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Donor Stewardship in the Summertime

Each summer I write a piece about proper attention to donors. And the centerpiece of “proper” is “thank you.”

So my advice to you on this rainy New England day in mid-June is to think about proper donor acknowledgement this summer.

Start with a note. A thank you note out of the blue is always a nice touch. Unexpected, maybe on a picture postcard you have created that presents a nice image of how you are delivering your mission in your community. With a brief signed note of thanks to your donor. A personal touch, a bit out of the ordinary that will get this person’s attention.

Host an event. Depending on the mission of your nonprofit, holding a morning coffee, afternoon tea or early evening canapes with refreshing drinks reception would be well received. If you are an arts-related organization, this is very easily done and will be much appreciated. If you are an environmental or health or social service organization, finding space for this might be a bit of a challenge, but a board member might help you and co-host it at a nice spot. And having a speaker talk briefly for a few minutes on a topic of interest can add to the draw. And the event isn’t to make an appeal for another gift. It’s purely an opportunity to acknowledge donors and socialize.

House party. The latest trend is for board members to host mini parties at their homes and ask for contributions. This could be simply thank you events in a home setting, featuring light hors d’houvres and drinks of some sort and a chance for people close to the nonprofit to mix socially with donors and let them know they are appreciated.

Try this on for size. It’s an application of relationship fundraising…with a focus on the relationship.

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