Donor Stewardship Tips

What is Donor Stewardship?

Donor Stewardship is about effectively caring for your donors in a way that allows you to foster long-term relationships with them that are beneficial to everyone involved. This means conveying how much you really appreciate each donor’s contribution to your organization and how much you care about them as members of your community.

Following an effective stewardship plan can help you to create strong personal connections between your donors and your mission, transitioning them from supporters to integral members of your organization.

Donor Stewardship Tips

Donor Stewardship begins before or as soon as you receive your first donations from an individual. You should start thinking about how you can use the information you provide to foster future donor stewardship efforts. Sharing concrete examples of what your organization has been able to do with an individual's donation makes their impact feel much more tangible. Work on weaving these types of updates with your organization's mission to foster a greater sense of connection with each supporter.
If you are already working to engage your board in your year-round efforts, then you should also utilize them in your stewardship goals. Share the donor stewardship resources with your board members at your next meeting or host a get together specifically targeted to training your board in the wonderful ways of donor stewardship.

Showing genuine, timely, and regular donor appreciation is a huge part of maintaining strong relationships with your supporters. A “Thank You” message following a donation should be your standard practice. On your profile editor, you will be able to create a custom “Thank You” message during your profile completion process; but, the gratitude should not stop there! Hand-written letters and personal calls can be even more impactful. In addition to the standardized thank you message that is included with your donor’s online donation receipt, consider sending out a more personalized message a few weeks to a month after their donation.

This correspondence should include your donor’s name and other personalized features. Tell them how their gift is changing or improving the services you provide as a nonprofit. If possible, show them the impact their gift is making with concrete images or stories.

Donor Stewardship and the gratitude that you show for your donors does not begin and end after the initial thank you message and/or call. Rather, it is about starting a dialogue with your donors that makes them feel as though they are a concrete part of your organization and community.

You can start this dialogue by asking your donors how they prefer to be contacted (phone, email, text message, etc.) and then proceed to contact them in that way. Showing initial respect for their preferences will go a long way. With their permission, add them to your newsletter!

Ask your donors for feedback and be an active listener by monitoring your social channels and emails to keep track of popular suggestions. Make sure you follow up with your donors and inform them of how you are using your feedback to move forward.

Interested in more ways to keep the dialogue going with donors? Check out these creative ways to show continued and sustainable gratitude throughout the year.

Schedule regular touch points on your annual calendar to ensure that you are staying constantly engaged with your donors.

  • Make it a point to share images and updates on projects that your donors’ contributions are directly helping to fund.
  • Organize reminders to reach out to your supporters on special dates, like anniversaries, birthdays, or major milestones for your organization.

Want to learn even more about Donor Stewardship? Check out our 8-Step Donor Stewardship Guide for Nonprofits here!