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STEWARDSHIP Staying Friends Forever. June 16, 2003. © Tamarack – An Institute for Community Engagement & Wayne Hussey Consulting Inc. 2003. Stewardship – What We Do After the Gift.

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Staying Friends Forever

June 16, 2003

© Tamarack – An Institute for Community Engagement & Wayne Hussey Consulting Inc. 2003.


Stewardship – What We Do

After the Gift

  • Congratulations – you have been successful in confirming a donation from one of your leadership prospects – and it feels so great to have a generous community leader strongly endorse your efforts through a gift
  • Remember – they feel great too!!
  • Stewardship is a series of proactive actions that are designed to sustain this joy
  • The test is to have the donor feel as good at the end of their pledge period and beyond as they do the day they confirmed the gift

The Short Term Actions

  • Within hours of getting the “yes” ensure you do the following:
    • Confirm the receipt of the pledge card
    • Notate to file everything they said in the confirming discussion
    • Write your first thank you note and deliver with an appropriate gift (flowers are always appreciated) but don’t go overboard
  • Write out the follow up plan
  • Collect the pledge card and “paper the gift”

The Follow Through

  • Communicating the gift internally
  • Connecting the Pledge Card to the gift processing staff
  • Ensuring the accounting is right
  • Getting the CEO/key volunteers to write thank you letters – organize thank you phone calls and face to face moments
  • Remember – a sincere and simple face to face thank you is more powerful than phone calls and letters but be liberal with all three
  • Some donors will tell you early that they do not wish extensive recognition – be careful

Medium Term Actions

  • Negotiate the specific recognition that is appropriate for their gift level
  • Good development clearly requires you to have your recognition inventory in a clear hierarchy with clear values BEFORE YOU SOLICIT
  • Some recognition levels require an agreement that spells out the exact nature and duration of the recognition
  • Some donors will request anonymity agreements
  • Organize media, receptions or other ways to announce the gift

Long Term Actions

  • Develop a written stewardship plan that ensures regular and meaningful contact with the donor
  • Stewardship Plans are surprisingly similar to Cultivation Plans
  • And like the section on Leadership Engagement, we want to give them the opportunity to be more than just a donor

The Stewardship Plan

  • Donors have identified liaisons – someone who will ensure that the Plan is executed properly
  • The Stewardship Plan includes written contact, special news releases, emails, faxes, invitations to generic events and invitations to the various Campaign events that we plan
  • The Plan is long term in focus but detailed for an annual time frame
  • It is refreshed every year
  • We document the contacts in the donor file

Delivering Benefits

  • One of the critical outcomes of a Stewardship Plan is to demonstrate that you are delivering the outcomes you promised in the cultivation and solicitation phase of the relationship
  • Face to face is always best
  • Show them the projects – have them touch the projects they have invested in
  • Give them a chance to help solve problems
  • Celebrate success and credit them for their share of it

The Pitfalls and Challenges

  • Turnover of staff and volunteers can seriously hamper relationships with donors
  • Incorrect recognition is the poison of a relationship
  • Not delivering benefits is another serious issue
  • If, for some legitimate reason, we cannot deliver what we promise, early, confidential and honest contact with the donor is critical
  • Sometimes the Donor has difficulty in delivering their commitment – pledges are not legally binding
  • Show patience but maintain the integrity of your recognition inventory if at all possible

Extending Giving through Stewardship

  • Good fundraising practise understands that Stewardship often leads to another gift and a larger one
  • Therefore, we work hard at ensuring that the relations with our donors are sincere and constant
  • You’ll be amazed at the number of times a current donor will learn of additional needs of the cause that they have supported and will give again to assist you in meeting your goals
  • Donor loyalty, like consumer loyalty, is predicated on honesty, performance and trust

The Good News

  • Stewardship is a very enjoyable part of the friendraising and fundraising process
  • It is one of the easiest parts if you are organized
  • It is one where we can use non-fundraising representatives to further our cause
  • It is very long term and will result in future support as we need to grow our resource base
  • As we maintain our friendships all kinds of unexpected benefits will materialize
  • Donors rarely ask for unreasonable favours in return for their gifts


Staying Friends Forever

June 16, 2003

© Tamarack – An Institute for Community Engagement & Wayne Hussey Consulting Inc. 2003.