So, you’ve done the hard work of attracting a donor to your website and convincing them to support your organisation financially. It’s not time to sit on your laurels and congratulate yourself, though – in fact, your work has only just begun! It’s essential, following a donation, that you thank the donor appropriately and continue to follow up with them in the subsequent days and weeks, to ensure that they are truly engaged and invested in your work – because you want them to keep coming back and giving time and time again.

So, what does that look like?

On-Screen Thanks

When someone gives online, your first opportunity to thank them is, of course, directly on the screen. Regardless of what giving system you’re using, you should be able to customise the message that is shown to the donor immediately after the payment is processed, whether that be just a brief message that replaces the form or a completely separate page.

In this message, it’s important to not only thank them but to remind them of the impact their gift will have. You should also prompt them with one or two suggested next steps, such as sharing something or following you on social media, diving deeper into the information on your site about the work you do, subscribing to your newsletter, etc. You don’t want them to feel that you were just after their money but rather that their gift was just one step in a much bigger journey.

Email Thanks

Immediately following a successful gift, you should send the donor an email confirmation (it doesn’t have to be a formal receipt, but it can be). Like the on-screen thanks, this should include a thank you, a brief reminder of their gift’s impact, and some suggested next steps. Make sure it sounds personal by being sent from an individual within your organisation, such as your head of fundraising.

Direct Follow-Up

It may not be practical to do this for every gift, but if this is the first time the donor has given to your organisation or it was a particularly large or otherwise notable gift, you should follow up with them a few days later with a direct, personal contact. This could take the form of an email, but an SMS or a phone call would be much better.

Automated Follow-Up

If this is the donor’s first time connecting with your organisation, you should send them a series of emails introducing them to the organisation and the work you do. We’ve written previously about how to set up an automation series to do this.

How do you thank your donors?

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