thank you videos

Warming a donor’s heart is a logical goal when thanking them for their support, and the most powerful way to do that is with thank you videos.

Sending acknowledgement letters and making phone calls to thank their donors is a great first step.  These are simple and effective ways of thanking your donors.

But creating and sending thank you videos can help you show rather than tell your supporters how much you appreciate them.

Your thank you videos let you express your thanks in a more exciting and engaging way.

And when you personalize the video, donors will be wowed that you took the time to say “thanks” specifically to them.

Video can be tricky if you’re new to it, but don’t worry. Being authentic is more important than having a polished video. That means you can grab your smart phone and shoot a short, heartfelt message that will melt your donor into a puddle of  joy.

Ok, you ready?

To show your donors just how grateful you are for their support, here are 10 tips for creating thank you videos that will change the way you show gratitude.

1. Emphasize Your Mission

People donate money because they want to see a change in their community and in the world. So, be sure to connect their support with the impact it will make in your video. Show them how they have helped make change possible by shooting your thank you videos from the front lines of your nonprofit’s work. Or, if it’s appropriate, involve a program participant in the video. Donors love to see their gift in action!

Our friends at Illuminate India showed donors how their gifts helped feed hungry kids. You can watch the video here.

2. Don’t Make it Another Ask

It’s tempting to use this as an opportunity to ask your donor for more money, but don’t. This is not the time. The point of your thank you videos is to THANK THEM and nothing else. Anything else is a distraction. So, don’t mention your upcoming event or volunteer orientation. There are other times and ways to share that information. In your thank you videos, stay focused on the donor and the impact their support has made.

3. Be Transparent

Donors want to know that they made a good choice to give to your nonprofit and that the gift is having the impact they hoped it would. In short, they want to know that you have used their money wisely. Use your thank you video to give donors insight on the progress of the program or service that they supported.  Even if their donation went to operating expenses, show them how those operating funds allowed you to expand your mission and change more lives. This is part of being transparent, and transparency builds trust with your donor.

4. Keep It Short and Sweet

These days, people have the attention span of a goldfish. Not kidding! That means they won’t watch a long video. So, keep your thank you videos short and simple by focusing on direct impact. Remember, this is one of many touch points you will have with your donor over the year and you want to use the short time wisely.

5. Make it Timely

Everyone loves to feel special and your supporters want to feel satisfied that they’ve given to a trustworthy cause. Donors deserve to feel like they are a priority and like they are a part of your nonprofit’s family. By sending the thank you video within a couple of weeks, you help make sure they feel valued, and you remind them that their support is not being taken for granted.

6. Recognize Their Contribution

You can add an extra touch to your thank you video by recognizing specifics in the donor’s contribution. For your larger donors, making a video just for them, sharing how their donation made an impact can go a long way.  Use this as a chance to connect the donor to your organization and show how vital they are to the present and future of your organization’s mission.

I’ve seen personalized video result in extra donations from some top donors, with additional gifts of $2,000 to $5,000 showing up unexpectedly a few days after the thank you video was received and viewed!

7. Keep it Personal

This one is hard to scale, but personalize as much as you can. If your donor is in the top 15% of givers, they should not be getting a generic thank you video. Make it personal to them. You can easily shoot a personalized video on your smart phone, upload it to YouTube, then send them the link. Or you can use a tool like  ThankView or Gratavid to make it easier.

Adopt-A-Dog sent me a personalized video that was a story of a dog named Hugo Boss. Notice the name of the video – “Thank you Sandy!”
You can watch the video here.

8. Get Creative

It can be easy to get lost in talking about your organization’s impact and connecting with the donor that you don’t prioritize the main point of the video: the actual “thank you.” Have some fun with it! Does your organization help kids in the inner city? Gather some kids around the camera and have them thank the donor personally. Do you build houses for the underserved? Hang a big “Thank You!” sign over the door with a happy homeowner giving their thanks. Think about ways you can surprise and delight your donors. And make it easy for you to deliver a powerful, heartwarming thank you video at the same time.

9. Positive Tone

No matter what your mission is, your nonprofit is here to make the world a better place. Let that desire to make a difference guide the tone of your videos.  Remember to keep it upbeat. If you are personalizing dozens of them, make sure each one is as enthusiastic as the first. We find it helpful to put an extra pot of coffee on when thanking donors. Just make sure that the thank you video brings a smile to your donor’s face!

10. Showing Gratitude Doesn’t End With a Video

Taking the extra step to thank your donors with a video is extremely meaningful and important, but the thank-yous don’t stop here.  Have a system in place to know who, when, how and where donors will be thanked.  From sending regular mailers to thanking them at fundraisers, the thank you video is a launching pad for your appreciation, not an ending point.

Thank you videos are just one part of a donor acknowledgement plan, designed to provide your donor with an amazing experience so that they are excited to help the next time you ask.

The Bottom Line

Thank you videos are a powerful way to express your gratitude for your donor’s support. And it’s perfectly ok to shoot video with your smart phone. Authenticity is better than perfection, so don’t worry too much about it being polished. Get the lighting and sound right, then speak from your heart, from you to your donor.

Then get ready for the magic! Don’t be surprised if donors respond with grateful emails or messages, or even send additional gifts. Thank you videos are just that powerful!

Additional Resources

Sample thank you videos. We have a whole playlist of donor thank you videos on our YouTube channel. You’ll find it here. And please subscribe while you’re there so you can catch cool content we share!

Video Tips. Our friends at Rustic Roots know a few things about creating awesome video for nonprofits. Here are a couple of tips sheets you can download and use to make your videos better: Thank You Video Pro Tips and DIY Video Checklist.