Nonprofits have always relied on volunteers and the generosity of donors to fund their good work and fulfill their mission. Today, donations remain the primary way most nonprofits operate. But so many other things about our current times have shifted. People have rearranged their finances and changed their priorities, and it has become more critical than ever for nonprofits to reach out to their donors in a meaningful way. Longtime donors and people who have stepped up to help your organization should be recognized for their contributions and commitment during trying times.

Sentiment shows that donors typically don’t like to receive a flurry of cheap or unsolicited gifts from nonprofit organizations. Consider more meaningful gifts to recognize and thank donors who continue to step up for your organization.

Black handmade logo coffee mug with orange accent on rim.

Recognizing Donors to Others

Almost all financial donors or donors of professional skills in kind appreciate recognition. Consider all the ways you already communicate with your community of donors, volunteers, and friends, and make donor recognition a part of your communications. 

Recognizing donors can be as simple as including a list of recent donors in your regular newsletter or email updates. Call out everyone who has contributed and make sure to give a special thank you to the donors you count on year after year. Be sure to include your longtime supporters in your annual literature as well. 

Utilize social media to do a regular donor spotlight. You can introduce a new or regular donor to the larger community, highlighting the donor’s interaction with your nonprofit and including a little personal information. 

Consider doing a drawing weekly or monthly to give a quality gift such as a quality handmade mug. Ask committed donors and members of your community who receive a gift to send a picture of themself enjoying a coffee in the mug or include a quality gift like a mug to the donor you highlight in your social media or regular newsletter.

Recognize Milestones

While donors might not like to receive a pile of cheap or unsolicited swag from a nonprofit organization they support, many donors will appreciate the recognition, especially if it seems as though their financial gift was truly appreciated.

Pay attention to birthdays or wedding anniversaries of regular donors to your organization. Consider sending a gift to recognize major birthdays or significant anniversaries. Highlight these milestones in your communications or social media, too, if your donor is comfortable with that. Ensure the gift you choose is generally consistent with your mission and is more a quality token of appreciation than a major gift – after all, a donor to your organization is pledging funds to support good works, not to receive expensive gifts. 

Make sure to choose a donor gift that will be useful and something that they will be likely to incorporate into their daily life like a mug or stein. While a plaque is nice, a small, functional item that will be used might be more appreciated. Don’t waste your budget on cheap or mass-produced tchotchke that will soon break or be tossed into the trash. 

Blue handmade beer stein with custom logo.

Gifting at Events

Donors are more likely to expect and accept a gift when they purchase a ticket to a fundraising event. Make sure to have a theme and include touches of your theme in your messaging, communications, and gifts. Create a custom gift item to commemorate the event and send one to everyone who purchases a ticket. Donors who attend fundraising events year after year may collect commemorative gifts. 

To create a feeling of solidarity and community, ask attendees to participate in a virtual live toast with a custom mug or stein created especially for the fundraiser. Once we can hold live, in-person events again, people will be so eager to enjoy being with the community that a live toast with a commemorative handmade mug will be an exceptionally special event.

Make it Personal with a Custom Mug or Stein 

Most of all, when you’re thinking about donor gifts, the key is to make it feel personal. Be sure to focus on items that don’t feel mass-produced. Nothing is worse than seeing a nonprofit spend money on things that soon end up discarded. Donor gifts should also feel relevant to your event or your nonprofit. Working with the artists at Grey Fox Pottery in Minneapolis to create donor gifts for your organization ensures a unique, quality, handmade item. 

Take a look at our gallery to see some examples of the personalized logo medallions our artists can create for your organization. Our handmade, stoneware mugs are sure to be a donor gift your community members will keep, collect, and use regularly. Contact us today to learn more about our small minimum orders and meticulous quality. 

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