Thank you very, very, very much!

by Marcy Heim on August 11, 2021


“Thank you!”  Seems like ‘thank you’ came right after ‘Mama’ and ‘Papa’ as you learned to speak! And throughout your early years how often were you reminded, “Now what do you say?” “Oh, right. Thank you.”

Thank you

In your work inspiring generosity, (and by the way, THANK YOU for what you do to inspire generosity!), there are Three Stewardship Levels to our gratitude. These three levels are key to creating a donor experience that makes your givers thankful they got involved with you in the first place!

3 stewardship levels

I shared these levels during my keynote with the AFP Alaska Conference, Facets of Stewardship—A hands-on lab for a Polished, Personalized Strategy.  click here

There we considered how, much like a diamond, your stewardship efforts should be designed with intentionality and balance to make your organization shine in the hearts of your donors.

great stewardship begins...

Do you ever ask yourself, “How can I give my donors the very best donor experience?” Here are eight key ideas to trigger your thinking on how to keep your donors excited and delighted to be part of your mission…forever.

Marcy’s 8 Key Ideas to Trigger Great Stewardship

a purple square“Appreciation ≠ Recognition”

GET this difference – it’s key! Anonymous giving, challenges securing gifts to name buildings, etc all screams many donors want to feel appreciated – not recognized. It’s not the same thing.

a purple squareYou do stewardship because it’s the right thing to do – even if you don’t get “credit” for it.

Not all shops have great cultures of stewardship. In some, metrics are weighted heavily on asks, credit for stewardship is undervalued and paid only “lip-service.” Do it anyway. You will be lighter, enjoy your work more and be more successful.

a purple squareThe larger the gift, the more time you must take to personalize your actions.

Regardless of the gift size, we want our donors to ALL feel special. I get it. But you must focus and prioritize your actions on your largest donors – make it special for them.

a purple squareCreativity and authenticity are far more important to success than a large “stewardship budget.”

Honestly it’s about listening and hearing the little things that are special and meaningful for your giver. Often your time and attention is your best gift – SINCERELY delivered. Enuf said.

a purple squareYou can’t do this alone – Engaging partners is crucial. (Click here for worksheet)

There is only one of you. This is the VERY BEST PLACE to bring in your board, volunteers, other donors, other organizations, and on and on as partners. Use the worksheet I attached for how.

a purple squareThe words you use are important – to the donor and back at the shop.

How you say it matters. How you talk TO your givers and also how you talk ABOUT your givers. Always speak as if your donor was standing within ear shot.

a purple squareOne size does not fit all – but experiences and ideas can be shared and tweaked for another donor.

Yes, great stewardship takes time and effort, but you will, over time, create your own treasure chest of experiences, stuff, people, and words that best resonate with “your giver family.”

a purple squareYOU are a touch in a giver’s philanthropic journey. Make yours a good one.

This is your legacy to your profession.

While I was writing this I got a phone call —“Hmmm spam?” I wondered?  It was, Dan, the volunteer chair of this year’s Monona Concert series – a big fundraiser for the Senior Center. He called to thank me for performing there and shared how many people said to be sure to have “Marcy and the Highlights” back next summer. Great stewardship. Five minutes – made my day.

Thank you very, very, very much – for creating so much more than resources. Your legacy is not only the mission work accomplished with the dollars you raise – it’s all the times YOU make someone’s day through your acts of stewardship. SHINE ON!

Invest in JOY®

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