5 Ways to Show Gratitude to your Camp Donors and Volunteers

We all know that November is an ideal month for expressing gratitude. Here are 5 fantastic ideas to express authentic gratitude to your Jewish Camp volunteers and donors who help your camp thrive.
  1. A personal note of thanks.
The best way to show gratitude is also the most impactful (and does not take a whole day or ding the budget): a personal, genuine handwritten note of thanks. Take a few minutes to reflect and capture your thoughts in a handwritten note to a donor. 

Here are a couple prompts to get you started when writing a personal note: 
  • Prompts for writing a donor: What progress have you witnessed as a result of the donor’s commitment and donations? What do you appreciate about your donor? What are you looking forward to thanks to the donor’s generosity?
  • Prompts for writing a Board member: What have you learned so far in working on the Board with this person? What do you appreciate about them? What are you looking forward to in the coming year in working together on the Board?
Note: The note doesn’t have to be long – write it on postcards made from a camp photo or camper artwork.

  1. A picture is worth a thousand words.
Many major donors have a family member currently at camp, either as a camper or summer staff member. Find their picture at camp! Find one super cute photo to be professionally printed and mailed to the donor with a personal note. In this age of digital photos, an old-fashioned print ready for framing feels special.  

Note for next year: get a list of people whose picture you’d like and ask the photographer to set them aside.

  1. Don’t forget video.
A short, warm video can also show a donor they are appreciated. This video kicking off gratitude week at Ramah in the Rockies is a good example – simple, sort, but effective. And a video personalized for a particular donor or group of donors (everyone who gave to a particular capital project, for example), can be especially effective.       

  1. Tell your donors how their gift was used and thank them again.
Far too often we skip reporting back to our major donors the impact of their gifts.An annual impact report is nice, but it is hard to see how my individual gift was put to good work. Try creating a one-page report for each of your major donors that specifies how their gift was used and what difference it made.
Note: Don’t forget to add a warm, personal cover letter.

  1. Give your donors something from your camp and campers.
Your campers create incredible art during camp – as mentioned above, could anything be repurposed as a stewardship postcard? You could be even more crafty – former board members at Camp Laurelwood have crafted mezuzahs from wood at camp, and a new woodworking program at camp will allow campers to help create additional mezuzahs to send to donors.

Showing gratitude to your donors doesn’t have to be a lot of work. But you do have to make it a priority. Not ready to get notes out in November? Plan now for an end-of-year thank you note or gesture, since your kindness will be remembered and deeply appreciated whenever it is received.
P.S. Do you have another great way to express thanks, or have you been thanked in a way that impressed you? If so, we would love to know about it!

Written by Julia Riseman. Julia is a Mentor with JCamp 180. Julia leads Data2Donors, a program to advance Alumni Outreach, improve camp databases, and raise more major gifts, and Fundraising Fundamentals. Julia has also sparked the creation of many JCamp 180 programs and offerings, including this blog.

Who we are: JCamp 180 is a program of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation (HGF). Our goal is to significantly enhance the long-term effectiveness of nonprofit Jewish camps in North America. To meet this goal, we provide affiliated Jewish camps with consulting services, annual conferences, shared resources, professional development, and matching grant opportunities. Find more at