Three ways to steward a donor relationship


The holiday season is the perfect time to reflect on the past year. Your organization was likely blessed in countless ways over the last 12 months and you should recognize and acknowledge those blessings. It is especially important this time of year to maintain donor relationships by showing your appreciation.

One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to assume donors know how their gift impacted your organization. It’s easy to fall into the trap of losing touch with your donors as the months and years pass from their initial gift, but it is important to continue, and ultimately strengthen, your relationship with them.

Stewarding your donors is more than just an immediate acknowledgement letter and an annual tax receipt. Stewardship means showing how important they are to your organization and how their gift made a difference in your mission.

Here are three ways you should be stewarding your donors:

Annual stewardship reports: Every organization, big and small, should be sharing an annual report summarizing your organization’s finances. These reports can be a bit dry, so overcome that by highlighting the faces of your organization and celebrating your accomplishments for the year. For example, how many families joined your parish this year? How many meals did you provide to the hungry? How many baptisms did you celebrate? How many parks were cleaned up? Show donors how their gifts made all these things possible. Your organization wouldn’t exist without them!

Progress photos: If you recently started construction or a renovation, show your donors! Watching walls come down and go back up isn’t just fun on HGTV. Use social media to show your donors the progress being made on a weekly or monthly basis. They will appreciate seeing their dollars at work.

Hand-written notes: Never underestimate the power of a hand-written “thank you” note. A custom note addressed to your top supporters will remind them that you don’t just think of them when it’s time for another appeal. Your top donors probably receive lots of communications from many organizations, so taking the time to hand-write a note will help you stand out and ensure they feel appreciated.

Stewarding your donors plays a key role in the success of a development program. If your donors don’t feel appreciated or informed, you could see a dip in support. These simple steps can go a long way to maintaining great relationships.

If you have more questions about stewardship or about the services we offer at the Steier Group, feel free to contact me.

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