Charities in the UK spend a considerable part of their budget to find donors to give ad-hoc donations. To help ensure your donors stick by you, they should be treated as long-term partners who share your passion for the cause. 

Part of the problem is that many charities are not very good at demonstrating how much they appreciate their supporters. A survey of more than 100 charities found that one in ten did not thank new donors who gave a first gift of less than £10 and almost one in five charities did not thank new donors giving less than £5.


1  Assess your reporting back processes

How do you thank your donors and how long does it take for them to receive that thank you? Do you let them know how their money has made a difference.

2  Review what you've written

Take a step back and read your thank you message objectively as if you just had received it. How does it make you feel? If it's not warm, personal and relevant, think about rewriting it.

3  Set some guidelines

This can be something like all gifts need to be acknowledged within 24 hours, or gifts of more than a certain amount should receive a handwritten letter or telephone call. Maybe do a review of your donors and send a special, personalised letter to those that have supported you for a year or more. Set guidelines to what best works for your charity.

4  Demonstrate impact

Donors like to know that their money has made a difference, so build some impact reporting into your plan of action, such as providing them with a written report about the project they have supported. If appropriate, you could also arrange a meeting with the frontline staff who are delivering the work, or even take them to see your work first hand.

5  Make a statement 

If you have been gifted large donations, you may want to think about recognising their contributions publicly, if appropriate. This can include a plaque on the wall or the naming of a building. 

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