Donor Stewardship: 5 Ideas to Incorporate

It is easier to keep donors than it is to generate new ones and the way relationships are maintained is directly going to affect future support of your organization.  Supporters of your organization should be treated the same as how you would treat your dearest friends – because they are your organization's dearest friends.

Being a fundraiser, we all know how many responsibilities you have on your plate.  Listed below are a few ideas that would be beneficial to incorporate into your stewardship efforts (if you haven’t already). 

  1. Keep track of little things that you notice about your donor.  What their hobbies are, what their families interests are, their favorite foods, etc.  If you see an article or know of an upcoming event that you know they’d be interested in – call and tell them!   This will mean something to the donor that you think of them.
  2. Send a greeting card or note at an unexpected time.  You most likely are already sending cards for the birthdays, anniversaries and during the holiday season.  Consider the more unique times to send a card that isn’t as traditional, such as on Thanksgiving or Valentine’s Day.  Not many other organizations are doing this, and it is a time that allows you to bring a smile to their face. 
  3. Pick up the telephone and call them just to say “hello” and see how they are doing.  Set a goal that is respectful of your schedule to call X amount of donors a week and cycle through a list.  If they mention that they are visiting the grandchildren in Colorado next month, jot that note down for your list of “little things” about the donor.  Next time you talk to them, ask how their trip was.  They’ll appreciate it that you remembered -- and who doesn’t enjoy talking about their grandchildren?
  4. Create a portfolio of donor stories accompanied by a photograph.  Some donors would love the opportunity to share their story and would be flattered that you think so highly of their interest in your organization.  With permission, this can be used also for an effective marketing tool in literature and on your website.
  5. Host an event for donors at your organization.  Have a luncheon to simply show your appreciation or hold a roundtable to discuss a topic of interest for your organization.  If you’d like to take it one step further, allow the donors to invite their financial advisor to accompany them so that they may also become more familiar with your organization.

Keep in mind it is suggested that 10 to 12 contacts per year is needed to establish a personal relationship.  To maintain this relationship, 6 to 8 contacts annually are needed.  A combination of phone calls, letters, cards, in-person conversations, and the like will be most effective.  Donors prefer to be communicated with via different mediums and it is important to figure out what their preferences are.  

Whenever you communicate with your donors always convey your appreciation for their continued support and let them know just how important they truly are to you. 

By: Kristen Schmidt, Marketing Coordinator

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