5 ways of defining great stewardship

One aspect of nonprofit operations is the culture that exists, within the sector, within an area of concern, within an organization.

Speaking during the recent international conference of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Steve Higgins of Bob Carter Companies and Cathy Hryncewich of Father Martin’s Ashley emphasized the importance of stewardship in the fundraising effort. More than just asking for money, stewardship means creating an atmosphere in which an organization’s mission and vision are appreciated.

They said that stewardship means: Thanking; Introducing; Involving; Providing a pleasant surprise; Providing access; Demonstrating the organization’s commitment; Listening; Connecting; Sharing values; Reminiscing; Showing interest; and, Cheering.

All that is good, but Higgins and Hryncewich urged nonprofits to go beyond the ordinary and strive for great stewardship, because great stewardship creates a culture of philanthropy. It is a finely tuned machine, of which every board member contributes and serves as an ambassador and to which donors are engaged, have influence and make a difference. Great stewardship means that:


* Everyone in the organization is crating and building lasting relationships.

* Everyone understands the need to raise money and knows their role in that effort.

* Everyone behaves as an ambassador, helping to identify new friends.

* Everyone can articulate a case for giving and how a gift will be used.

* Everyone can answer basic questions about mission, programs and finances.