Acknowledging In-Kind Donations

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Expressing your gratitude and making your donors feel appreciated is the best way to ensure they’ll donate again. Get creative about ways to show your appreciation. This doesn’t have to mean throwing gala events or expensive celebrations. Cards, testimonials from people who’ve been positively affected by the donation, or donor recognition in a public forum can be just as meaningful.

Thanking your donors is the most effective way to get them to give again.

Expressing gratitude to your donors doesn’t have to be hard work if it becomes an organic part of your organization’s culture to continually engage and appreciate your supporters.  Keep donors in the loop—and personalize communication as much as possible. This can include mentioning how items will be used today and over time. Consider the most appropriate ways to stay in touch with donors, which might include:

  • Email updates from your top people
  • Meetings with donors to gather feedback
  • Newsletter updates
  • Hearing a variety of voices (e.g., teachers, artists, doctors, etc.) convey in their own words the difference donations have made to them

Remain a vocal presence with your donors.  Silence communicates inactivity or a lack of need.  The more personally involved donors are, the fuller their giving is likely to be.  Point out the great stuff that happens when people give.

Remember your donors both when times are tough and when you have something to celebrate.

Research shows there is a relationship between gift amounts and level of recognition received by donors. Donors who report receiving "substantial" recognition for their gifts made larger contributions than those receiving "minimal" or "moderate" recognition. Recognizing donors doesn’t have to mean giving them a tangible reward; in fact, research indicates that, with token recognition, donors may see their gifts more as transactions. Giving a donor more personal recognition can help them understand how their contribution impacts an organization’s work. In turn, that may help move a donor toward making larger philanthropic gifts.

Remember: your supporters are your fan club! As one donor says, "Our chances of being ‘heroes’ are few and far between in life—it feels good to be needed here." You can help empower donors by listening to them. Sometimes donors dream big, and many are willing to make a significant investment if given the opportunity.

Click to open interactivity Recognizing donors.

Recognizing donors.

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