Steffani Lautenschlager, MEd, CFRE, Senior Consultant
In this season of gratitude, it’s good to remember that one size does not fit all when it comes to stewardship. Gary Chapman wrote, “The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts,” which describes how each of us have a preferred way that we give and receive love. When your partner or friend speaks your love language you automatically deepen the connection to that person. You pay attention more. You engage more. You give more of yourself. So much of this is also true for our relationship with our donors.
We often talk about how we need to love on our donors, but we don’t always take the time to think about or even ask what their preference is in our approach to stewarding them. It’s important for us to pause and think about how we share our gratitude with donors, especially during this time of thanksgiving. If we approach our stewardship as a one size fits all, we will miss the chance to truly let people understand their full impact on our nonprofits and community.
Chapman identified these 5 love languages:
When thinking about how we steward our donors, we could correlate these 5 love languages to mean:
Relationships that last are complimentary to one another. It’s not one sided. It’s not “all about me.” The ones that consider how the other person receives love have long-lasting and happier relationships. Identify ways that your nonprofit can stand out by sharing your gratitude in the way your donors each separately receive it. Yes, I recognize this takes a lot of time, but it also is important intentional time that will benefit your organization year after year with retention and increased giving.
Practice on your colleagues, by finding out their love language and using it to show appreciation for their commitment to your organization. Then move on to your top give donors and beyond. Let us know what you experience and how it makes you feel. Sharing gratitude in your donor’s love language will grow them closer to your mission and will fill you with joy as well!
Questions on donor stewardship? Contact Let’s Build Hope today:
(314) 716-2496 or LetsBuildHope@lbh-stl.com.
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