Cultivating meaningful and enduring relationships with donors is pivotal for sustained fundraising success. The following strategies will help you create a system of stewardship that engages donors and deepens relationships.
Create a Stewardship Calendar
To strengthen the bond between the nonprofit and its top donors, schedule donor-related activities for every month of the year. Creative touch points might include handwritten letters, phone calls and personalized gifts; impact updates with statistics and success stories; thank you notes from staff and constituents; and invitations to grab coffee, tour the facility or participate in an upcoming event.
Express your gratitude by remembering birthdays, anniversaries and any other dates significant to the donor such as an upcoming retirement or recognition of a community award. In addition to creating a calendar, update your online records, so you can run reports and stay ahead of the next month’s stewardship activities.
Update Your Stewardship Plan Annually
Good record-keeping allows you to make each year of stewardship new and fresh. If you mailed a personalized birthday card to a donor last year, make a call and have a few staff and board members sing Happy Birthday to the same donor this year. Adapt your stewardship plan based on how the donor responds. Show them you know them.
Creating a good donor stewardship plan is an ongoing process, so stay observant, humble and flexible. The more you get to know your major donors, the more personalized your stewardship and donor relationships will become; and the more your efforts will be appreciated and rewarded with sustained giving.