How to Thank Your Collectors

by Carolyn Edlund

Build relationships with your art collectors by sharing your appreciation.



A professional fundraiser once recounted a rule of thumb in her industry with regard to donors. She said they should be “thanked seven times” before asking for more support. People who give money to charity need to know that they are appreciated. This rule gives plenty of reasons to follow up.

Artists with collectors should also be cognizant of the importance of staying in touch. As you show gratitude and make a personal connection, your collectors will be reminded of how much they enjoyed making their acquisition.

The word collector suggests a person who owns more than one piece by a given artist. Do you continue to cultivate collectors after their first purchase has been made? If so, are you bringing them into your network of friends and associates? Or just advertising more art for sale?

Consider the following ways to grow that important relationship by honoring your collectors and recognizing them as VIPs:

  • Send a thank you gift or bonus when you ship or deliver the art. This could be a set of notecards featuring the image of the work they bought, or a small item such as a preliminary sketch.
  • Follow up with a handwritten thank you letter. Everyone loves to be recognized, and this is a very personal way to acknowledge them. Considering how mail has devolved to ads and bills, a card in their mailbox will be noticed and appreciated.
  • Send them a holiday card. Move your relationship beyond a strictly business one to making them part of your personal network with greetings of the season.
  • Wish them well on their birthday or other special occasion. It’s not difficult to learn a birthdate; this information may be on social media if you are connected there. Or you could ask them when you are creating their customer account.
  • Remind them of the excitement of their purchase by sending a note on the anniversary of the date they acquired your work. Thank them again for their patronage.
  • Request a photo of your art in their space, and indicate whether you plan to share it on your website, social media or elsewhere. Recognizing them as an important collector may extend to them giving you a testimonial if appropriate.
  • When you promote your next new release, offer them a preview and first chance to shop online.
  • Send your collector a personal thank you video from you as the artist through email or social channels.
  • Give them a special VIP preview or an invitation to a collector party prior to your next open studio event.
  • Attend events they support. As you become part of their circle, honor your relationship by showing up, donating to or assisting with projects they regard as valuable.
  • Make an appearance at an “unveiling party” to present their work of art. This is a chance to celebrate! When the artist attends and gives a brief talk about their work, it shows respect for the collector.

Open the conversation again

Are there collectors on your list who haven’t heard from you in a while? Plan to reconnect with them personally by reaching out using one of these ideas. Most collectors really enjoy knowing the artist, and your talents are regarded as very special.

Quite often it’s beneficial to both parties to pursue a relationship. If they don’t respond, you have nothing to lose by contacting them with a heartfelt thank you or recognition of them as a collector.


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  1. I worry that getting back in touch with a buyer (once we have their contact details) could be seen as unsolicited and unwelcome, even if our intentions are sincere in showing our appreciation – I sent a new buyer a small pack of postcards with her purchase and she called it clever marketing, but I genuinely wanted her to have this token gift as a thank you and I worry I came over as pushy.

  2. Clair,
    Your art gift was a perfect gesture. Some people are just on the defensive for some reason. I wouldn’t let that discourage you, just move your energy to another collector that would appreciate your efforts. So far any extra gifts and or contact has been warmly welcomed from my collectors. There will be a few here and there who are not open to such things. Personally, I would have been thrilled!

    • Thank you Debbie that’s so helpful. I did receive a request for another pack of postcards from a buyer as her little nephews had taken them to put on their wall! This buyer offered to pay for a pack too but I sent them anyway because it cheered me so much to hear this – I think we get too easily knocked at times when we shouldn’t xx

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