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Stewardship Really Means Planned Gratitude

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!


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.

Watch a sample of her work here!

Discover more simple, experience-based fundraising tips, by Clicking Here.

To share feedback on this post, email PMiracle@MiracleStrategies.com or post to my Facebook page. To get winning, donor-centric,  goal-focused fundraising & marketing tips delivered directly to your inbox sign up here!