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20 Ideas to Virtually Steward Donors for Nonprofit Organizations

When we say donor stewardship, it only starts when a donor has contributed to your organization. It mainly refers to the way in which relationships and connections are sustained with existing supporters via communication. Fundraising for nonprofits is made up of efforts in different areas such as planning, execution and monitoring, therefore each step must be handled carefully and communication must be made where necessary. 

In this article, we are going to look at 20 ways in which you can get your donor stewardship sorted in a heartfelt manner. It all begins with thanking your donors, an act of appreciation can go a long way in encouraging future involvement and gifts.

  1. Appreciate your donors by creating videos and send it via email. The content of this video can be that of your client, staff or you thanking donors for their help and contribution. This can be shot on the phone, hence it doesn’t have to involve any spending of money.
  1. Displaying thank you messages on your website is a great idea. Your website can have a dedicated section that has messages of appreciation for each section of donors, from recurring to one time donors, among others.
  1. Take advantage of special days such as Valentine’s Day and make it personal. Send out messages such as, “on this love filled day, we want to thank someone special who has a heart of gold…”
  1. Leverage your welcome package. When you send a welcome package to a donor, it not only makes them feel welcome but it also educates the individual on your nonprofit and the different causes that you work for. 
  1. Send a letter. The letter doesn’t have to be from you but it can be from somebody whose life that your donor has changed by donating to your cause. This will also speak of transparency. 
  1. Appreciate your top-contributing donors by highlighting their names and profile on your annual report. Fundraising for nonprofits requires a report at the end of every campaign, this is a report that talks about the campaign’s reach and the impact it has made. This report can find a place on your website and you can involve your donors in this.
  1. Ask for the opinion of your donors. Ask about their experiences and feedback, this will help you show your donors that their opinion matters. You can also check up on them, ask about their well-being and life in general. 
  1. Shout your donors out on social media. You can make this in a set of 5 names or even more, as per your convenience. Get your design team to create creative images with their names and pictures. For this, it is ideal to get the approval of your donors first, some individuals are not comfortable with being addressed in public. If you want to make this easier, you can address one post to all your donors and write a message of gratitude along with the post. 
  1. Host live interactive sessions. This is a great way to get to know your donors on a deeper level, choose your conversation points wisely and make it worth their while. 
  1. Create a series of donor stewardship emails for your new set of donors. This idea will keep your new supporters in the loop for each progression that your nonprofit makes. 
  1. Involve your board members. Call it a virtual tank-a-thon and provide your board members with samples of donor thank you scripts. This will be more like a fun game where the board members who reached out to the maximum number of donors will get an exciting prize. The questions can be along the lines of, “why this cause?” or “what was the main reason behind your donation?”. 
  1. Handwritten notes. These never go out of trend because of the fondness that handwritten notes carry. You can make this virtual by sending a snapshot of your letters. It will still show that these are handwritten. 
  1. Be quick to act on complaints. In case there are any complaints or feedback on any aspect of your campaign, make sure that you respond and work on improving it immediately. This could even be in case of transaction processes such as online giving and text-to-give. Be ready to be a problem solver. 
  1. Personalized anniversary cards are thoughtful and sweet. When a donor completes one year with your organization, address the fact and celebrate it by sending personalized cards through email. Let’s call it a “Donor-versary”!
  1. Make use of social media and utilize the power of the platform to thank your donors regularly. This is an activity that you can do weekly, mainly across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. For communication ideas on social media, you can have a look at this communications toolkit and plan your posts accordingly. 
  1. Maintain a donor-centric thank you landing page. Everytime donors contribute, your nonprofit should have a thank you message waiting for them. It’s always about how you make your supporters feel!
  1. Never forget to wish your donors on their birthdays. Birthdays are really personal and when your donors know that you remember their birthdays, the bond likely will only grow. Send digital cards with their names on it, make the cards look as appealing as possible. 
  1. Adopt a donor management system that allows easy communication. For instance, systems like GiveCentral have ready to use email templates for every occasion, this makes it easy for nonprofits to communicate quickly and precisely. Doing this will allow you to save time while you focus on productivity.
  1. Focus on using donor-centric subject lines. For example, the subject line can read as,”Our students are now eating two meals a day because of you”. When it comes to fundraising for nonprofits, communication plays a major role; the manner and tone of communication again is of utmost importance.
  1. Create a donor stewardship plan. Last but not the least, craft and work around a plan for donor stewardship with a major focus on longevity of donors and retaining all donors. This way, you will know the activities you need to carry out and maintaining a calendar will help you with the timeline. You will always have a drafted plan to always go back to, it will keep your nonprofit more organized. 

As you reach out to your supporters, make it a priority that you keep the human touch alive. People notice efforts, therefore it is very important to stay active and connected. If necessary, make phone calls to check on your donors and be in constant touch with them through online platforms. All the very best!

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