Category: Solutions Strategies

One of the most important aspects of any acquisition channel is the stewardship of your donor.  If the donor has said yes to donating monthly, what comes next?  There is a lot to consider as you start down this path: means of communication, frequency of communication, how to frame your message, when to ask again, etc.  Whether it’s a lack of funding, content, timing or knowledge, sometimes organizations don’t know where to start.  Since I’ve been in my role at Globalfaces I’ve been asked to consult on countless donor journeys and communication pieces.  I can honestly say it’s not a one size fits all approach.  There is no secret sauce.  However there are a few key components you can introduce and manage to keep your donors engaged in your mission and maintain their support.  Here are my top tips for a successful stewardship journey:

  1. Personalization – Personalizing communication means addressing donors by name and tailoring messages to their specific interest – create messages to reflect impact, based on the channel they came into your organization through and the message/campaign they donated to. It’s important to reinforce the reason the donor gave in the first place, and overtime you can move messaging along.  If you have the capability to segment your donor lists it’s a great way to achieve this.
  1. Thank Your Donor – This seems simple enough to do however it’s important to make sure you do this often and well.  Thank your donor promptly and sincerely.  It can’t be stressed enough how important it is to personalize communication.  Gratitude is an important part of your overall culture so be sure to regularly show an appreciation for your donors and your staff!
  2. Know Your Donor – If your CRM can manage the information then survey your donors early in your relationship to find out their communication preference and how they want to be involved in your organization.  It can be as little as a few questions during the welcome call, or a bit more robust by sending out an email survey to understand a bit more about who they are and why they are donating to your organization.  Use that information to keep donors engaged on the terms they feel most comfortable with.
  3. Impact and Engagement – Donors want to know their contributions are making a difference.  This can be done through newsletters, annual reports, or impact reports.  Engage the donor in your mission by inviting them to participate in events related to the campaign, volunteer opportunities, or perhaps a donor circle.  It creates a sense of community and allows your donors to see your organization’s work firsthand and to feel involved in the impact you are making together.
  4. Regular Communication – After thanking your donor, start by sharing with them what to expect, along with the frequency they can expect to hear from you, especially that first year.  Keep your donors informed about your organization’s activities and updates (as stated in point 4).  Regular communication can help donors feel connected to your mission and demonstrate the ongoing impact of their support.  Which brings me to my next point…
  5. It’s About Them – They’ve donated to you, and without their support your organization can’t do the work it’s meant to. Be sure to tell them that, “Your donation allows for life-saving work”; not “Your donation allows us to do life-saving work”.  Subtle differences.  As a result of the language you use you make the communication about the work you do, but that work wouldn’t be possible without them, so be sure to keep them feeling empowered by what their donations mean for your organization.

Building a meaningful relationship with your donors takes time.  Stewardship is a journey and change won’t happen overnight, but by creating a culture of donor stewardship right from the start it can lead to loyal supporters, increased donations and greater impact.

Next month in our blog we’ll explore how data can inform your donor journey and how to use it to your benefit through collecting, storing, tracking and reporting data.

If you want to learn more about building a successful fundraising campaign, check our previous blog here.  In the meantime if you have any questions or if we can help, don’t hesitate to reach out.


Carolyn Soro is a marketing and fundraising professional with over 10 years in the non-profit space, having run successful campaigns at Plan International Canada and UNICEF Canada for many years before coming to Globalfaces as VP of Marketing. Now Carolyn heads up all our communication and brand efforts, and works with multiple charities to provide guidance on campaigns and stewardship efforts.

AMBASSADORS OF ACQUISITION As an organization we created over 3,500,000 brand impressions for your charities! Our over 900 canvassers spoke to more than 7,200,000 potential donors across North America. That’s […]