Fundraising Blog

GiftWorks Guest Blog – Julia Campbell

Each month Julia Campbell will stop by to share insight and tips for nonprofits looking to extend their organizations online reach.

10 Ways to Thank and Recognize Your Donors Using Social Media

I originally wrote back in January about acknowledging supporters and customers on social media. This post is a refresh and update.

In 2013, nonprofit digital marketing efforts will continue to focus on using social media tools to raise awareness for organizations and causes, to promote events and to fundraise.

However, from what I have been observing of late, the purpose of most social media marketing campaigns seems to be collecting the most Likes on Facebook, the most Twitter followers, the most connections on LinkedIn, the most rePins on Pinterest, etc.

More, more, more seems to continue to be the way to go.

This is an incorrect strategy.

In my experience, quality beats quantity any day of the week, in any contest.

Yes, you can pay special online services to gain 10,000 followers on Twitter. You can hold exciting online contests to lure people into clicking “Like” on your Facebook Page.

Purchased followers and fans may boost your numbers and look impressive to your boss, but they do nothing for your bottom line.

At the end of the contest or the purchase, how many of these fans will ever look at your website, read your blog, make a donation or purchase your product?

My guess is – very, very few if any.

Instead of focusing on growing your social media numbers, how about focusing on retaining and engaging the fans/followers that you do have?

A recent study showed donor retention in the last few years has been an abysmal. 7 out of 10 donors are leaving our organizations and not donating again!

Yes, you read that right. That’s an attrition rate of 7 out of 10 donors.

What if we lost Facebook fans at that rate? Or Twitter followers? We would certainly sit up and pay attention.

Nonprofits need to shift our focus. Instead of always thinking about the information we want to relay and making all our marketing campaigns about US, why not make it about our donors – the ones who sustain us, the ones who we rely on to keep our lights on?

My suggestion – Focus on donor recognition and rewards for 2013!

This year of “Thank You” applies to all donors, stakeholders, volunteers, staff members, members, and the like.

After all, current and past supporters form the best foundation from which to grow and sustain your organization in 2013. Make sure the loyal know that they are appreciated!

Social media happens to be a fantastic way to publicly recognize and thank donors. Here are 10 ideas about recognizing and rewarding your donors using these tools.


1. Schedule the time. Like any other task on your To Do list, you need to schedule adequate time to get it accomplished. Will it be 15 minutes at the start of each day? Will it be every Thursday (Thankful Thursdays)?

2. Organize resources. Will you have a specific budget for thanking donors? You don’t need to make elaborate, expensive print materials or tchotchkes, but you could explore paid advertising on social media platforms. Read John Haydon’s post about targeting donors with Facebook Ads.

3. Assign staff and volunteers. Who will be responsible for carrying out the work? I suggest forming a specific Recognition Committee of Board members, staff and volunteers, supervised by the Executive Director or Development Director.


4. Show the love. When was the last time you posted “We have the absolute best Facebook fans on the planet“? Try it! Even something simple like this should get interaction. Try posting it on all your social networks and see the love grow!

5. Respond and reply promptly. Answer all questions and Wall Posts, mentions on Twitter and all public blog comments in a very timely fashion (within 3-4 hours). This shows that your organization is responsive and that you are paying attention to what your fans are saying.

6. Say The Words – Thank You! Organize a “Thank You” campaign and promote it everywhere.
a. Heather Mansfield of the blog Nonprofit Tech 2.0 lays out ideas for creating “Thank You” videos for your 2012 fundraising campaigns.
b. Participate in Diane Darling’s “The Thank You Project”, where you hand write at least four personalized thank you notes per week.
c. Blog about your Thank You campaign, post on Facebook and Twitter, share your Thank You process on LinkedIn.


7. Exclusive Discounts and Offers. Nonprofits can team up with local or national businesses to offer exclusive discounts – for example, when the local business hits 500 fans on Facebook, they will donate a certain amount to the nonprofit and offer a discount of 15% to all of the nonprofit’s Facebook fans. This way, the nonprofit and business will mutually benefit through cooperative marketing, and the fans will benefit by being able to help give back in a fairly effortless way.

8. Pick a Fan of the Week. This is a simple, easy-to-use Facebook application to add to your nonprofit’s Page. It automatically highlights the person who interacts with your Page the most within a given week. Make this honor extra special and offer to highlight that Fan’s business or favorite cause for one week on your page, create a gallery of Fans of the Week on your website or make a special phone call to the Fan of the Week (if you have their information) to thank them for their engagement. You can also send them items such as a t-shirt, pen, coffee mug or other memento (with your logo on it of course)!

9. Help Fans Give Back. Many companies reward Facebook Fans by helping them give back, tying charitable donations to the growth of their fan base. Hosiery and leg wear company No Nonsense recently kicked off a program in which it is donating one million pairs of socks to needy children and families across the country. The campaign, called “Socks for America,” allows consumers to donate a pair of socks in their name to a person in need simply by becoming a fan on No Nonsense’s Facebook Page.

10. Showcase Them! With their permission of course, showcase your donors using social media – their photos, why they give, a brief interview, a quote, a testimonial. So simple and yet so powerful. They are individuals after all. If you receive funding from a corporation or foundation showcase the program officer or person responsible for managing the donation.

Ktphoto_120404_066Do you have more ideas about how to recognize your donors using social media? Leave them in the comments below, or email me at

Julia Campbell, principal at J Campbell Social Marketing, helps nonprofits reach new supporters and strengthen relationships with current ones using online tools. Email her at or call 978-578-1328.

photo credit: comedy nose via photopin cc

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