Too often, the scenario goes like this: Thanksgiving comes around, and nonprofits kick off the year-end giving season by sending a cultivation or stewardship email. The holiday is one of thanks, after all, and with Giving Tuesday and year-end fundraising campaigns on the horizon, it’s a natural time of year to thank donors and supporters of your cause.
But November cannot be the only time nonprofit organizations thank those who have supported them financially. Instead, stewardship is a practice that happens throughout the year.
In this week’s installment of “Year-End in July,” we’ll explore how you can steward your donors twelve months a year with guests Kim Richardson and Debbie Merlino.
Build Relationships Throughout the Year
Episodic moments of stewardship don’t build meaningful relationships. Nonprofits should provide recaps of accomplishments throughout the year; whether this happens in a newsletter, an impact report, or even a social media post, highlighting the results of a donor’s dollar can help drive home how their giving is making a difference.
When nonprofits can tell impactful stories in every season, Associate VP for Client Strategy Kim Richardson says strong year-end campaigns can be as simple as the following:
As our team often reminds clients, two-way communication is always the goal. Seek to make people seen and heard!
Let Them See Backstage
Even if your organization is limited by the number of channels you can use, giving donors a “behind the curtain” peek at your organization is a particularly compelling touchpoint.
Debbie Merlino, Executive VP for Client Relations, recommends letting donors see backstage. Imagine giving folks an inside peek at where they’re taking care of animals or putting on a performance. People get to see what’s happening; they start to understand what it’s like to be in your organization. This tactic is particularly powerful for Merlino’s clients in the Public Media and Arts & Culture spaces.
High-impact cultivation can also easily happen amid tight budgets and limited staffing resources. Fundraisers often have to produce highly-definition, expensive-looking videos, but a cell phone can do the trick. Our team at Pursuant and Allegiance Groups recommends posting an uncurated video on social media: it’s high-quality but comes across as authentic.
Thinking outside the box regarding stewardship and cultivation will yield more donors who feel appreciated and likely to give again.
Tack GROW to Your Wall
Although this week’s installment is chock-full of handy tips and recommendations, a simple mnemonic device can be all that’s needed to help nonprofits practice stewardship throughout the year.
Simply put, thoughtful approaches to cultivating relationships with donors will be rewarded and help your organization grow.
The takeaway? Nonprofit organizations can easily break through the clutter by employing surprise and delight tactics and seeking to put human interactions at the top of their priority list. Come out on top by using effective stewardship practices throughout the year!
Want to hear more? Listen to the full episode:
Connect with Kim Richardson
Connect with Debbie Merlino
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