September 27, 2018
Categories: Budgets and Financial Development
dog with rose in his mouth

We know how important it is to acknowledge people who choose to donate their hard-earned money to your shelter or rescue or organization. But how can you do it in a cost-effective manner?

In a recent Wired Impact blog post, the nonprofit website design company laid out some incentives nonprofits can offer their donors.

But first—do incentives actually work? Well, it’s a mixed bag. One study indicates that some donors don’t prefer a gift. Another says that past donors may not be motivated by incentives, but prospective donors might — just as long it doesn’t outweigh the good they are doing. For example, you don’t want donors thinking that you’re spending too much money on gifts as that would be counterintuitive to your mission.

Physical goods (tote bags, mugs, t-shirts) require keeping inventory and shipping costs. But the following ideas are based more on experiences. These are low-cost or free incentives, but still require man-power to execute.


Thank your donors on your website or send them a hand-written thank you note. Be sure to include how their donation is helping your organization in the note. Thank you notes can be a great thing to let volunteers do. Volunteers are often looking for things they can do in the comfort of their own home, and these are a perfect task for that.

Special Access

Can you give special tours of your facility? Perhaps you can invite a few lucky donors to a photoshoot of your animals. Can you livestream kitten playtime and give access to donors? You want your donors to understand what you are doing and giving access to everyday tasks is a great way to do that. Throw a special meet-and-greet between donors and staff members (be sure to include adoptable pets!) Donors can meet and ask questions of staff members and can get updates on alumni of the shelter or rescue organization.

The post has many more ideas that you can tailor to your organization. Put your creative thinking caps on and see how you can make them work for you.