Lean Stream

Acknowledge Donors Online

Congratulations on receiving that generous donation! Your school just took another step towards delivering its mission.

Now, the next step is acknowledging your donors. Thanking your supporters is important in cultivating good relations and increasing your donor retention rate. 

Your donors expect you to send them a ‘thank you’ message within a few days of contributing. They need to feel valued. However, this needn’t be complicated. A well-intended and, most importantly, an original message will do the trick. 

Read on as we give you simple yet effective ideas for acknowledging your donors online. 

Social Media

Social media is the first and most apparent platform to thank your donors online. Your school has a social media presence that you can use to mobilize and, most importantly, thank your donors. Let’s look at different ways to thank your donors on various social media platforms.


Facebook is arguably the best place to post your donor gratitude messages, with over two billion users. Not only can you write lengthy posts, but you can also create photo albums with your biggest donors [with their permission, of course].

You can even go further and write a short donor biography and highlight how their contributions have helped your school.

Besides feeling immense pride in their contribution, your donors can share such posts on their Facebook profiles. 


Instagram is the most popular photo-sharing social media platform. It provides an excellent avenue for expressing visual gratitude to your supporters. You could create a short-personalized video or a slideshow with photos of the donors.

Like Facebook, you can tag the donors so that they can share the posts with their followers. 


With a limit of 120 characters, Twitter is perhaps not the best place to write lengthy appreciation posts. However, it can be the best place to write a brief and concise tweet appreciating your supporters. They can then retweet and show other prospects that you thank your donors, encouraging them to donate in the future to gain similar recognition.

School Website

This would be the perfect place to appreciate your supporters. You can create a donor spotlight on your website or a slideshow of images featuring your supporters. They will feel immense pride seeing their images displayed alongside other contributors.

Alternatively, you can create a short video of you and your team shouting out your donors or take a picture of yourself holding a huge thank you post. You can also convince students who benefitted from the donations to create a short video thanking the donor and post it on your website.

As you can see, the options are practically endless. All you need to do is get a little creative and come up with a way of thanking your supporters in a way that is related to your school and your cause.

Pro tip: your supporters may not know that your website exists so they may never get to see your appreciation. Be sure to share the link to your website on your social media pages, so donors know of its existence.

Another Pro tip: You can find some great graphic design software which will help you make templates for images and videos which can be personalized. Check out CanvaFotoramEasil and others.

Email Acknowledgment

Another way of showing gratitude to your supporters is by sending them a direct email. 

An email is perhaps the best way to show appreciation because it allows you to personalize the message. Instead of a generic ‘to who it may concern’ message, you will be able to write a specific message to that particular donor. They will appreciate your efforts. As such, including the donor’s name and other relevant personal details.

Also, be sure to mention the amount they contributed and how far it went towards helping you achieve your objectives. If they have contributed multiple times, leave a word about their donation history.

When writing an appreciation email, the best practice is to keep it short and open it with a line that grabs your donor’s attention. Keep in mind that they are probably receiving thousands of emails. Make yours stand out. 

While at it, make the email about the donor’s contribution. One mistake schools (and other non-profits) make is writing a gratitude message highlighting their achievements.

Instead, rise above the clutter and make the message about the donor’s contribution.

Also, avoid asking for another donation when thanking your donor. That would be an easy way of creating resentment. However, you may provide the donor with alternative ways of reaching out should they wish to contribute in the future. 

Principles of an Effective Donor Acknowledgement

Thank them on time

You must thank your supporters within a few days of donating. Preferably, you should send the message within 2-3 days. Sending the appreciation 10 days later will only portray your school as ungrateful, discouraging the donor from contributing in the future. 

Be authentic

Don’t write the message because you are obliged to. Give your message that human touch. Your donor wants to feel truly appreciated, not just a number or a name on a letter. Add some relevant details that will make the donor feel important.

Highlight the Impact

As above-mentioned, your appreciation should concentrate on how the donation impacted your cause. Throw in a short story, not just numbers. Show the donor that their gift, no matter how small, directly helped a student. If students didn’t have tablets, but a donor’s donation helped one student get one, highlight it in your note of appreciation.

For example: ‘Your contribution of $100 went a long way towards helping our 5th-grade students get quality instructional materials. Thank you so much for your donation. You truly made a difference.”

Appreciate them frequently

Make it a habit to thank your supporters, not just after they’ve donated. Are you worried that you will send out too many ‘thank you’ messages? Don’t fret. No amount of appreciation is too much appreciation. It is better to bombard your supporters with appreciation messages than to make them feel like you are not grateful enough.

Final Words

Thanking your supporters is not only a necessity. It is also a great way of strengthening your relationship with them, which is also an excellent donor retention strategy. 

Don’t forget to check out our list of fundraising solutions that will help you engage donors, raise money, and support education for our children.