By Dawn M.S. Miller, CFRE, Vice President – Annual Fund
Years ago, I received a giant padded envelope in the mail with a lunchbox as a gift. Confused, I found a generic “Thanks” card tucked inside. I had recently given a gift in honor of a dear friend who had earned her Doctorate in Management and Leadership. The donation was in support of a college scholarship fund for single mothers earning their degrees – something I knew my friend would sincerely appreciate.
But here’s the thing…I had no idea why the college mailed me lunchbox. And I also had no idea why the college NEVER notified my friend that a gift was made in her honor. Did they serve lunch to the mothers with scholarships, and I now had a matching lunchbox? Was I supposed to give the lunchbox to my friend with a pudding cup and juice box? Or was someone cleaning out a closet and thought, “Hey, let’s get rid of these lunchboxes, and we’ll call it a donor stewardship move.”
Why am I telling you this? Because donor stewardship needs to make sense to the donor and connect to your mission!
As fundraising professionals, we talk a lot about donor stewardship. Sometimes we do well; others, well, not so well. Here are a few wins and misses we’ve seen…
We aren’t talking about spending a gazillion dollars here. We are talking about reminding donors that we really care about their involvement with our missions. So add a small line item into your budget for stewardship and add it into your workflow. Whatever you decide to do, make sure it connects to your mission in a meaningful way.
And for goodness sake, if you send a lunchbox to someone, tell them how it connects to your mission. Your donors will thank you and they’ll enjoy their lunch while knowing their support truly impacted your mission. It’s that simple!
At Let’s Build Hope, we love to hear the good (or bad…or ugly!) donor stewardship stories. Share them with us. Reach out via phone or send us an email. And let’s make sure we have (mostly) stewardship wins. 😊
#LBH #LetsBuildHope #GlimmersOfHope #StewardshipWins #NoStewardshipMisses #Gratitude #DonorStewardship
By Linda B. Haley, CFRE, President & CEO
Philanthropy means “the love of human beings”…so nonprofit work is rooted in love. If your heart doesn’t skip a beat when you think about the nonprofit mission you support, ask yourself one simple question: “Why not?”
Maybe it’s a deep personal issue – maybe something like, “I really love nonprofits that serve kids…but the paycheck at the large arts organization was so great, I just had to take it.” Or maybe you needed a job and took what was available, only to feel later that, although the mission you support is worthwhile, it doesn’t personally excite and inspire you.
Is your heart longing for a clearer execution of the mission? More vision? A balanced budget? A passionate board? A CEO with exceptional leadership skills that you could happily follow?
If any of this resonates with you, then it may be time for a change. Yes, change is hard. But if your heart is not squarely rooted in the mission of the nonprofit you serve, you may find yourself struggling. Struggling to raise funds. Struggling to inspire donors. Struggling with burnout. Just struggling.
So often in our Annual Fund Training Camp, attendees come to us after class after we discuss having your heart in the mission and confess, “I think I may need to get another job.” If that’s true for you today, don’t lose heart. We all make snap judgments…or moves that we regret…or choices that no longer align with our personal values.
Just remember: it’s never too late to do the right thing. Search your heart. Find what moves you. Then begin to look for a place where your heart, your soul, and your passion are excited by the mission. You’ll likely find your success there, too!
Need help finding that next step? Or searching for a new development officer who is truly inspired by your work? Contact Let’s Build Hope – we want to hear from you: (314) 716-2496 or LetsBuildHope@lbh-stl.com.
#LBH #LetsBuildHope #GlimmersOfHope #MyHeartIsInTheMission #InspiredToday!