THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU! – The Importance of Stewardship

Stewardship

Did you know that Thanksgiving doesn’t only come in November? You might be thinking to yourself, “Huh? Everyone knows that it’s always in November…” Well, stop for a moment and think about Thanksgiving and the strong aura of gratitude that time of year. Thanksgiving is known to be a time of thanks and appreciativeness for what and who you have in your life.

This should not be the only time of year for that feeling, especially when it comes to fundraising professionals.

You should not only be thanking your donors after they donate to your annual fund throughout the year, but also at your fiscal year end. Donors want to know how they made a difference and feel that they are appreciated.

There are different ways that you can implement stewardship ideas into your campaign. The best stewardship campaigns typically have a combination of the following:

1.Direct Mail: Often, organizations send out an impact report or a “Donor Honor Roll” to recognize everyone who contributed to the annual fund. If you’re thinking you want to send an additional direct mail piece or deviate from an impact report thanking donors, you might want to consider sending out a postcard, letter, or self-mailer. Direct mail is a terrific way to incorporate data segmentation and personalize the thank you based on each donor’s contribution.

2. Email: By sending a thank you message via email that remains consistent with the stewardship campaign brand, you can reiterate your appreciation to your donors through another channel.  Email is a great compliment to direct mail.

3. Social Media: Social media is an effective way to thank those donors who are followers. This is typically used for a broader way of saying, “Thank You!” and is less personal than other communications. A great graphic to share alongside the “thank you” text is an infographic that shows results from the annual donations.

4. Video: Video is a strong element that can help strengthen your brand message and it is a powerful way to deliver a thank you. It provides the opportunity to develop an emotional bond between the organization and the donor through influential visuals of the impact donors have made. A video or a link to a video can be distributed through different channels such as your website, direct mail, social media, and email.

An effective way of thinking about your stewardship campaign and the best channel to send a thank you through is: if you ASK through that channel, THANK through that channel.

Take a minute to think about this scenario:

You just got married and received numerous, thoughtful gifts from your wedding guests. The gifts all varied in price but nonetheless, each gift was a gracious gesture.

In this day in age, it’s common to see a broad “thank you” posting on social media from the two getting married, thanking guests for making their day so special. However, it is ALSO typical to receive some sort of thank you through the mail – sometimes they are handwritten; sometimes they are typed; sometimes they are extremely detailed and personalized; sometimes they are more generic.

Relating your fundraising efforts to other life events makes you realize just how important a thank you is.

Now, ask yourself, “Have we made our donors feel valued?”

Always remember that you can never thank someone too much! It shows that person how much of an impact they had on you (and your organization). By showing someone that his/her donation is appreciated, they will start building a loyalty to your organization. You never know… a thank you could make a first time donor a lifetime donor! Don’t let the aura of gratitude only come around Thanksgiving.

Recognize your donors. Praise your donors. Thank your donors.

The growth of your annual fund is in their hands and you have the power to make your donors feel appreciated.

BCG Connect can help you implement your stewardship campaign into your direct marketing efforts and remain consistent with your organization’s brand – connect with us to learn more!

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