7 Creative Ways to Show Your Supporters They’re Valued

June 6, 2024

Trends for 2024 indicate a rise in AI for donor communications. However, these same trends also indicate that these AI-written messages, if poorly implemented, may alienate donors. After all, donors are unlikely to feel valued if they receive the same AI-created email from every nonprofit they support. 

This also means that 2024 is the year to stand out from the crowd by getting creative with your donor recognition strategy. In this guide, we’ll share seven unique, memorable, and meaningful ways you can appreciate your donors. 

1. Send eCards. 

Thank-you emails are a staple of most nonprofits’ appreciation strategies, and you can elevate yours with eCards. eCards are electronic greeting cards that include fun, attention-grabbing visuals and a personalized message. 

eCardWidget’s guide to charity eCards provides examples of the different occasions nonprofits can send eCards to supporters to show they’re valued:


  • After a donation. When supporters give, send an eCard to thank them for their gift. This is a fun spin on the classic donor thank-you email that will help your nonprofit stand out from the crowd.
  • Anniversaries. Send eCards on special dates, such as the anniversary of a supporter’s first gift or your nonprofit’s founding. 
  • Holidays. Show supporters you value them year-round by sending eCards for various holidays, such as Mother’s Day, Thanksgiving, and New Year’s. Plus, holiday cards near the end of the year can thank supporters and remind them about your nonprofit, which can lead to extra year-end gifts. 

In addition to email, eCards can be sent via text message or social media, so your nonprofit can reach out using donors’ preferred communication channels.

2. Create thank-your videos. 

Video is an increasingly popular communication tool for young donors, and your nonprofit can leverage it with thank-you videos. In general, there are two types of thank-you videos a nonprofit can create:

  • Videos for all supporters. Create a video celebrating your entire community of donors that you can post to your website or social media. These videos should communicate the impact your supporters have had on your cause by including footage of your volunteers, staff, and beneficiaries. 
  • Videos for specific supporters. Rather than addressing your entire audience, these videos are specifically for the supporter who receives them via email, text, or social media message. Videos for specific individuals are usually for higher-tier donors and should include a message tailored to the recipient that addresses them by name.

When creating thank-you videos, you don’t need to be a professional filmmaker. Record any scripted lines in a quiet area and use free resources, like YouTube tutorials, to find the editing tricks you need. 

3. Host office tours. 

Get supporters excited about your ongoing projects and make them feel like a part of your team with office and facility tours. These tours can be conducted virtually or in person, depending on your donors’ preferences. 

Schedule tours on days when your team has a minute to stop and talk to donors. For example, early summer when various initiatives are underway may be a time when exciting things are happening at your nonprofit, but staff can stop to chat with donors. On the other hand, the final few days before Giving Tuesday are likely a bit too hectic to make a good impression. 

For in-person tours, consider planning a lunch afterward. This gives donors the opportunity to chat with staff one-on-one and learn even more about your cause. 

4. Offer perks. 

Nonprofits like museums, art groups, and sports camps can offer donors exclusive perks in exchange for their support. Consider setting up a membership program with different perks for different levels of support. 

For instance, a few member appreciation perks include: 

  • Discounted services, such as reduced ticket prices
  • Access to members-only resources, like webinars
  • Feedback surveys, which give donors the opportunity to suggest ideas and voice opinions 

With a little creativity, almost any nonprofit can offer perks in exchange for donations. For example, you might give recurring donors above a certain amount discount codes for your merchandise or provide access to a donors-only chat during virtual events. 

5. Foster a sense of identity. 

When donors connect their identity to supporting a specific nonprofit, they’re more likely to continue giving long-term and feel they’re a part of your team. For instance, you might give different groups of donors unique names or offer perks based on their support level. For example, an environmental nonprofit might name different donor groups after various animals their gifts help protect. 

In particular, recurring monthly donors are good targets for helping forge a sense of identity around your nonprofit. These donors give regularly and have shown a commitment to your cause. Providing them with additional updates about your nonprofit and encouraging them to connect with fellow donors can turn them from casual supporters to loyal members of your community. 

When planning your strategy for this idea, consider your mid-level donors. Major donors have one-on-one relationships with your nonprofit, while low-level and one-time supporters can potentially form a sense of identity related to your nonprofit but will likely need to engage more first. 

As such, when creating various identity-based groups, focus on your mid-level donors’ preferred engagement activities and giving habits. You may even encourage some donors to increase their support and move up to the next donor group.

6. Send gifts. 

Give donors a physical reminder of your nonprofit they can hold onto. Small gifts are an easy way to reward donors for their continued support and encourage them to stay involved with your nonprofit. 

Kwala’s donor gifts guide recommends a few easy gifts for nonprofits:

  • T-Shirts
  • Thermoses
  • Tote bags
  • Calendars
  • Journals 

For major donors, take the gifts up a notch with appreciation events and donor walls. While all donors are important, tailor the value of the gift to the donors’ level of support. This helps convey your appreciation without worrying donors about how your nonprofit is spending their contributions. 

7. Post online shout-outs. 

Publicly recognize supporters’ good deeds with online shout-outs. Depending on your supporters’ communication preferences, these shout-outs can be posted on these platforms:

  • Social media to promote your nonprofit and donors simultaneously and give donors the chance to share your post with the rest of their networks. 
  • Your email newsletter to keep recognition focused on and within your nonprofit’s community.
  • Your blog or website to split the difference between the two strategies and show off your community to new and prospective donors. 

For online recognition, reach out to donors you want to recognize to request a photo, a few sentences about what your cause means to them, and permission to share the shout-out online. 

Your supporters go the extra mile for your nonprofit, and you can do the same for them by adding a spark of creativity to your appreciation strategy. Assess your audience’s interests, preferences, and goals to determine what appreciation methods are likely to resonate with them. Then, measure your strategies’ effectiveness to fine-tune your approach.

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