Too often, nonprofits get the gift and then move on, forgetting the most important parts of fundraising.
Acknowledgement and donor stewardship are crucial for building relationships with donors.
Acknowledgement you probably understand. It’s about thanking donors and recognizing them for their support. But what is donor stewardship?
First, here are some definitions of a steward:
- An administrator for the property of others
- A person put in charge of the affairs of others
- A person morally responsible for the careful use of money, time, talents or other resources of a community or group
Stewardship is important because it builds trust.
When your donors know that you are using their gift wisely, they’ll be more likely to want to give again. And when you get a reputation for using donations wisely, you’ll attract more donors.
As I see it, there are two key pieces to effective stewardship: 1, you have to do it and 2, you have to communicate it to your donors.
The first piece is simple – make sure that the donor’s money is spent appropriately and wisely. Make sure their gift is set to work as it was intended when it was given.
The second piece requires you to let your donors know that their gift was used wisely and had the desired impact.
How do you do that?
A simple update email or letter can accomplish it, or you can include something in a print or email newsletter.
The important thing is that you are letting your donors know how their gift is being used and you’re connecting with them. You’re respecting your donors and pulling them closer to your organization.
Your donors are not ATM machines. They want to be a part of the work your organization is doing. So, treat them as partners.
Be a good steward of their gifts and build relationships with your donors. You’ll be glad you did!