How to Steward Your Donors

Stewardship is the reason people give.

It’s often a buzzword in our industry. But how exactly should you steward your donors?

Cultivate strong donor relationships by showing— and telling—your donors how much your organization values them and the impact they are making.

A handwritten note still goes a long way, but many nonprofits are looking to take their thank-yous to the next level. Here are some ideas to get you started.


Special eventThink outside of the luncheon box.

  • Open house
  • Mixer for members to mingle with impacted individuals or animals, researchers, volunteers, etc.
  • New member meet and greet

VIP treatment at an eventTreat your donors like the superstars they are.

  • Members-only cocktail hour prior to the event
  • Distinguished nametags for recognition
  • Behind-the-scenes private tour


Access—Sharing is caring.

  • Private tours
  • Invite to a conference call about what is up and coming
  • “Field trip” to a specific program


PrintPrint communications will always play a key role in planned giving. 

  • Impact photo book
  • Thank you card from the individual who will be most affected by their gift
  • Anniversary cards to celebrate giving milestones and recognize donor loyalty

DigitalConnect with your donors where they are: on social media and the web.

  • Thank you video
  • Acknowledge a milestone in a donor’s life on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
  • Use National Philanthropy Day as an opportunity to thank your supporters on social media

Phone and EmailGet to know your donors better.

  • Let the donor know they are a hero with a personal phone call
  • Thank you calls from board members
  • Check-in on your donors just to thank them and connect, make it about them and what’s happening in their lives

And—most importantly—always remember: Donors don’t want things, they want opportunities.

What are some ways your organization stewards donors? We’d love to hear how you let your donors know how important they truly are.

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