How To Ensure Your Organization Lives And Breathes Donor Stewardship

Let me guess… you’d like to raise more money, but you’re not sure how? Well, let me ask you this, where does donor stewardship rank on your (seemingly endless) to-do list? Think about it before you answer. Think about the amount of time and effort you put into donor care vs. other activities. Are you really making stewarding donors a top priority? Probably not.

I bet you’ve read all the stats on donor retention. You know that it’s cheaper to raise money from an existing donor than to find a new one. But still, you aren’t allocating as much time to donor relations as you should. Why not? It’s likely because you have things on your plate that are easier or more fun so you put it in the “later” pile.

How do you change that?

Donor relations need to be woven into your non-profit’s culture. It can’t be an afterthought. It needs to be on the minds of all your staff and board members. No exceptions.

1. Include the entire organization

  • Ensure the entire organization understands the importance of donor retention

  • Have the people of the ground (caregivers, social workers, volunteers, engineers) send updates about the success of programs and individual success stories, which your development/marketing team can share with donors

2. Make it part of employee job descriptions

  • Ensure that it’s part of employee descriptions, onboarding, training, and professional development plans

  • Set employee retention/donor stewardship goals and have performance reviews to ensure those goals are being hit

3. Add it to the schedule

  • Hand write a dozen thank you notes before you turn on your computer each day

    • Include your staff members in this initiative

    • If board members are willing, include them too

  • Schedule time monthly to make thank you calls

    • Once again, include board members and staff members if possible

4. Make it easy

  • Provide staff members/board members with all the supplies they’ll need to write the notes

    • Give them the language and templates

    • Give them the envelopes and stamps (or email addresses)

    • Give them a weekly list of donors

The fact of the matter is, donor retention is essential to the health and success of your organization and good donor relations are the key to donor retention. Don’t ignore your current donors in favour of chasing new donors. Instead, create an organizational culture that’s based on caring about your donors. Ensure that donor stewardship is top of mind for every member of your organization, from board member to volunteer. Do that and you’ll ensure you build a healthy organization.


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More Resources

3 Awesome Donor Stewardship Ideas That Will Help You Raise More (Read Time: 2.5 mins)

4 Ways to Ensure Your Nonprofit Event Promotes Donor Stewardship (Read Time: 2.5 mins)

Tool Tips Tuesday: 3 tools for better donor stewardship! (Read Time: 2 mins)


Image Cred: Image 1, SnoShuu, Image 2, David A. Bailey, jr