Donor Stewardship
8 Step Donor Stewardship Guide for Nonprofits

Donor Stewardship is all about effectively caring for your donors in a way that allows you to create long-term relationships that are beneficial to everyone involved!

It focuses on keeping your organization top-of-mind for donors in order to cultivate repeat gits, and you will not be the first choice for supporters to make their next gift if they feel it’s an unrequited relationship! Your donors should feel that they’re getting just as much or more out of their relationship with you and feel valued for their contributions.

Effective stewardship is often described as both an art and a science because it requires creativity and planning in order to develop a successful donor relationship. Achieving the right balance of creativity and planning takes time, but will be well worth the effort in the long run when you’ve established a healthy database of happy and loyal supporters for your organization!

8 Step Donor Stewardship Program

We’ve created a simple and effective guide to donor stewardship that includes the following steps: 

1. Develop and Adhere to a Philosophy of Stewardship

Take time to define what stewardship will mean to you as an organization. It’s not enough to say that you will practice stewardship; everyone needs to be clear on exactly what that means to you as a group!

2. Organize Your Donor Database

Segmenting your donors into well-defined groups allows you to customize messaging, making donors feel like you are talking to them specifically.

BONUS:  Check out our video on Segmenting Your Donors for Stewardship Success, here!

3. Create a Stewardship Budget

Investing upfront for the time, energy, and money needed for a great donor stewardship plan will allow you to create long-lasting relationships with your donors that will keep them coming back to give.

4. Establish Goals

Setting goals brings clarity to decision making and can act as an early alert if your relationships with donors are falling through the cracks.

5. Rally your Stewardship Team

Who can you recruit from among your staff and board members to effectively reach out to donors in order to show timely and heartfelt appreciation for everything they contribute to your organization?

6. Develop a Communication Plan

Taking both your stewardship guideline and the communication preferences of your supporters, create a communications plan that outlines the type of outreach and channels you will use for each donor segment you identified.

7. Begin Stewarding!

Effective stewardship should be implemented at every stage of the fundraising funnel, from when someone is first introduced to your organization, shown interest in your mission (e.g. attending an event, ect.), considering making a gift, and ultimately becoming a recurring donor.

8. Measure and Adapt to Results

Make sure you’re documenting supporter engagement and contributions and taking note of any changes (i.e., increased donation amounts or frequency of giving) to see the impact of your stewardship plan.

Remember… donor stewardship is all about giving back some of the love that your donors have shown you!

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Donor Stewardship

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