STEWARDSHIP, IT REALLY MATTERS

Every year when Thanksgiving comes around, one of our favorite questions to ask is what you give thanks for.  Usually it’s family, health, happiness (and maybe the winning numbers to the lottery!).  All the things we want and sometimes take for granted.  It’s also the time when we start to think about donating to our favorite charities.  Then we get inundated with emails and letters asking us to give before the end of the year and the thankful part of giving starts to get lost.

When a donor gives, they’re not just giving because you asked.  Something about your organization has tapped into a personal space in their heart.  Maybe they have a family member who was ill.  Maybe they love animals.  Possibly they were someone down on their luck and homeless at one point.  Whatever the reason, donors want to feel like they’re making a difference.

That’s why it’s important to thank your donors, especially now.  Stewardship is an important part of cultivation, and one that many organizations forget about.  It’s also the easiest way to make a donor happy and keep them coming back.  You want to make sure they don’t feel like a checkbook – that once you’ve gotten the donation from them you don’t care about them anymore.

It’s so easy to let a donor know you’re grateful.  Depending on the donor and the size of a donation it could be something as simple as an email or a follow-up phone call to personally thank them.  Let them know what their money is doing for the organization.  People like to know not only that they are helping but where their money is going.  Some people like a bigger thank you.  In those cases, you have many options of what you can do.  Post their name on your website, call them out in your monthly newsletter.  And for those who really gave an exceptional gift, there are many other options.  You can offer tours of the facility by a board member or executive.  Honor them at your next gala or large event.  And if the donation is large enough, there are naming opportunities you can present to your donor.

At the end of the day, the most important thing to remember is to thank your donor.  Because without them, we wouldn’t be able to do what we do.  And that is something to be very thankful for

Courtney Rheuban

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