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  • Writer's pictureNonprofit Learning Lab

15 Tips & Ideas To Thank Donors With Video (Examples Included)

Updated: Jun 9, 2023

This is a sponsored blog post from Gratavid.

Donor retention is a critical component of a nonprofit’s sustainability and impact. One way to retain donors is by thanking them promptly in a personal way. Personalized video is an innovative and effective way to keep in touch with your donors while showing your gratitude. Not only does it provide a solid visual element, but it also helps to develop a one on one relationship with that donor. Professor Jen Shang, PhD found donors pay the most attention to the thank-you communication. In other words, the thank you is an opportunity.

"Donors pay the most attention to the thank-you communication." Professor Jen Shang, PhD Institute for Sustainable Philanthropy

Here are a few ways on how and when to say thank you with video.

How to say thanks

1. Be genuine It's not about having the perfect script, the perfect camera, or the perfect camera. It's about showing up as your authentic self when thanking a donor.

2. Make it personal Treat the thank you as the beginning of a friendship. The thank you is an opportunity to get to know the donor and for them to get to know you.

71% of donors said personalization makes them feel more engaged. - The Nonprofit Times Donor Loyalty Study

3. Make it about the recipient Don't make it about you! Make it about the donor. For example, "what would we do without you...", "because of you...", "you are changing lives," etc.

4. Offer your contact information Donors want to feel like they are a part of an organization. One easy way to make the donor feel included is to offer to let them call or email you at any time.

5. Share testimonials and impact Use video to share testimonials and impact stories. This lets the donor know where their dollars are being spent as well as the positive differences they are making. Testimonials show actual, tangible results and help answer the question, "how is my money being spent?"

One minute of video is worth 1.8 million words. Sprout Video - The Psychology of Video

6. Write their name on a piece of paper Write the contact's name on a piece of paper or whiteboard when you start recording the video. This will prove your video is personalized and not some generic template. Who wouldn't click on this? 7. Don't mistake the receipt for the thank you The automated receipt is not a thank you; it is transactional. A receipt gets added to the "taxes" Gmail folder. The thank you is an opportunity to form a relationship. Don't mistake the two.

8. Don't sell or ask Don't ask for more donations or get into the problem. Your appeal shows the problem; the thank you shows how your donor helped the organization overcome the problem.

9. Be quick, but late is better than never Penelope Burk's research shows 93% of donors would definitely or probably give again to a charity that provided a prompt and personal thank you. She recommends saying thanks within 48 hours; however, don't stress if you are late. Late is better than never!

"It takes me less time to do a personal video than to write and edit letters that are not as personal. My donors are super impressed with my Gratavids and mention they have never felt so seen and appreciated." Mike Salley Show Mercy International

When to say thanks

10. First-time donors According to Bloomerang, donor retention for first-time donors in 2020 was only 19%... that means that 4 out of 5 donors aren’t donating to an organization a second time! That’s why thanking first-time donors are crucial! You need to communicate the effectiveness that donation had on the organization in a prompt and timely manner.

11. High-value gifts If someone is choosing to donate a high-value donation, they need to be properly thanked. They should be your number one priority! Take the time to craft a personalized video that genuinely caters to them. Making your top donors feel special is so important. Without them, your organization wouldn’t be where it is today.

12. Donation amount upgrades Thank donors who recently increased their giving amount.

13. Number of gifts milestone Milestones are always something to be celebrated. Thanks to donors once they give their 10th, 25th, or any gift milestone. Milestone events are a great way to re-connect with donors to ensure they know their continued giving is appreciated.

14. Lifetime giving milestone A donor might only give $25 or $100 a month, but you should thank them once their lifetime giving hits the $1000, $5000, or any milestone.

15. Years giving milestone Thank donors who have been giving to your organization for 3, 5, or any year milestone. These donors might be the perfect prospect for planned giving or a significant gift. A simple thank-you is a great way to find out.


1. Share a personalized video followed by a testimonial Thank first-time donors and anyone giving over a certain amount with a customized thank you followed by a testimonial sharing the impact of their donation.

2. Get your leadership team involved Mix in personalized videos from fundraisers with generic videos from your leadership team. We know it's not reasonable to have your President record a video for every donation, but have them record a generic thank you and share that repeatedly. This example from Ole Miss mixes personalized videos with generic thank yous from their coaching staff.

3. Say thanks to recurring donors from the whole team Create a templated thank you from the entire team that is shared with smaller donations when your team doesn't have time to personalize. In this example, Angels Arms sends a fun video to new recurring donors who give less than $20 a month.

4. Connect donors with the causes they support Use Gratavid's video request feature to collect videos from students, clients, or anyone your organization supports. In this example, Juilliard requested a video from a student asking them to thank the donor for supporting the Juilliard School personally.

5. Break international and language barriers with closed captioning Use Gratavid's closed captioning feature to translate between languages quickly. Using Google translate, Gratavid can convert to 110 different languages allowing you to break down language barriers. In this example, Roberto from Mexico, Zvonimir from Croatia, and Ricardo from Portugal all share their gratitude to donors making a difference in their communities.

Say thank you the easy way, say thank you with video. Always remember, as John Haydon says, “thanking is not about the past, it is about the future.”

Happy thanking!


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