Donor stewardship is arguably your top priority.
And perhaps you’ve streamlined internal processes and leveraged robust donor software solutions to make sure that you are doing all you can to engage your donors and nurture meaningful relationships over time.
But are events on your radar? Are you making sure that you are doing all you can, when it comes to your events – your fundraisers, 'friendraisers', donor recognition events, golf tournaments, auctions, and campaign kickoffs?
Events can provide a really meaningful opportunity for donor stewardship. Here are four ways to realize the full donor stewardship potential of your events.
Educate your donors
Having a captive audience is an incredibly exciting opportunity. This is your chance to share important information with your stakeholders about:
- How donor dollars are being used to make a difference
- What new projects, programs or services the organization has undertaken
- Financial milestones and dollars raised to date
- New hires, board members or major gifts secured
Event participants will feel more engaged and connected if you share news about your organization’s progress and growth.
Recognize your donors
Events can be a great way to raise money. And every fundraising event should feature the appropriate recognition protocols.
You may want to develop an event workflow that ensures that all donors are being properly recognized and acknowledged at the event. For instance:
- Make sure that major donors feel like an “insider” at the event
- CEO greets them at the registration table
- CEO and other dignitaries sit at their table
- They are introduced to “celebrity” guests with photo opp
Invite donors to help plan the nonprofit event
Donors will feel much more invested in your event if they have been part of the planning process. They will also be more likely to reach out to their networks for support if they have served on the committee.
You should ask major donors about their participation in the planning process, and in particular, if they would:
- Serve on a Committee
- Provide feedback during the planning process
- Recruit sponsors or bring guests?
Post-event donor stewardship
Once the event is over, there is still an opportunity for meaningful donor stewardship. The manner in which you follow up and reach out to donors can have a considerable impact.
Make sure that every donor and sponsor receives a personalized thank you card from the CEO, President or Board Chair. Sharing photos from the event is another great way to make a donor feel appreciated. And remember that photo opp you coordinated at the event? This is your opportunity to send donors a hard copy of that captured moment.
Personal phone calls from other committee members or recipients of service can leave a very moving impression.