Thanking Your Donors: 3 Post-Event Best Practices

Published on 2 Oct 2023 by Auctria

Nonprofit events bring the community together in support of your cause. The last thing you want is for attendees to leave your event’s energetic atmosphere and never hear from your organization again.

Whether you host an annual auction or a family 5K, expressing gratitude after fundraising events is vital for continuing relationships. Ample donor appreciation can enhance your regular fundraising efforts and establish a consistent base of support for your work.

Not to mention, the word will get around about how well your organization communicates with supporters and expresses gratitude. That means you can recruit new donors and drive even greater event attendance next time around.

While a simple thank-you email can go a long way, you have the chance to go above and beyond with your acknowledgment efforts. This quick guide will share a few of our favorite tips that will level up your event attendee recognition. Shout your appreciation from the rooftops with these strategies:

  1. Be Prompt and Personal With Thank-You Messages.
  2. Share Event Highlights and Impact.
  3. Recognize Donor Contributions Publicly.

These strategies can revitalize your appreciation efforts and show attendees you genuinely care about their support. Of course, every organization finds success with different strategies. Test these out and pay close attention to how your supporters respond. Let’s dive into our first tactic.

1. Be Prompt and Personal With Thank-You Messages.

Timing is everything. Put yourself in an event attendee’s shoes for a second. Wouldn’t you be impressed if you received a thank-you message right when the event wrapped up? Better yet, wouldn’t you be even more impressed if you received a prompt thank-you message personalized with your unique contributions?

Ideally, you’ll want to follow up within a day or two at most. While a quick phone call or generic email may suffice, we suggest personalizing your outreach with recipients’ names and specific contributions.

We have a great catch-all solution that makes personalized, prompt, and engaging outreach a breeze: eCards! Online greeting cards take traditional donor thank-you letters up a notch by incorporating interactive elements and eye-catching graphics. You can deliver cards directly to their inboxes, post them on social media, or send them via text. After all, everyone loves receiving thoughtful cards.

Sending eCards is the perfect way to express appreciation for a handful of reasons. To name a few, you can:

  • Craft heartfelt messages customized to recipients. Easily include a donor’s name and specific details about their contributions. For example, maybe they won a specific item at your auction. Mention that, and they’ll notice the extra effort you put into your post-event outreach.

  • Customize your designs to reflect the event theme or cause. You can design one eCard or a whole collection with elements related to your event theme. Upload event-related graphics like your logo, customize the colors, and match your font to your event’s theme. For example, elegant and sophisticated fonts suit formal occasions like galas, while playful fonts work well for fun events like races.

  • Schedule your eCards or deliver them immediately. The choice is yours! Most eCard sites enable you to schedule your eCards to be sent, so you can send your post-event thank-yous all at once. Alternatively, send each one as soon as it’s ready to go.

According to Re:Charity’s donor gifts guide, you can incorporate interactive elements into your eCards like animated confetti, save on direct mail costs, and avoid wasting paper. Use your eCard site to create your designs. Then, fire them off when ready!

2. Share Event Highlights and Impact.

Everyone will want to know how well your fundraising event went. Did you reach your fundraising goal, or did you fall a bit short? Were you able to successfully push your mission forward? Make sure your donors know!

No matter what outlet you use to thank donors after an event, you’ll want to share highlights and communicate the impact of the event. From direct outreach to social media, you have some choices as to how you implement this strategy:

  • Share event photos and videos in thank-you messages. Nonprofit videos and images can help showcase your event’s energy and serve as a visual reminder of attendees’ experiences. You may even inspire others to join in next time when they see how much fun they missed out on if you post these videos to social media.

  • Provide fundraising totals. Share how much your event raised thanks to your donors. Highlight specific outcomes achieved through your donors’ generosity and communicate that each contribution played a role in your event’s impact.

  • Share testimonials. Make your outreach extra special by having someone share a video or written testimonial about the impact of people’s support. Perhaps staff members, volunteers, or beneficiaries would be excited to say thanks personally.

3. Recognize Donor Contributions Publicly.

Public recognition can go a long way in strengthening relationships. Just be sure to adhere to donors’ privacy requests, since not everyone wants public appreciation. Even if your donors prefer to keep their contributions private, you can still tap into public recognition by sharing generic appreciation that applies to your whole donor base.

Your nonprofit’s website and social media pages lend themselves well to public support. You may choose to call out specific donors or just share fundraising totals, pictures, and other updates publicly. You could also opt for a virtual donor wall to showcase and thank your donors.

Whichever route you choose, this strategy works for a few reasons. For example, you can:

  • Celebrate donors’ generosity and involvement. Positively reinforce donors’ decisions to attend your event. Public appreciation demonstrates that their contributions matter and can help retain supporters for the long term.

  • Leverage the power of social proof. By publicly recognizing your donors, your nonprofit can demonstrate that others believe in your cause, meaning they should too. This can build trust and credibility, potentially attracting new donors who are more likely to support causes that already have public backing.

  • Enhance your public image. Recognizing your donors publicly shows that your nonprofit cares about its supporters. It also communicates a commitment to transparency. In turn, you’ll strengthen your organization’s reputation.

Between engaging current donors and encouraging others to attend next time, public recognition is a smart move. Again, just consider individuals’ preferences before testing out this post-event recognition strategy.

Final Thoughts on Thanking Donors

Donors make your events successful, so don’t let their generosity go unrecognized! It doesn’t matter if they made a huge purchase at your auction or simply showed up in support of your cause. Everyone deserves a thank you.

Across private efforts like eCards and public recognition like social media posts, be sure you’re prompt and emphasize the impact your donors made. Above all, be genuine in your thank-you messages. People can spot authenticity from a mile away. By strengthening your post-event outreach, you’ll inspire donors to stick around and attract new attendees by the time your next event rolls around.

Special thanks Tim Badolato for the expert advice in this article. Tom is the CEO of an innovative platform for digital employee recognition, donor acknowledgment, business marketing, and nonprofit marketing. He has a passion for using technology to drive positive outcomes for mission-driven businesses and nonprofits.