Donor Stewardship

January 17, 2011 at 9:15 am 1 comment

Stewardship another word for saying thank you and a process for cultivating donors. (Italics mine)

Merriam Webster Dictionary – stew·ard·ship  noun \ˈstü-ərd-ˌship, ˈstyü-; ˈst(y)u̇rd-\

1 the office, duties, and obligations of a steward (development officer, fundraiser, Board member)

2 the conducting, supervising, or managing of something; especially : the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one’s care <stewardship of natural resources> (Like a contribution!)

Ponder this:

  • How well are we stewarding our donors?
  • Is our donor stewardship donor-centric or efficiently automated?
  • Are we using an integrated approach to stewardship?
  • Is stewardship leading to renewed and upgraded gifts and are we measuring it?

Here’s the good news, the new decade brings new opportunities. Turn over a new leaf. Commit to honest, real, timely donor-centered stewardship.

Now and in the past, donor stewardship is about letting our current donors know how much we appreciate their support and what it has allowed us to do. In the new economy, as the past two years have shown, organizations who “got” donor-centered stewardship survived (maybe even thrived) and those who crawled into a cave to wait out economic tsunami didn’t.

Stewardship today goes way beyond the automatic email receipt and hard copy thank you letter and even phone calls and meetings with those “special donors”. In the new decade (even in the previous decade) we can truly, effectively and efficiently, steward many more donors throughout the fundraising pyramid. The use of electronic communications allows us to integrate on and off line opportunities to welcome first-time donors and truly engage them in our work. We can tell stories more effectively using the voices of those we serve. We can tell what interests a donor about our work and speak to them about what they care about.

It is imperative we create integrated communications and fundraising programs that focus on building life-long loyalty with our donors. Based on their interest, not our efficiencies. If you haven’t read the Fundraising Effectiveness Project from the Association of Fundraising Professionals please do. The kicker is, for every six donors we acquire, we lose six. I would contend, stewardship (or lack thereof) plays a large role in this treadmill.

Entry filed under: Fundraising, Nonprofit fundraising, Resources You Can Use!. Tags: , , , , .

2010 Holiday Giving Survey – Most Charitable Time of the Year! Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. & President John F. Kennedy

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