GuideStar Blog

Show Me the Love: Creative Ways to Steward Your Donors

As development professionals, we often find ourselves laser-focused on closing gifts to reach our revenue goals. On average, gift officers spend more than three-quarters of their time identifying, cultivating, and soliciting new leads. While it is important to focus on actions that drive revenue, stewarding donors once the gift is secured helps maintain a strong and active donor pool.

It is important to show donors just how special, valued, and appreciated they are. Investing in stewardship techniques and developing strong relationships has been proven to lead to more frequent and larger gifts. In honor of Valentine’s Day, we wanted to share some ways to show your donors the love. From basic best practices to customized approaches, below are some tips to activate your donor base and maximize revenue through stewardship.


Bullet Lists Can Drain the Life from Your Fundraising—or Pump Up the Energy—Here's How

Bullet points are normally a helpful tool for making what youve written more readable.

When you have several similar points you need to make, a bulleted list can: 

  • Introduce visual variety, which increases readability.
  • Turn what would have been a long paragraph into an easily scannable entry point.
  • Organize your thinking, thus making it more clear.
  • Lower the reading level of your copy. 

All good.

But let me show you a type of bulleted list that hurts fundraising results:


Nonprofit Tech Solutions: A Guide to Ramping Up Donations

The new year (calendar or fiscal) typically comes with increased funding goals. However, this doesn’t always have to cause stress! Higher goals should boost your own confidence in your organization because it shows that you are passionate enough about your mission to want to grow.


When Asking Goes Wrong: A Case Study in Communication Failure

Communicating by email and text can be tricky. You don’t have the advantage of vocal inflection as you do on the phone, or visual cues as you do in person.

Not to mention potential grammatical errors—which can sabotage the best of intentions.

For example, “Let’s eat, grandpa,” versus “Let’s eat grandpa.”


The Good and Evil Words of Fundraising

Fundraising has two magic words. One is enchanting, the other has sinister force to weaken your writing. When you control these two words, as I explore in my book, How to Turn Your Words into Money, you can wield wizard-like powers.


Grateful Givers: A Lesson from Dad

Seasons Greetings, Gratitude, and Greatness

I don’t ease into personal stories well.  This one, however, resonates at the time of year where we seem to have too much stuff … and too little gratitude. Also, this message is timely since we are all constantly looking to create a greater and more meaningful donation experience for our givers.


See What Thanking Donors Can Do for Your Fundraising

So often, our fundraising tests look too narrowly at something we do. Here's a test that didn't fall into that habit. You can read it in a great study by the Centre for Sustainable Philanthropy, Learning to Say Thank You (downloadable PDF).


2019: The Year for Nonprofits to Innovate

Embrace Technology

Your nonprofit should embrace technology and use it as a power for innovation and good. The sphere of technology is unavoidable ... so don’t try to avoid it. Instead, there are many amazing interfaces that improve donor experiences. Let 2019 be the year where new technology helps keep donors engaged and reaches out to make new friends for your organization.


Are You Mindlessly Employing “Best Fundraising Practices?”

I’m starting to get annoyed.

I’m getting too many formulaic fundraising emails.

Maybe it’s partly my fault?

You see, I know I write all the time about “best practices.” And some of these annoying emails are employing these practices―just not in a “best” way, as that word is defined.


Showing Gratitude to Donors

Expressing regular and authentic gratitude to the donors, volunteers (including board members), and others who support your organization’s mission is one of the most important things you can do.