In my experience, donor research and stewardship go hand in hand. In fact, a little bit of research can take even the most routine stewardship efforts to a whole new level. This week, my colleague Angie Herrington describes a recent stewardship fail on the part of an organization she wanted to support for a lifetime. They lost her, though, and in this article she offers great advice to help guide nonprofits on the value of just doing a little research to keep donors close. ~Helen
A year ago, I lost a dear member of my family. Not long after, I knew I wanted to do something to remember her while helping another. This was going to be my first gift, a significant one for me monetarily and personally. After doing my research, I found my answer with a personalized paving stone memorializing our loss, honoring our longtime and dedicated doctor, and with a portion of the gift going to a hardship fund.
Within seconds of pressing send, I felt an unexpected and absolute high! The personal pride and joy made my heart swell and I was immediately thinking about my next gift. I remembered prospect strategy meetings and discussing a donor’s answer to the “what’s your passion” question. I finally had MY answer.
As a fundraising insider, I should not have been surprised by the following months. Several weeks later I asked about the timeline and if the doctor would be notified. A boiler plate acknowledgment letter was mailed.
Three months later I emailed and learned the order was delayed. Six months after I made the gift, I sent another email and was told it would be sent to the engraver any day now. It included a firm “we’ll contact you when it’s installed.” Ouch. [Read more…]