8 ways of avoiding stewardship mistakes

After putting in a good deal of effort to identify and engage donors, the last thing fundraisers need is to miss out on continued giving opportunities due to stewardship slip ups.

During the recent National Catholic Development Conference, Dawn M.S. Miller of Zielinski Companies in St. Louis, Mo., presented “The Art of Good Stewardship” and shared eight ways to avoid stewardship mistakes.

* Don’t talk too much. Remember, it’s not about you. Refrain from dominating conversations with donors and bringing up the organization too often.

* Keep your ears open. Learn how to truly listen to what the donor is saying to you.

* Don’t take donors for granted. Just because the person has made a gift, doesn’t mean that another one is coming down the pike.

* Research the donor before the meeting. Make sure that everyone who will speak with the donor has the same background knowledge prior to any meeting.

* Keep the donor abreast to how you are using the gift. Share specific results, the impact the gift made and what the donor is getting out of the investment.

* Hold your horses during stewardship meetings. Don’t jump into solicitation. If you are meeting with a donor to say “thank you,” do not ask for a gift.

* Educate the donor about the organization. Donors might or might not know all of the details concerning the program they are supporting. Share what you know and ask for feedback to gauge their understanding.

* Don’t keep excitement to yourself. If you have energy and passion for your organization, share it. It will rub off on donors.