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Retain Donors Through Effective Stewardship

Retain Donors Through Effective Stewardship

Retaining donors is one of the most difficult initiatives for a fundraiser to do. With more organizations asking people to support their cause or mission, there has never been a more important time to optimize donor retention strategies. One strategy that helps with donor retention is stewardship.

Instilled in people from such a young age is the concept of saying, “Thank you.” How many times have you, or someone you know, given a child something and the adult with them says, “What do you say?” and they look at you and say, “Thank you!” Probably countless times! Being a fundraising professional should encourage you to use this phrase now more than ever. Simply thanking donors and showing the impact of their donation can go an extremely long way.

Stewardship is a vital part of an annual giving plan as it helps you retain donors – if it’s not a significant piece of your plan now, this is something that you should take into deep consideration for the future.

Here are 5 stewardship tips to help retain donors:

  1. SIMPLY SAY, “THANK YOU.” A thank you can go a long way. It makes people feel that they are appreciated and when they feel appreciated, they will start to build a loyalty and sense of pride to your organization. Saying, “Thank you,” through all different platforms is a great way to show your donors how much you appreciate them.
  2. SHOW THE DONOR HIS/HER IMPACT. Infographics are a great visual tool to show donors how they made an impact. By associating the contribution – whether it be a dollar amount, time, or other resource – to the exact area(s) it impacted, people are able to say, “I helped make that happen!” Without your donors, it is impossible to reach your goals. So, when they donate, show them what they did and how they helped make the organization better.
  3. PERSONALIZE THE THANK YOU. Personalization helps build a bond between you and the donor. It makes them feel that they are special and unique. Yes, most occasions and initiatives call for individuals to receive the same designed piece. However, that doesn’t mean you aren’t able to personalize or segment it. Data segmentation and personalization enable you to target your donor or donor segments. For instance, you can have different variations of the stewardship piece, with personalization, if you segment donors by areas they contributed to.
  4. DON’T JUST WAIT UNTIL YOUR FYE. Have you ever thought about incorporating a stewardship campaign into your annual direct marketing plan? You might want to consider how many times per year you are currently thanking donors and how many times you could be thanking donors. Is it once a year? Twice a year? After each time they donate? You can never thank donors too much. Wondering some ways that you can thank your donors? Some clients thank their donors through designed postcards, letters, self-mailers, or other creative direct mail pieces. Connect with us to view samples.
  5. IF YOU ASK THROUGH A CHANNEL, THANK THROUGH THAT CHANNEL. There are many different channels nowadays where donors can be reached. If you ask through a particular channel, you should thank through that channel. For example, if you are sending your donors asks through direct mail, and they expect to hear from you through direct mail, then you should send a thank you through direct mail.

Interested in seeing samples of stewardship pieces?

To sum it all up, stewardship is critical to success. You did so much work identifying and acquiring your donors, you can’t forget one of the most important parts – retaining your donors. By thanking your donors, you’re one step closer to retaining them. They’ll feel like they made an actual impact as they start to build or continue to build an affinity to your organization.

BCG Connect helps clients to identify, acquire, AND retain donors through effective annual direct marketing plans. If you need help implementing stewardship pieces into your plan, or would like to talk about different direct marketing ideas for your organziation to effectively identify, acquire, and retain your donors, connect with us to learn more!

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BCG Staff Writer
Stewardship

THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU! – The Importance of 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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Sign up to be notified when we publish new blogs and send out our newsletter full of helpful tips, tricks, and advice to supercharge your marketing.

BCG Staff Writer