Yesterday, I wrote about getting yourself a ‘Donate’ button. If you haven’t, please do so. Now you have a donate button. Even link to the donation form from your app so that users that get your app with a distro will know how to give back. What now?

As long as you’ve put it in an obvious place and you let people know it’s there, sooner or later, there probably will be a donation. Instead of scrambling when that happens, take a minute write down and draft an e-mail thanking the donor for their contribution. Nothing will make them feel some instant gratification that to hear your thanks a minute after giving.

Here are a few other ways you can say thank you.

  1. List the donors on your site : You could list them alphabetically, but why not list them by when they donated, oldest donations first so there’s incentive to donate. Or by how much they have given? For the biggest donation, list the dollar amount. It’s like a scoreboard and when people see what they have to beat to be at the top, they may decide to give a little more. Maybe not- what do you have to lose?
  2. List the donors in the app itself : Maybe on the “about” dialog or in its own dedicated window.
  3. Make a thank-you theme or template : If your app allows for user specified themes or templates for use with the app, make a super-nice custom one that you e-mail as a thank you for donations. Don’t enhance functionality as a thank-you- that’s called shareware. But enhance the experience.
  4. Make a Donor Badge : Put together a really nice web badge that the donor can afix to their website saying they donated. Free advertising and a sense of satisfaction for the donor!
  5. List the donors in your newsletter : Hint, hint. You should be sending one.
  6. Give them a feature : There was a post recently about helping donors think of those donations as investments. It’s a tricky way to say thank you. If you promise a feature for every donation, it will get out of control. But for a certain dollar amount, maybe its something to consider. At the very least though, you can personally pick the donors brain as to how they use the app and things that would help them and include those on your roadmap if relevant.
  7. Tell them what you did with the donation : Even easier than promising a feature in return, as you work and maybe even in your changelog, note that the donation went to fund work on a specific feature. It gives the donor a sense of pride and ownership that this button was something they helped with.