Contrary to popular belief, those who give to charity prefer to give in exchange for no reward. Their insistence – several research studies have shown – is on not tainting their altruism with material recompense for their donations cluttering their giving scape. For example, a Stanford study conducted by Dr. Dale Miller revealed that people are more likely to buy a product and allow a fraction of its price to be channeled into charity, rather than donate to a fundraiser online and be sent a gift as acknowledgement for the contribution.

Yet, it turns out that most campaigners, individuals and NGO representatives and activists, look for ways to honour and celebrate not just donations to their championed cause, but the very people who have given to these projects. This eagerness to express gratitude that has been profoundly felt, and has made a difference to human lives, is as natural and needs to be accommodated into donor communication strategies designed by nonprofits.

Once you have closed your fundraiser, whether it is an NGO crowdfunding campaign or a series of offline fundraising events, you do owe it your donors to let them know how you utilize funds raised. Personalized emails, and an annual organization report should go out to each contributor, to offer them the transparency they seek, and to build trust, so they come back to donate again. Another engaging way of creating lasting alliances with donors is to invite them into your organization for behind the scenes tours, or a chance to volunteer their time and labour at any time of their choosing.

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Rewards for donations also depend on what kind of fundraiser you have run. If you have crowdfunded, for example, to fund your first music album or to give shape to a theatre production you have dreamed about for years, then a free CD or a special show for your donors is possibly the nicest reward you can offer. Filmmakers can mail DVDs; writers who have crowdfunded for self-publication can organize a reading hour in association with a community library; artists can set aside a mid-morning or late-evening period for donors who chipped in to make their exhibition happen.

People who have raised money for medical treatment through medical crowdfunding and made a recovery can simply write personalized notes to their donors, and craft a compelling social media shout out message of acknowledgement. A couple of follow up emails charting how the patient is transitioning back into health and regular life, and perhaps an image or video of them addressing donors in a brief message of thanks, goes a long way and retaining goodwill and amity.

Nonprofits that work with people in rehabilitation programs, or have a social enterprise arm that uses traditional capitalist mechanisms to generate revenue (by manufacturing products) can send customized merchandise to donors as a token of thanks. Startups that have been crowdfunded by the rewards-based model have this choice also, instead of offering equity.

By thanking donors, you also increase awareness for your cause and create a feeling of involvement between cause and donor that makes room for the human touch that is so crucial to fundraising initiatives. People give when they are emotionally touched. By extending expressed gratitude, invincible human bridges close gaps between those who need and those and give.