Thanking your donors with technology

With donor management software, it's easy for nonprofit organizations to keep track of their supporters. However, if nonprofit leaders want these individuals to keep contributing, it's important to thank them often for their generosity. According to Penelope Burk's research, which is detailed in her book, "Donor-Centered Fundraising," 46 percent of donors stop giving if they don't feel appreciated. Computers make it much simpler to show appreciation to these contributors. Here are five ways to thank donors with technology:

"Forty-six percent of donors stop giving if they don't feel appreciated."

1. Email newsletters
A good way to thank contributors is to mention their names in email newsletters. Nonprofit Marketing Guide suggests making it sound like a single staff member is speaking directly to one donor. For example, if one contributor has been giving money every month for the past year, the philanthropic organization could write a feature story about that person. The article should include interesting information about the individual, such as what motivated him or her to volunteer or contribute financially, and what he or she does in his or her spare time. When the supporter reads the story, this person will feel truly appreciated.

2. Social media shout-outs 
Social media is huge these days, so nonprofit leaders should consider thanking their donors on sites like Facebook and Twitter. Recognizing these contributors individually on social networks will make them feel valued. For instance, when a person donates to a charitable organization for the first time, the nonprofit manager should give that donor a social media shout-out . It's a quick and simple way to make donors feel like they are recognized for their kindness. 

3. Personalized emails
Although it's easier to send donors automatic emails to thank them for contributing, it probably won't make supporters feel very special. Nonprofit leaders should take the time to send personalized correspondence to their donors. In each email, a nonprofit staff member should explain to the donor how her gift has the power to change other peoples' lives.

4. YouTube videos
Giving donors shout-outs on YouTube is another effective way to make them feel appreciated. If it's not feasible to recognize each supporter individually, charitable groups should thank donors in one meaningful video. In the video, nonprofit staff members should express how thankful they are to have such giving donors and that their gifts have had a positive effect on the organization.

5. Photos
Donors will feel valued if they are given photos of the causes they helped support. For example, if a charitable organization gives money to underprivileged children in third-world countries, a nonprofit staff member could email a picture of a child the donor specifically assisted. The supporter will know that the gift was valued, which could convince him or her to contribute more in the future.

Thanking donors doesn't take much time and can motivate them to continue supporting a nonprofit organization's cause.