelines for thanking online donors and making a powerful impact.

1. Confirmation page

It takes only a few simple details to ensure a smooth digital donation process. After a user submits a donation online, a confirmation page should appear and verify acceptance of the donation. This page can serve as a receipt for tax purposes. Additionally, this is your first opportunity to thank generous online donors. Create concise, genuine language to express gratitude on this confirmation page.

2. Email

A thank-you email should be standard for online donations of any size. If you are using a service to help you collect online donations, most will have features built in for sending automated thank-you emails. If you are managing online donations yourself, compile a list of donors in an excel list with their names and contact information.

These tips will help you create a great thank-you email:

  • Customize the email with the person’s name and donation amount to add a personal touch.
  • Include pictures, stories and video embeds of how the donation is making an impact.
  • Offer your name and contact information to encourage open conversation.
  • Create an engaging subject line.
  • If you don’t have an automated system that sends emails for you after each donation, aim to send out batch thank-you emails within 48 hours of the donation.

3. Donor appreciation page

Have a special place on your website to recognize businesses and individuals who donate or support your cause. Businesses in particular will appreciate the recognition as well as any new traffic you can direct to their website, which will encourage future donations and sponsorships.

Create a page with a general thank-you message and sections for listing business partners as well as individuals who have donated to your cause. You can opt to include the amount or put names into sections based on donation levels, as well as offer potential business partners the incentive of posting their logo with a link to their website to recognize their business. Some businesses oven offer affiliate programs that will pay your for any traffic or leads you generate from your website. Promote this page in additional communications, such as the monthly newsletter, to drive online traffic.

4. Social media

Social media provides an excellent opportunity to thank online donors and drive more followers. Be sure to adopt these social media strategies:

  • Post a comment recognizing their donation immediately.
  • “Like” their activity on your social networks.
  • Create a Twitter list of online donors, and always retweet when they mention the Nonprofit in posts.
  • For large online donations, consider writing a blog thanking them by name and sharing stories of the good the money will do.

5. Good old fashioned “Thank-You’s”

In an increasingly rapid digital age, sometimes old-fashioned ways to say thank you can really stand out. Never underestimate the impact of a beautiful handwritten letter. Take big donors out to lunch. Make calls and get to know your online donors. The goal is to build a “friendship” that last a lifetime, so talk about their life and interests rather than asking for additional donations.


When it comes to thanking online donors, once just isn’t enough. Through multiple channels you can ensure your message of gratitude is heard so online donors feel just as recognized as those who donate in other ways. Not only is it the right thing to do, it will help you build a positive reputation for the organization while boosting relationships with key audiences. 

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Winspire Communications Director

About Ian Lauth

With an extensive background in marketing and design, Ian’s role at Winspire is to develop external communications, brand expansion and product delivery processes to help Nonprofits maximize their fundraising revenue.

Ian serves as the Editor-in-Chief for Winspire News, creating and managing blog content,  newsletters, eBooks and other resources for Nonprofit fundraising professionals. You can also find Ian on Google+.

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