Monday, November 9, 2015

Stewardship Is The Next Step

By Vickie Wilson, Vice President of Development, Community First Foundation

Colorado Gives Day offers a wonderful opportunity for nonprofit participants to attract new donors. These new relationships can be strengthened and deepened through a focused, intentional stewardship plan.

But prepare your plan now, before Colorado Gives Day. Make sure the plan includes the basics:

  • Thank You: Acknowledge gifts in a timely manner and, when possible, personalize your thank you. Use the donor’s name, reference the gift’s purpose and include additional information that helps connect the donor with the work of your organization. Make your thank you is heartfelt and simple.
     
  • Mission: Don’t assume that your new donor knows about your organization. Have letter, e-mail and website templates ready for communicating your mission, past successes and future plans. Stories and photos that describe the impact of gifts are particularly effective. If you have a newsletter, make sure your new donors are added to the list. Subsequent communications can include a phone call, an invitation to an event or to a face-to-face meeting.
  • Data: Collect, maintain and analyze information on your new donors, their relationships, charitable interests and their giving history. This will enable you to tailor messaging and match donor interests. And if you find that you can’t provide the same level of stewardship to all of your donors, prioritize based on the gift size or the information that you have gathered.
  • Ask: Creating stronger, deeper donor relationships will improve your chances to attract larger gifts from repeat donors. Whenever appropriate, solicit your donors for their continued support.
You may now be wishing that you had taken the time to steward last year’s Colorado Gives Day donors. If so, go back to last year’s new donors list.

If they have not been stewarded, contact them by letter, phone or e-mail and thank them again for their past gifts. Share what their giving has enabled the organization to accomplish and remind them of the upcoming December 8th deadline. Most importantly, ask them for their continued support.

Whether the donor is new or not-so-new, it is never too late to steward.