Appreciation is a wonderful thing: It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well. ~ Voltaire
soft-serve-swirl-waffle-coneOn Heritage Day, a statutory holiday in Alberta, I was walking down 17th Avenue in Calgary when a lady who works for AMA stopped me and asked if I was a member.

“As a matter of fact, I am,” I replied, showing her my AMA card.

She directed me to an ice-cream truck for a free ice-cream cone as my reward for being a member and carrying my card with me.

This got me to thinking about the ways that we show appreciation to donors.

What one organization did

A local organization budgeted a certain amount of money to host an appreciation event each year. It took a lot of work and time to plan it, and attendance had been dwindling the last few years.

The Development team got together to talk about what might be more meaningful to its monthly donors and decided to treat them to a day at the zoo with their families.

Donors received a bracelet that gave them entry into the zoo. As they visited the various areas of the zoo, staff from the organization watched for people wearing the bracelets so that they could personally thank them and take their pictures.

At 5PM all the organization’s donors were invited to a tent set up to serve them dinner. The organization hosted a short program so that the CEO could thank them for their support and share the organization’s most recent news. While they ate, the photos that had been taken of them were shown on a big screen.

This event was successful as a perk for monthly donors and an improved ROI for the organization because:

  • donors enjoyed a day at the zoo with their families visiting whichever exhibits they chose; as opposed to attending a strict program.
  • donors loved posing for pictures and meeting one-to-one, and chatting, with staff. They also enjoyed seeing themselves on the big screen and on the organization’s Facebook page after the event; many shared the organization’s photo album on their own Facebook page. (focus on the donor instead of the organization.)
  • some of the others who came as guests of the donors signed up for the organization’s monthly donor program.
  • The zoo event cost half as much as the previous year’s event and took less staff time to organize.

Showing appreciation and offering perks to your most loyal supporters does not have to break the bank.

What are some of the ways that your organization appreciates its donors?

related post: What are Monthly Donor Programs and Why Should You Have One?

The purpose of this blog is to facilitate discussions that will help us all to better engage with our communities. Your participation and feedback are most welcomed and valued. Please join the discussion below.



  1. Kristi

    Care…and you’ll be cared for. Any organization that includes this in their services or products is always going to be successful… because they’ll have loyal customers or donors. Great post!

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