A Non-Negotiable—Stewarding Donors

You’re busy.  You’re trying to land that big gift before the end of the year. You’ve got a bunch of proposals out there and if half of them come in you’ll hit your goal.  I get it.

But, as you are now in the middle of “crunch time” with your donors, you cannot forget to love them.  What?  That’s right, love them.

You can get so caught up and enamored with cultivating donors for a gift that, once the gift is made, you can easily forget about them.

Joe Garecht asked recently in Fundraising Authority, “Are you Stewarding Your Donors?” He made some good points that you and I need to listen to:

The only way to truly steward your donors is to draw them into a deeper relationship with your organization.  Deep relationships require a give and take, and a greater association than simply writing checks.  Here are some ways your non-profit can steward its donors by building greater connections with them:

Communicate with Them – You’ve got to communicate with your donors in a way that isn’t simply asking them for money.  Using newsletters, e-mails, videos, podcasts, websites, non-ask events, etc. are great ways to communicate with and steward your donors.

Get Them Involved – Donors tend to stay connected with organizations that engage their minds, hearts and bodies in addition to their wallets.  Ask your donors to volunteer, to serve on committees, to join your board.  Get them moving on behalf of your charity with participatory fundraising.  Get them involved.

Ask Them What They Think – When was the last time you asked your donors for suggestions on what you could be doing better?  Have you held a donor roundtable or formed a donor mastermind group?  Call your donors… ask them for suggestions.  Engage them.  Show them that you care what they think and respect their suggestions and concerns.

No brainers, right?  They should be.  But, I’m finding over and over again that once the big gift is landed, MGO’s are forgetting about the donor and moving on to the next “new thing.”

This continues to baffle me.

Folks, as Richard and I have been talking about almost every week in our blog, donors are not ATM’s. They are living, breathing human beings with desires and passions who want to make a difference in the world.

Your job is to be creative with how you’re going to tell them that they did make a difference, and let them know how grateful you are for the passion they have for your organization.

It’s a great time of year to show that gratefulness.  Think beyond a nice holiday card.  How can you tell your donors they are changing the world in a creative and heart-warming way?

If you have some great ideas, share them with us!



About Jeff Schreifels and Richard Perry

Jeff Schreifels and Richard Perry have over 55 years of experience fundraising for non-profits. Richard Perry was co-owner of Domain Group until 2005. Jeff Schreifels was a Senior Strategist for Domain Group for 12 years. They came together a few years ago to start Veritus Group, a full-service major gift fundraising agency. Veritus Group has a unique, data-driven approach unlike any agency focused on major gifts. Jeff and Richard are passionate about their work, passionate about life and hopes this blog will provide you with insights and tangible benefits for you and your work. Thank you for reading!
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