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June 27, 2022
by Holley Snaith

How Donor Recognition Impacts Donor Retention

How Donor Recognition Impacts Donor Retention

Nonprofits cannot put a price on the value of their donors, after all, they are the ones that allow your organization to carry out its mission. Donor recognition is how you choose to recognize your donors for their gifts, and it plays a key role in donor retention. This article will look at why donor recognition impacts the donor retention rate, ways to recognize donors, and why a digital donor wall is a resourceful tool to utilize for donor recognition.

Why Donor Recognition Matters 

After a donor gives, they want to know that their gift is meaningful to your cause and that they are appreciated. If they feel like they are undervalued, chances are, they will not be motivated to give again. One-time donors decrease your donor retention rate, which is simply dividing the number of repeat donors during the current year by the number of donors who gave during the previous year.

Returning Donors in Year 2


Creating and practicing unique and personal donor recognition strategies will help nonprofit organizations cultivate strong connections with their donors. This will ultimately lead to a higher donor retention rate, lower attrition rate, and an increase in revenue. 

Major donors are often included on a traditional donor wall or in an annual report, but every single donor, regardless of their gift size, deserves a personal thank you for their contribution. In addition, because donors care about the work that your nonprofit is doing, they also deserve to know how their money is being spent.


Donor appreciation gifts (such as tote bags, mugs, calendars, etc.) are thoughtful gestures, but many donors prefer not to receive a gift because they want your dollars to be invested in your mission. Alternatively, a donor recognition wall, donor stories, and social media are more cost-effective ways to show your appreciation to donors. 

Formulating a strong donor recognition plan will have an endless number of positive effects on your nonprofit, such as: forming long-term relationships with donors, increasing the number of retained donors, encouraging donors to continue to give and give more, and inspiring one-time donors to become regular donors. 


Ways to Show Donor Recognition 

Now that we have an understanding of the effect recognizing donors has on retention, let’s look at a couple of ways to show donor recognition. 


Say “Thank You” to Donors

It may seem like a no-brainer to say “thank you” to donors for their gifts, but this simple gesture can go a long way in ensuring donor retention. Set up an automated “thank you” response to go out to donors immediately after the donation is made, then follow up with a more personalized thank you letter or email specifying the impact of their gift. 

Publicly thank your donors through OmniAlly’s digital donor recognition wall or virtual wall, in newsletters, on social media, and even at special events. Saying “thank you” will lay the foundation for long-term relationships with donors.

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Highlight Donors 

While there are donors who prefer to remain anonymous, the majority want to be recognized for their gifts, and highlighting specific donors is a great way to publicly show appreciation. 

A donor highlight simply means spotlighting a major or long-term donor to showcase how that donor has supported your organization and the impact they have made. Highlights can be shared on social media with a “Donor of the Month” post, through digital donor recognition displays, on your website, or in newsletters. 


Visual Storytelling 

Donors love seeing visuals that tell the story of your nonprofit and its work. Sharing impact stories through digital video walls, emails or letters, social media, and on your website is powerful because donors hear first-hand accounts from those whose lives were changed due to their gift. These stories inspire donors to continue to contribute to your cause and also spread the word about your incredible work.


Each of these donor recognition methods are clever ways to attract new donors and help your nonprofit exceed the average donor retention rates. 


How OmniAlly Can Help

If you are looking for a straightforward way to implement these approaches to donor recognition, OmniAlly’s donor recognition solutions can do it all. 

Say “thank you” in a bold and ultramodern way through your digital donor wall, immediately grabbing the attention of everyone who walks through your door. 

Also, showcase your donors through donor lists, advertise capital campaigns by highlighting major donors and sharing updates, and display meaningful impact stories

Because your digital donor wall can be synchronized with your website, you have the option of displaying all of this on your virtual donor wall. 


In addition to recognizing donors, your wall can operate as an interactive digital wall, acting as a touch screen and encouraging giving by simply scanning a QR code. 

To reach the goals established in your fundraising effectiveness project, incorporate a digital donor wall into your stewardship plan and ensure donor retention. 



Maintaining a strong donor retention rate plays a big role in the success of your fundraising efforts and the effectiveness of your nonprofit. The implementation of donor recognition into your stewardship plan is a vital part of ensuring donor retention. 

Saying “thank you” to all donors, taking the time to highlight specific donors, and sharing stories of impact are all effective methods of showing donor appreciation. OmniAlly’s donor recognition solutions can do all of this, making the process as simple and seamless as possible for your nonprofit. 

Want more information on Donor Retention? Click here.

To learn more about this modern approach to donor recognition, contact OmniAlly today!