Donor Stewardship What is Donor Stewardship? This is the process of looking after your current donors - especially your major donors.  Any good business will tell you that it is at least 3 times easier to sell to an existing customer than to recruit a new one.  The same goes for fundraising.  Your first gift from a donor doesn’t have to be your last, as long as you have a good stewardship programme in place. OK, so what does a Donor Stewardship Programme consist of? In the first instance it is simply saying thank you.  Make it immediately after a gift is made, make it genuine, make it personal.  Then thank again.  Following that, keep the donor involved.  Send them donor-only newsletters, invite them to events, make sure you thank them personally when you see them.  If they’re a major supporter, would they like their name on a plaque?  Should the Head of your institution send them Christmas cards?  You must decide what will work best with each donor. Setting up major donor societies Some schools and universities have societies which donors automatically join when they give at a certain level.  For example there could be a bronze club for donors who have given more than £5,000; a Sliver Club for £10,000+; and a Gold Club for those giving £50,000+.  You will need to decide what will work best for your organisation.  Be aware that some donors find this sort of recognition embarrassing - make sure you respond to their wishes. Can I give my donors a gift to say thank you? BE VERY CAREFUL.  If you have claimed Gift Aid on a donation, there are specific restrictions on the value of any gift you can give them in return.  (Otherwise, they have effectively made a purchase, not a donation.)  Don’t stray outside the rules - check out the latest HMRC guidance at ‘Providing benefits in return for donations’. Want to learn more about winning over major donors?   Read: Relationship Fundraising: A Donor- based Approach to the Business of Raising Money. See it on Amazon. Donor Stewardship © Orier Digital Limited 2012