10 basics of stewardship

Wouldn’t it be nice if every donor gave and kept on giving? Fact is, donors give but don’t keep on giving, meaning nonprofits have to work at keeping them happy and loyal.

It’s stewardship, and it is an important part of a nonprofit organization’s work.

At the 14th annual Symposium for Nonprofit Professionals and Volunteers at the Axelson Center for Nonprofit Management, Brenda Asare of The Alford Group and consultant Emily Lohse-Busch discussed the art of retaining donors.

They said the reasons donors stop giving vary, but they include being no longer able to afford support, no memory of ever supporting the organization, still supporting it in some other way, thinking that the cause no longer needs their support, relocation, not being reminded to give again, not being inform about how their money was used and the organization’s communications or amounts requested being inappropriate.

According to Asare and Lohse-Busch, the art of retention involves the 10 basics of stewardship. They are:

  • Communicate effectively.
  • Send a survey.
  • Invite donors, key stakeholders and prospective donors to targeted events.
  • Provide individualized programmatic updates.
  • Say thank you – over and over again.
  • Give appropriate recognition.
  • Practice active listening.
  • Remember that audience is key.
  • Identify and utilize the organization’s best ambassadors.
  • Establish a donor stewardship culture.