Thanking donors in the social age

One of the most important steps in fundraising comes after a donor makes a gift: a thank you is the pivotal step from a transaction to a relationship between an individual and an organization. Knowing how critical a thank you can be, UWATX wanted to find a new way to thank donors during the holiday season.


Research shows donors want to be thanked before they are ready to engage with an organization further. This is a challenge for UWATX, where much of our relationship with donors is filtered or restricted by our company partners. We wanted to find an innovative way to thank donors that would break through the clutter and be memorable.


Thank donors individually via social media by posting their photo and tagging the donor or mentioning them. Run this during the busy holiday season to break through the clutter and build on the spirit of the season.

Key Insights:


#ThankYouThursday posts had an immediate impact – fundraisers started receiving emails thanking them for the recognition from the first post. More than that, because the cadence of the posts was so regular (every Thursday), internal staff began requesting donors to thank. In all, #ThankYouThursday posts gained from two to 10 times as many engagements (likes, comments & shares) on Facebook as other posts during the same time.

Lessons learned:

We saw less engagement on Twitter and learned that our audience of donors preferred Facebook as their primary social network. We also learned what factors predicted how far a post would go: (1) if a fundraiser was friends with a donor on Facebook and could tag them, (2) the size of a donor’s social network and personal engagement on Facebook.

Technology:  Facebook, Twitter, Illustrator, Photoshop

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