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8 Ways to Surprise & Delight the Donor Who Has Everything

By Holly Kizer


Sailing the world, designer handbags, vacation homes—how can we show our major gift donors our appreciation when they truly have everything money can buy? This is where creativity meets thoughtfulness. We want donors to know we are listening to them— and are invested in their lives—as they invest in your organization.


Begin by creating a document that includes important dates in your donor’s life—birthdays, anniversaries, holidays that are important to them, and upcoming life events. Add these dates to your Outlook calendar so they are at the top of your mind, and you have ample time to plan a thoughtful touch.


Next, think of thoughtful ideas that can’t be “bought” but are very meaningful to your donor. Below is a list of creative ways to show appreciation and let your major gift donors know your organization is always thinking of them—so they will think of you, too!

  1. Does your donor travel to a vacation home for parts of the year? Send a basket of goodies from an online retailer or local store to welcome them to their vacation home with a note saying you hope they have a wonderful time.

  2. Create a personalized impact video specifically for your donor with interviews or clips from the people their gift benefits. You can do this on a cellphone—the more organic and authentic, the better!

  3. Does your donor have a favorite flower? Send a small bouquet on their anniversary or birthday to wish them well.

  4. Local treats are always a welcome treat! Maybe your donor lives in another state (or country!), but there is a local cookie shop or honey that is famous in your city that can’t be found anywhere else. Send a small local treat with a thinking of you note as a little happy to bring part of “home” to them. This is especially relevant for universities where a local “hot spot” can bring back many fond memories.

  5. Commission a watercolor painting of a building or space made possible by your donor’s generosity.

  6. For the avid sports fan, send a game ball or helmet to a donor who is invested heavily in athletics.

  7. Life events that are important to you are important to your donors, too! Send backpacks with university-themed paper and pencils to your donors who have new kindergarteners as a wonderful back-to-school touch.

  8. Frame a piece of music or art created by a student in a program supported by the donor, with a note thanking them for making their dream a reality because of the donor’s support.

The key here is to think outside the box. When thinking of ways to show your appreciation to major donors, remember they are choosing to invest in your organization, and that is the true gift.


We hope you enjoyed this post by Holly Kizer and that you'll join us in welcoming her as an Associate at the DRG Group. Learn more about Holly here—and stay tuned to meet more of the amazing group of Associates we've welcomed to our growing team!