Donor Stewardship: Enhance Your Nonprofit’s Word of Mouth Strategy

by Cameron Ripley  |   |  Strategy Fundraising  |  2 comments

2 min to read ✭ In this post, you will learn about a few great approaches to improving your nonprofit's donor stewardship before year-end.

In recent years, the donor retention rate has been around 45% for the nonprofit sector at large. However, to grow your organization’s giving, you must continuously be improving your donor stewardship, which will in turn benefit your nonprofit’s word-of-mouth strategy.

In today’s world, your organization can dramatically improve retention and continually increase revenue each year by improving your donor stewardship. This is an opportunity that you absolutely cannot miss.


How to Define Donor Stewardship

Donor Stewardship is the comprehensive effort of a nonprofit to ensure that donors experience high-quality interactions with their organization. Fostering long-term engagement and investment is a direct result of an effective donor stewardship strategy.

Another way to look at donor stewardship is from the lens of a word-of-mouth approach. What special moments have you systematized that take your donor experience to the next level? You want your donors to continuously count on having a wonderful giving experience with your organization. It is time to move on from one time thank you’s and acknowledgements and transition to offering a recurring experience they will appreciate.


How to Get Started Improving Donor Stewardship

First, you want to map out your donor journey. Then you will want to think deeply about what that journey looks like from your donors’ perspectives.

Analyze the key stages of this journey and look for where you can foster talk triggers or special moments. Identifying these unique opportunities is what will help your nonprofit stand out among the rest. Is your nonprofit doing anything to make your donors feel special? If you were donating to your organization, how do you feel throughout the various stages of the journey? 


Tactics Your Team Can Implement

 There are a few different approaches that your team can begin implementing. In order to step up your stewardship and improve donor retention, you must be thinking strategically as well as empathetically. And again, frame your focus around how your organization’s donor journey looks from your donors’ perspectives. Here are a few tactics that are worth giving a shot: 

Examine your “Thank You” page. What does it look like? Where can it be improved?

Record thank you videos on YouTube. Sending your donors a quick video from your team will add a personal touch to your donors’ giving experience.

Acknowledge your donors with social credibility. Say thank you on Instagram or Facebook stories. This is a really great tactic if you are looking for something short, sweet, and easy to achieve! 

Have your executive director or specific team members call and thank the donor personally. While this is time-consuming, it will go a long way.

Make digital thank you cards! You can save paper and still send a heartfelt message with an E-card.

Run Facebook or Instagram ads to say thank you. You can hyper-target here and make sure whoever needs to see your message will see it.

Segment your donor lists and send each an update depending on gift size or however else you want to separate it. Learn more on the importance of segmenting your donor lists here.

Send out a text-based email thanking your donors! Something as simple as sending an email directly to your donors can still make a big impact.

Long story short, acknowledging your donors in any way will make a big impact. The key is to make sure you are just saying thank you and are giving gratitude for their donations. Go the extra mile and send them an impact report of how their donation helped. 


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Hopefully by now you have some ideas as to how you can step-up your donor stewardship before year-end. It’s not too late. There is so much we can do with the accessibility of technology, so getting creative for donor stewardship is really as simple as the click of a button.

Put some time into thinking about your donor journey and think how you can move them with a message. How can your organization create a donor experience that stands out from other nonprofits? How can you use donor stewardship to be your word of mouth strategy? These are the questions you need to be asking yourself first.

Please be sure to subscribe to our videos and follow us on social if you want to continue learning how to scale your nonprofit through effective marketing strategies!

Cameron Ripley


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