Ever thought about how we, as communicators, can build deeper, long-lasting relationships with our stakeholders, especially our donors? It’s crucial because donors are emotionally connected to our mission. Plus, it’s more cost-efficient to retain a donor than to find a new one. We should honor their commitment by viewing them as long-term relationships rather than transactional interactions.

Having a good grasp on the wants and needs of your donors, can really make a difference in your donor communications. The concept of love languages, popularized by Gary Chapman in his book “The Five Love Languages,” is all about understanding how people prefer to give and receive appreciation. By applying this idea, we can enhance our donor communication and thank you strategies in a truly fresh way.

Here are some ways to apply the love languages to your donor cultivation and outreach strategies.

Words of Affirmation

Let’s start with telling your donors how awesome they are! This language is pretty familiar to most of us, but using positive, uplifting language helps to affirm their impact and make them feel like the hero. Personal notes that mention specific contributions, public shoutouts on social media, and personalized stories of how their donations make a difference also show them that they’re truly valued. This type of donor communication builds a strong emotional connection.

Acts of Service

Or you can show your appreciation with actions. Acts of service can demonstrate that you’re willing to go the extra mile for your donors, enhancing donor cultivation. Some ideas that would align with this love language are:

  • Offering to customize their donor engagement journey by asking for their preferences on communication and interests.
  • Providing a dedicated contact person for inquiries, and invite them to special events that make them feel valued.
  • Meeting them where they are when asking for a meeting or other engagement.
  • Providing easy access to updates or materials for them to share with others in their network.

Quality Time

You can take it a step further and spend some meaningful time with your donors. One idea is to host one-on-one meetings, either over coffee or virtually, and invite them to exclusive behind-the-scenes tours. Personalized updates and regular communication also shoes your commitment to keeping them in the loop fand feeling like part of the team. Quality time strengthens the relationship and shows that you value their time and investment in your mission.


Some people much prefer the warmth of a thoughtful gift. Send small, meaningful tokens like custom bookmarks, artwork from program participants, or branded items to connect with donors on this level. You can also celebrate significant milestones with relevant special gifts or share customized and personalized updates to show donors their own specific long-term impact. Thoughtful gifts serve as tangible reminders of their contributions and strengthen donor loyalty.

Physical Touch (Adapted)

This final love language can certainly be tricky in our professional connections, but there are ways to tap into the concept.

  • Create a warm and welcoming environment during events or tours with friendly handshakes and personal greetings.
  • Offer VIP treatment with special seating and exclusive access.
  • Even virtual high-fives through enthusiastic messages can convey appreciation and connection.

These adapted forms of physical touch helps make donors feel physically connected and appreciated.

The Great Donor Communications Formula?

Engaged Donors are Long-term Donors.

Having a good grasp on the wants and needs of your donors, whether that is looking at their love language or otherwise, can make the difference between an engaged donor and a passive one. By incorporating words of affirmation, acts of service, quality time, thoughtful gifts, and adapting the idea of physical touch into your donor thank you messages, you create deeper, more personal connections with your supporters.

If you are looking to go deeper on this topic, join us as we host a webinar at the end of this month on crafting messages that build stronger donor communications and connections. We will be talking about about how to keep your donors appreciated and engaged all year long!

Published On: July 10, 2024|Categories: Creating Relevant and Engaging Messaging, Fundraising|