If you’ve been fundraising for very long, you’ve heard this common refrain: “The only time I ever hear from that organization is when they’re asking for money.”
A formal stewardship plan is a highfalutin strategy to ensure our donors know we are truly grateful!
Before I share a model for you, here are three tips to guarantee authentic and donor-centric stewardship:
- Share short stories! I’ll never forget a donor meeting that started with these words: “Tell me about someone’s life I’ve helped save!”
- Be honest! Donors understand delays and changes in plans, but they want to hear from you, not from a friend at a cocktail party.
- Understand your donor’s preference. I know two generous philanthropists who don’t reply to email and rarely take calls, but they’ll respond to short texts in seconds!
SAMPLE STEWARDSHIP PLAN
Here’s a sample plan which keeps you in touch with your donors and ensures your organization is front-of-mind:
Everyone is Thanked
Within 3 days of receiving a donation, provide every donor with a Thank you/ Receipt Letter. To manage this work, create a template, and customize only the first paragraph to include the gift amount, purpose, and pledge balance, if needed.
Different Levels of Giving Call for a Differing Levels of Response
- $500: The development director call.
- $1000: The development director calls, and a professional who works in the area supported by the gift writes a note on the standard receipt letter.
- $2,500: A development committee member calls. Additionally, the development director sends an email or handwritten note in addition to the receipt letter.
- $5,000 – $10,000: A development committee member calls, and a recognizable key leader in the organization handwrites a note on the receipt letter.
- $15,000 to $24,000 – A key leader (board chairman, Ex. Director, CEO, headmaster) immediately calls, and the development director emails or personalizes a handwritten note in addition to the receipt letter.
- $25,000 and up: In our community, a gift this size calls for bells and whistles and customization! I recommend an immediate call from a key leader (Board chairman, Ex-Director, CEO, Headmaster), and, communication updates based on donor preference, thereafter.
This plan deepens donor relationships and grows gifts!
Want a professional perspective on your project? Contact Phoenicia.
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