Authenticity: The Key to Thanking Supporters

Authenticity Nonprofit Thank You Supporters

It’s that time of year when giving thanks becomes top of mind.  While always important, showing appreciation is often highlighted during the holiday season.

No matter when you’re showing appreciation to your supporters, there’s one key element you need to remember:


Be authentic.  Be genuine.  Show donors, volunteers, partners and general supporters you care.  And not just that you care generally, but that you care about them specifically.

Think about when you’ve been thanked for something in the past, even by a friend or loved one.  A thank you note means so much more when it could only apply to you.

Anyone could be thanked for “being a good friend.”  But far fewer could be thanked for “being a shoulder to cry on through tough times, a partner to laugh with during great times and the best friend one could ask for through it all.”

The more customized your appreciation is, the more it will resonate with your audience.

How to Show Authenticity in Giving Thanks

So how do you show authenticity to your nonprofit’s supporters?  The same way you would to a dear friend.  While the words may be different, the approach is the same.

Be Specific.  Tell your supporters how their support specifically is helping to make the world a better place.  Tell them the impact of their donations or volunteer hours.  Make them feel the impact that they are having by getting involved with your organization.  Avoiding a generic “thank you” message can help make supporters feel appreciated.

Use Conversational Language.  Avoid dry, formal writing.  Write how you speak.  Use short sentences and contractions.  You’ll come across more human and less robotic, which is always a good thing when giving thanks.

Proofread.  Make sure there aren’t typos in your notes of appreciation.  While not solely tied to authenticity, you don’t want to derail your emotional connection by misspelling something.

Spend Some Time.  Showing appreciation shouldn’t be an afterthought or obligation.  It’s integral to what you’re doing as an organization.  Be thoughtful about the most effective way to give thanks instead of what you can do the quickest.

Ways to Give Thanks

There’s no one way of giving thanks that’ll work for every organization.  But here are some ideas:

  • Send emails with specific information and a heartfelt message
  • Send handwritten messages
  • Write a blog post
  • Update your homepage content on your website to thank supporters
  • Post all over social media, naming individuals whenever possible
  • Host a party thanking all supporters
  • Give awards to individual supporters
  • Ask the community you serve to share why your supporters matter to them
  • Make videos of your staff thanking supporters (like the CEO of charity: water did for a 2-year-old)

No matter what you do, be authentic.  Authenticity will resonate with your supporters, making them feel truly appreciated and increasing the likelihood they’ll stay involved with your nonprofit long into the future.

How do you give thanks to your supporters?  Or how have you been thanked by a nonprofit that you support?  We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment.

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Image courtesy of Jon Ashcroft