Video Ideas

Boost Retention & Elevate Donor Thank You Letters with Video

Eliza Talvola


Elevate Donor Thank You Letters with Video & Boost Retention (2)

Every nonprofit knows that getting donations is just half of the battle. Once you’ve received a donation, it's all about keeping those relationships alive and thriving.

In today’s digital age, those quarterly thank you letters and donation forms barely make it out of the mailbox. That’s why many nonprofits are using video to express gratitude and forge deeper connections with their supporters.

Donors enjoy seeing the faces behind your nonprofit and the impact that their donations have made; they want to know that their support is meaningful and powerful. With video, you can kick off a journey that continues long after the initial gift. In this blog, we'll explore the transformative potential of video donor thank you letters and how they can revolutionize your donor retention efforts.

Keep reading to get best practices and a donor thank you letter template so you can get started right away!

What is a donor thank you letter?

Thank you letters are a standard donor retention tool. A donor thank you letter is a personalized expression of gratitude from a nonprofit organization directly to its donors. These letters often outline and recap the latest initiatives of the nonprofit and detail how their donations will be used towards them. At the end, they usually conclude with another message of gratitude and a call to continue to donate and support their mission.

Thank you messages aren’t and certainly shouldn’t go anywhere, but the way they’re shared just might.

Donor thank you letters vs. videos

In nonprofit fundraising, expressing gratitude is not just a nicety—it's a crucial retention tool. Studies consistently show that personalized communications significantly enhance donor retention rates by up to 40% compared to impersonal, blanket thank you letters. Donor thank you letters are the norm, but thank you videos go above and beyond.

Unlike standard thank you letters, nonprofits use thank you videos to provide a visual representation of the impact donors' contributions have made. These videos go beyond written words, using real photos, videos, and stories to illustrate the real-world impact. So instead of telling them about their impact, you can show them.

With video, you can share real-life, on-the-ground photos and videos of your team, ongoing efforts, and beneficiaries. These videos can easily be personalized to each donor which will not only humanize your brand, but it will help you to forge a more personal connection. Ongoing (and compelling) gratitude of this level shows your donors that their donations do not go unnoticed.

Today, donor thank you videos are the gold standard for donor engagement and retention. You don’t have to be a professional video editor to make them, and these videos can actually save you time and money in the long run! We’ve made it easy for you to turn your donor thank you letter into a video. Just use the template below to get started.

Check out this example made by one of our Animoto users to get inspired!


First things first, use our Donor Thank You letter template! Then, it’s as easy as dragging and dropping in your photos and videos, adding a custom thank you message, and applying your brand. Once you’ve created one video, you can easily duplicate, tweak, and send individualized videos to each of your donors.

This template is a great starting point! Just create a free Animoto account then use the tips and best practices below to customize it to you.

Donor thank you video best practices: What to say and include

From the essential elements to creating heartfelt messages that resonate, we'll share the key components of every truly effective thank you video. Whether you're a seasoned nonprofit pro or new to the world of donor communications, these tips will help you create a professional and compelling thank you video. And you do NOT need to be a video maker to get started.

Personalize your video

First and foremost, make each and every donor feel seen and appreciated. By customizing each thank you letter, you can do exactly that. Easy ways to customize your video include:

  • Use donors’ names in the intro and outro
  • Introduce yourself and sign off by inviting them to reach out to you personally
  • Add webcam recordings where you, your team, or CEO speaks directly to the donors
  • Include photos and videos of the specific projects their donations went to
  • Mention specifics about the donor’s contributions

This vital step can help you to build a personal and lasting relationship with donors. Knowing that you created a video just for them will make them feel valued and impressed by your thoughtfulness.

Be friendly and genuine

Speak in a friendly and genuine voice. A message that sounds canned and inauthentic will make your donors tune your message out entirely. Just like you can use personalized greetings to grab their attention, a friendly and personable voice keeps them hooked all the way to the end.

Use storytelling to illustrate impact

Every good video tells a story. Instead of diving straight into the numbers, tell the story of their impact. Share stories from individual beneficiaries or highlight specific initiatives that have been made possible through their support. By sharing personal stories, you’ll be able to showcase the tangible difference that their donations have made and evoke a sense of empathy and connection with the recipients.

Use a variety of visuals and add your brand

Incorporating photos and videos into your donor thank you letters enhances engagement and emotional connection. They can bring the impact of donor support to life and reinforce the importance of their contributions. This transparency and social proof will help your nonprofit build credibility and encourage donors to stick around for the long haul Be sure to apply your brand colors, font, and logo to add a professional touch and build brand recognition.

Be specific

Highlight the tangible outcomes that were made possible by their donation. Lean in to powerful stats like:

  • X meals provided
  • X acres of protected
  • Relief provided to X families in crisis

These stats are easy for donors to remember and feel proud of! Use them to highlight the impact of individual donors and show the value of each and every donation.

Use a clear call to action

Finally, keep the ball rolling! Use gentle but clear calls to action to encourage future support. Examples include:

  • "If you've been inspired by our work, consider joining our community of supporters to continue making a difference together."
  • "Your support fuels our mission. Explore how you can become a part of our journey and help create lasting change."
  • "Every contribution, no matter the size, helps us create positive change. Explore more ways to get involved and support our cause."
  • “Your support matters more than ever. Join us in our efforts to make a difference in the lives of those we serve."
  • “Together, we can achieve so much more. Explore ways to partner with us and be a part of something truly impactful."

Make donor thank you videos easily in Animoto

Donor retention strategies thrive on authentic connections. Genuine messages of gratitude can make all the difference in retaining key donors and supporting the future mission of your nonprofit.

Take the next step by implementing these insights into your own donor thank you videos in Animoto! Just select the donor thank you letter template, customize, and scale up your donor retention efforts with a few clicks. Happy video making!