Donor stewardship is my bread and butter. Nothing excites me more than a beautifully written thank you letter sent promptly after a gift is received, or a well-designed new donor packet welcoming a supporter to your organization. Seriously, it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy.
Sometimes, however, it feels like good donor stewardship is a unicorn. We all talk about it, but how often do we, as donors, feel truly thanked for our giving? And how can we as nonprofits, do a better job?
Giant Squid Group Stewardship Survey
For the next year (actually, I started on December 1st, 2018), I’m going to explore how the organizations who solicit me for money build relationships with me after I’ve made a gift. What does it feel like to be a donor? What excites, motivates, and inspires me, and what leaves me wanting more?
How I’ll Give
Giant Squid Group will make a donation to every nonprofit that solicits me in 2019 via direct mail or email, with the following parameters:
I will make a $20 gift or the smallest amount requested on the remittance card or online giving form, up to $1,000 total for the year..
Organizations who solicit only my husband, or organizations who I choose to support without being solicited are not included in this challenge.
I will track, analyze, and share the results of my experiences monthly.
I won’t share the names of the organizations that solicit me, unless I’m really impressed with their donor stewardship. My intention is not to point out the negatives, only to explore trends.
What I’ll Track
The data nerd in me is geeking out. I’ll be looking at the donations I receive, and tracking:
My relationship with the organization and whether I had a previous relationship or if I received an unsolicited request for support.
How I’m solicited, such as direct mail, email, at an event, or face-to-face.
How easy it is to give. Since I can’t find my checkbook, I’m sure 100% of my donations will be made via the organization’s online giving form.
How the organization thanks me and how long it takes. Do I get an email, is my first-time donation acknowledged, and how long does it take for me to receive a physical thank you letter?
Whether the organization updates me throughout the year on their programs, work and events.
I can’t wait to see the results of this, and share it with all of you. If you have ideas for this project, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
P.S. I’ll be sending exclusive email updates on the 2019 Giant Squid Group Stewardship Survey to my email subscribers. If you want to learn tips to improve your stewardship and retain donors, sign up and get our free Fundraising 101 eBook as well!