Stewardship, The "Healing White Light" of Fundraising | npENGAGE

Stewardship: The “Healing White Light” of Fundraising

By on Dec 18, 2013


So you might be wondering about the title and what it all means.  Let me explain.  The past seven weeks I have had some health issues, and one of my incredible colleagues, Michael Quevli, who also blogs on this site and is well known in the field of fundraising and prospect research (and also known as one of the most caring and fun-loving people you ever want to meet), used a phrase that just resonated with me during my entire health scare journey of late.  He emailed to me that he was sending thoughts of a “healing white light,” during my time of several hospital procedures, surgery and recovery.  His thoughts and words meant the world to me, as did all the incredible emails, phone calls, and cards that several of my Blackbaud Target Analytics colleagues sent to me during the past few weeks.

This got me thinking that it is a metaphor, in some aspects, to the way we steward our donors.  It made me ponder the following questions:

  • Does your organization send a “thank you” to your donors without making another gift ask?
  • Who are you thanking in this manner?  Major donors?  Mid-level donors?  Smaller annual donors?
  • Do you send communications to your donors to simply inform and educate them, outlining some specifics that their gift to your organization funded and how it was utilized to help further your mission?  Your donors want and need to know that they are making a difference to your organization.
  • Do you continue stewarding your donors towards the next gift ask?  It is good to note that you will want to be sure to pay attention to any new major donors, or those who gave you a mid-level gift.  These mid-level donors may transition over time to being one of your major donors, and important, timely, and helpful content communicated on the funding of and importance of their gift, again without the ask, is a critical part of stewardship to these donor segments.
  • For those who gave their first major gift, it is important to make those personal phone calls and/or hand-written notes, with the purpose of thanking them and acknowledging the importance of their gift to your organization’s mission.  This will go a  long way to cultivating the next major gift.

My blog is not a long one, and there maybe isn’t anything earth-shattering here.  I simply wanted to share with you how the act of caring thoughts sent to me by my colleagues and some of my clients, made me feel appreciated and supported.  I always try to do the same for them, letting them know how important they are to me, so I think if you pay it forward, you will see the rewards come back tenfold.

I do wish to thank everyone at Blackbaud, both my work colleagues and clients, for all the well-wishes and thoughts of “healing white light.”  I felt it all the way here in Minneapolis!  Happy holidays to all!


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