3 Great Ideas for Donor Appreciation Gifts at Your Nonprofit
Updated: Jan 10
“When eating fruit, remember the one who planted the tree.” Vietnamese Proverb
Donor relations for a nonprofit can be some of the most brutally difficult work a person can undertake. But it can also be some of the most important and rewarding. Building deep and lasting relationships with others who are equally as passionate about your common mission and helping them experience the joy of giving is as beautiful as it is agonizing. But as you see the mission moving forward (bearing fruit), it is absolutely imperative that you remember the ones who enabled the planting of the trees—your donors.
Donor appreciation gifts are far from a new idea—as long as donor recognition has been a part of donor relations, people have been giving and receiving them. The real danger is growing stale in your ideas and efforts, so we’ve listed out guidelines for a few types of gifts you could offer to keep things fresh and interesting.
Sometimes sentiment goes a long way, especially when the mission of the organization invites donors into a very personal or sentimental story. These types of gifts focus less on the value of the gift itself and more on its meaning. A gift as simple as a journal with a personalized, handwritten thank you note or quick story can connect your donor quite deeply by expressing gratitude in a very personal manner. These gifts can also be cost-effective so they are perfect for large groups or gatherings of donors.
Gifts that have a practical, everyday use can both be a wonderful way to express gratitude to your donors and a potential marketing tool. Items like tote bags, key chains, journals, hats, and wrist bands that are well-branded can be very useful for expanding your marketing plan. Product marketing of this type helps you turn your donors into ambassadors for your brand as they go about their daily business. Just be sure that the products you choose are high quality, attractive, and actually useful. Anyone can slap a logo on a product. Make sure yours stands out.
Although similar to the meaningful gift category above, personalized gifts add a particular and special touch that make it just right for an individual. Gold foil stamping or monogramming your donor’s name on a high quality gift meant just for them demonstrates your desire and ability to know them. It shows that your desire is not simply transactional, but relational.
Regardless of the financial level at which your donors support your cause, each gift given should be well thought out. They are designed to say thank you for the support each of your donors offers your organization. With so many potential options for gifts, one thing is clear—whatever you choose must match the quality and thoughtfulness consistent with your brand.
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