Stewarding Your Donors Online: Augmenting Mail and Phone Programs with an Integrated Online Approach
We were honored to facilitate this workshop at the 2011 Bridge to Integrated Marketing and Fundraising Conference in July. Kevin Sturtevant, vice president for development from Public Justice, joined us and shared his on-the-ground experience.
We started the workshop talking about stewardship and how important it is to successful philanthropy. We agreed on the following definition from The Association of Fundraising Professionals' Fundraising Dictionary: "A process whereby an organization seeks to be worthy of continued philanthropic support, including the acknowledgment of gifts, donor recognition, the honoring of donor intent, prudent investment of gifts, and the effective and efficient use of funds to further the mission of the organization."
Starting here is important to the conversation about how your organization will pro-actively steward your donors. What is the process? Who is responsible for it, and how will you measure success?
During the workshop, we started with storytelling. It is a very compelling tool that can deeply and quickly connect your donors and mission. Gathering stories from donors, volunteers and program participants is fun and should be done proactively. You can do interviews and ask for testimonials. Today, video rules! It is easy to do and can be used on your nonprofit website, in e-mails, and through your social-media channels.
Once you have the stories to tell, you need to create a strategy around how to use them to reach the right donors with the messages and information they care about. Today there is no excuse for sending generic messages, especially when stewarding donors. We learn about our donor's interests by collecting data from the information we send them. This means we need to collect and review what they responded to, where they clicked, how long they viewed a page, and even ask them outright! We are able to better focus and integrate our stewardship efforts through this behavioral data.