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Want to Have Repeat Funders? Thank Them Properly!

You just got a grant! After popping open the champagne and doing a happy dance, it’s time to watch for that grant agreement and look forward to the money that will help you reach your goals.

Wait - there’s one absolutely crucial thing you must do first. Thank the funder!

But don’t just thank them with an email. You’re a talented grant professional. You can do so much better than that, and even set the stage for more grants.

You’re also working hard and doing a bazillion things. What are some easy, cost-effective ways to thank funders?

First, research what to do and what NOT to do. Some funders want to remain anonymous. The last thing they want to see is a news release and big announcement when a funder wanted to donate to you on the “down low.”

If the coast is clear and you can publicly recognize the funder, here are my favorite ways to recognize them:

1. A REAL thank you letter or card, an old-fashioned hard copy item you write and sign by hand within 48 hours of the grant notification. Gasp! That alone can make a huge impression. How many funders are getting old school appreciation these days?

By the way, make sure the letter does triple duty - it should be heartfelt, include a tax receipt, and extend an invitation for future engagement.

2. Photos with beneficiaries holding a Thank You sign OR with people involved in the project in “action-mode.”

3. Put their name on a donor plaque or donor wall.

4. Host a once-a-year continental breakfast for local funders. This is a great opportunity for staff and board members to meet people.

5. Have a Thank a Thon where board members call donors simply to say “thank you.” And nothing else. Even if they leave mostly voicemails, this makes a tremendous impression.

6. Mention the award in a news release, in your annual report, website, social media, etc.

7. Have clients create artwork they can put in a thank-you letter, if they’re creative (or if they’re children.)

8. Plant a tree in a funder’s honor. It benefits the environment and provides a cool photo opp for local media.

9. Have your Executive Director, Program Manager, or any staff member call to thank the funder.

Want to learn more? We offer a fun presentation called Knock Their Socks off Thank Yous. Contact Amy Shankland at to request a quote.

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We believe in having creative titles here at Green Avenue. From Grants Guru, to Fabulous Fund Finder, to Chief Grant Getter, to Fundraising Fanatic, we feel like our titles highlight our roles better


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