Results from hybrid density functional theory calculations on the thermodynamic stability and optical properties of the Zn vacancy (VZn) complexed with common donor impurities in ZnO are reported. Complexing VZn with donors successively removes its charge-state transition levels in the band gap, starting from the most negative one. Interestingly, the presence of a donor leads only to modest shifts in the positions of the VZn charge-state transition levels, the sign and magnitude of which can be interpreted from a polaron energetics model by taking hole-donor repulsion into account. By employing a one-dimensional configuration coordinate model, luminescence lineshapes and positions were calculated. Due to the aforementioned effects, the isolated VZn gradually changes from a mainly nonradiative defect with transitions in the infrared region in n -type material, to a radiative one with broad emission in the visible range when complexed with shallow donors.