Best of Social Change Consulting, Year One. #5 The Power of Thanks

Best of Social Change Consulting, Year One. #5 The Power of Thanks

As we passed the one year mark of posting to the Social Change Consulting blog, we thought it was high time to highlight some of our favorite posts from the last year. While not a scientific review of our best work, we thought these postings showed our growth over the last year, our dedication to working with small nonprofits, and our hope for helping those organizations be the best they can be.

Without further ado, here is our fifth favorite post from the last year, an ode to giving thanks that we initially debuted prior to Thanksgiving, in its entirety. Enjoy.


As we approach the end of the calendar year, nonprofits everywhere are gearing up for their last fundraising push. Research has shown that up to one-third of all giving is done in the month of December alone, making this end of year appeal critical for the success of nonprofits. But before you make the ask, consider the following data per national research conducted by Cygnus Applied Research:

“84% of donors surveyed said they would continue to give and give more to charities that provided them with three things:  

  • prompt gift acknowledgement (within two weeks);  
  • specific designation of their gifts; and  
  • measurable results of their gifts at work before they are asked for another contribution (Cygnus Applied Research). “

An important part of any relationship is gratitude – both upon receipt of the donation and throughout the calendar year. Donor stewardship begins and ends with communicating appreciation. It’s not enough just to make the ask – to cultivate a strong relationship with your donors, you must show that their contribution was not just impactful to your organization, but made a difference in their community.

Be specific in your thanks. While time and resources might make it easier to send one bulk thank you message to donors, consider the research we included at the top of this message. Donors want to be thanked, and donors want to know the measurable results of their gifts at work – not just the work your organization is doing in general. What did their $25, $50, or $100 provide? What is the impact that they had in their community through your organization?

Being specific doesn’t stop with this past year’s contributions. How much has this donor given over the course of their relationship with an organization? What have their years of support made possible? Again, time and resources make this difficult for every donor, but any effort made in showing that your organization cares specifically about this one donor’s contributions will help steward that relationship.

There are so many more avenues of thanks available now than ever before. Nonprofits are no longer limited simply to email communications or newsletters to thank gifts – social media is a unique and potentially potent avenue to appreciate your donors. For those fans of your Facebook page that have donated this year – think of the potential long term value of your relationship if you thanked them tagged them in a thank you post or image. Not only will this help with this relationship, but will spread your message to that person’s social network and expand your audience to new donors.

Every message you send to constituents and donors should have a purpose – and there is none more important than that of saying thanks. As we approach the intense December giving push, be sure to thank your donors as well as making the ask. Gratitude and appreciation are vital to any relationship, but especially one with those most committed to your organization’s mission.

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