We know, you already thank every single donor for every single gift, regardless of size. But do you have your board members write a personal note (even just a scribbled “THANK YOU” and then their name and “Board Member”)? But stewardship is so much more than just saying thanks. And beyond the ideas illustrated above, have you tried some of these things?
Send a second thank you to every single donor for every single gift regardless of size within the first 6 months of the first gift. This thank you should tell the donor about how his or her gift helped your organization fulfill it’s mission.
- At the end of the year, send a “Tax Receipt” about the support your donors gave during the year. Unless the charitable credit does get thrown out, it will help your donors with their taxes, and remind them that you are important to them.
- Periodically send donors at certain levels personal letters from a program manager or the CEO reporting out on achievements.
- Make some phone calls to give information or to gather information and don’t make a fundraising ask
- Speaking of phone calls, have you called your office lately? How welcoming are the people who answer your phone? They are the first impression of your organization—make sure it is a positive one.
- When you are out cultivating larger donors, a great question to ask is “What was the very best thank you you ever received from a nonprofit?” File that information in their record and make sure you do something similar (or better) when they do make a gift.
- As you gather those answers, see what the commonality is. What are the kinds of things that resonate with donors? Are you doing them?
- Recognizing donor philanthropy is very important—from donor walls to listings in your honor roll and/or on your website. Make it appropriate for the size of the gift and make sure your donors know what you are doing.
- Invite your donors to a special thank you celebration—preferably one that highlights (if possible) the work you do.
- Introduce them to the people who make your work possible—your program staff, your clients (if that is something you can do), each other.
Make sure you have great policies for gift acceptance, gift receipting, gift acknowledgement. Share these with your major donors to show that you know what matters.