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How to Thank Major Donors

Major donors play a substantial role in supporting your nonprofit’s financial initiatives. It takes a lot of work to steward major donors. They must feel connected to your cause and trust that you use their contributions wisely.

A thoughtful thank you is one of the first steps in sustaining major donors. Beyond the traditional acknowledgment letter, a nonprofit can thank major donors in many ways.

Keep reading to discover best practices for thanking and retaining major donors. 

What are Major Donors?

Major donors are the top tier of supporters you have at your organization. Depending on the size and budget of your organization this number will vary. For example, a mid-sized nonprofit with an annual budget of $500,000 might consider all donors of $5,000 or more major donors. 

How to Thank Major Donors

As with all your donors, you should take as many opportunities to thank major donors as possible. From a personalized phone call to a customized thank you letter, there are many touchpoints nonprofits should consider when thanking major donors. 

Start with an Immediate Phone Call

The moment a large gift comes through the door might warrant a personalized phone call from your executive director or someone on your development team. When someone donates a large sum of money the immediate recognition from a real human will give them peace of mind and show that you are paying attention and appreciative. 

Customize the Acknowledgement Letter for Major Donors

Major donors can give your nonprofit the extra boost to make an additional impact in your area. Make sure major donors know just how important their contribution is. You could use your standard acknowledgment letter to thank major donors, but you could also tailor a custom one that details how major gifts make a difference. Also, if gifting over a certain amount grants the donor access to something special or exclusive like an event or certain communications, highlight that in the thank you letter. 

Dear [Donor’s Name],

I’m thrilled to express my heartfelt gratitude for your generous donation of $[Amount] to Earth Protectors. Your gift falls within our top tier of giving and makes you a Guardian of the Earth donor.

Your support enables us to launch conservation projects, fund research initiatives, provide education programs, and advocate for sustainability policies.

As a token of appreciation, I’m delighted to invite you to our annual Guardians of the Earth thank you dinner. It’s a special occasion to celebrate our shared commitment to environmental conservation.

Thank you for your dedication and generosity. Together, we’re shaping a brighter future for our planet.

With gratitude,

[Your Name]
Executive Director
Earth Protectors

Create a Gratitude Report With Giving Levels

Nonprofit gratitude reports are a great way to thank donors beyond the traditional thank you letter. Some nonprofits choose to arrange gratitude reports by giving level. Consider giving a name to each giving level with a range of gifts.  For example, if you are an environmental nonprofit, you might have giving level names and ranges such as:

Guardians of the Earth (Major Donors)
$5,000 and above

Champions of Sustainability
$2,500 – $4,999

Stewards of Nature
$1,000 – $2,499

Friends of the Environment
$500 – $999

Green Advocates
$250 – $499

If you use DonorSnap, you can easily get a report of your gifts based on the giving level with the Donation Strata Report

Host a Major Donor Appreciation Event

If it is within your budget, a major donor appreciation event is a great way to thank and keep your top donors engaged. This event can provide a more personal opportunity to thank your major donors, allowing them to see the impact of their contributions firsthand. You can include activities such as tours of your facilities, presentations by beneficiaries of your programs, and opportunities for donors to network with each other.

Final Thoughts

Major donors play a substantial role in supporting your nonprofit’s financial initiatives. It takes a lot of work to steward major donors. They must feel connected to your cause and trust that you use their contributions wisely. By implementing thoughtful strategies for thanking and retaining major donors, you can strengthen these vital relationships and ensure the continued success of your organization’s mission.

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