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It’s 2020! Is your Stewardship Strategy a 10/10?

February 13, 2020

Let’s make 2020 the year we use evolving fundraising trends in order to generate effective results! Last year we saw that Civics (75 years old and above) have fallen behind Boomers (55-75 years old) and GenX (40-54 years old) in terms of total dollars donated. However, they remain committed to charitable giving as they donate more money per capita. They are closely followed by Boomers that represent 41% of all money donated in the past year, with the younger Gen-Xers and millennials (25-39 years old) contributing to 25% and 15% of total giving over the past year respectively (Next Generation of Canada Giving 2018 report).

Considering we have so much valuable information at our disposal, isn’t now a great time to review your stewardship strategy?
As you plan for the year ahead, hjc recommends the following best practices for a well-thought-out stewardship program. Here is a quick reminder of those

Build relationships, not just connections

For every non-profit organization, it is essential to have a balance between engaging loyal donors and generating new leads. Communication with loyal donors often gets minimized in the process of trying to convert one-time new leads into regular donors.

The key to breaking this cycle is to build and maintain a long-lasting relationship, using the following tactics:
– Segment your donor list and have a monthly plan assigned to each group of donors
– Be creative in expressing gratitude. For instance, place info about the “Hero Donor of the Month” on your website, rather than simply sending a generic quarterly thank you email
– Remember to engage with your donors in your monthly or quarterly newsletters
– Invite them to your organization’s annual event to appreciate their contribution and recognize their impact beyond the virtual world

Implement these simple tactics and you will build loyal relationships with your donors and strengthen your stewardship program.

Think personalization

Once you have achieved your lead generation goal, review your donor list regularly and keep it updated making sure it is properly segmented. Consider different factors based on your organization’s goals and objectives to make the list as specific as possible.

It is important to tailor your communication to each donor. Sending irrelevant messages can result in a donor unsubscribing and not receiving those appeal e-mails that bring regular donations. For example, inviting a new donor to be a part of a monthly or annual giving program for a cause that is different than what they signed up for might turn them away from your charity.

As every donor is at a different stage in their stewardship journey, it is quite imperative to create tailored content for them. Personalized communication can strengthen the bond between an organization and a donor and hopefully increase the donation amount.

Ask your donor’s opinion

Every nonprofit wants to engage donors through consistent communication. The key to doing this differently can depend on how well you engage your donor; do you ask them about why they support your organization?

Imagine how you would feel if you were asked what information you would like and what format you would like it in, and then you witnessed your recommendations being incorporated in the final result.

hjc recommends structuring your communication such that it enables your donors to share their opinions on what interests them more about your work.

Make them a part of the bigger picture. Share, ask and engage them in your planning.
For example, create a survey for your donors asking about:
– New ideas to utilize donations
– What matters to them about your organization? For instance, monthly updates, success stories, adoption of any new technology

In doing so, the possibilities are endless and rewarding.

The purpose of including these key insights into your stewardship program is to help you understand your donor’s behaviour and preferences and create tailored touch-points. It creates a win-win situation because:
– It helps eliminate the possibility of losing your regular donors due to inconsistent and irregular communication, and
– It delivers useful information about your donor organically

Lastly, being open to experiments and nurturing your relationship with donors will increase the possibility of meeting your fundraising goals at the end of 2020. Remember, in the digital world, optimization is at the core of every campaign.

About the Author:

Ramandeep is passionate about continually learning and evolving as an individual. She is a logical thinker who strives to design tailored strategies and solutions for her clients. She is an experienced Communications Professional and a Digital Marketer whose attention to detail and creativity enables her to uniquely approach any client requirements, and deliver quality results to them.