We all know how vitally important stewardship is in development programs, and we know the golden rules of properly acknowledging gifts and support:
- Send a thank you letter signed by a meaningful person from the organization within 48 hours.
- Address the letter to the donor by name.
- Include a handwritten personalized note, if possible.
- And so on…
Here are some great posts by others on the topic of stewardship:
- I really love what Andrew Olsen wrote on Fundraising Fundamentals: “When I think about the word stewardship, I think of the responsibility of taking care of something that belongs to someone else.” He lists some best practices for stewardship, including creating a plan and sticking to it, and to keep communication open (and engagement high).
- Penelope Burk’s classic 20 things that make a thank you letter superior and donor-centered, including not asking for another gift and or asking the donor to take any additional actions at that time.
- Joe Garecht summarizes good stewardship practices into three parts: communicate with them, get them involved, and ask them what they want.
The bottom line is that stewardship should not be seen as just writing good thank you letters. Stewardship is the act of honoring and respecting the gifts of the donor, and helping the donor engage with the organization at a higher lever. What steps do you take to engage your donors and respect their desires and intentions?