Prospecting 101: Donor Cultivation
Donor Cultivation is the “courtship period” — during which you and your prospect get to know each other better, deepening the connection they have to your organization over time. On the other hand, stewardship occurs after a donor has made a gift, and you must appropriately acknowledge, recognize, and report back on the impact of that contribution. Both are incredibly important, non-ask elements of the fundraising cycle.
Our team at Faircom New York recognizes the essential role that cultivation and stewardship play in building strong, meaningful, long-lasting donor relationships. This is particularly true for mid-level and major donor audiences, where a higher degree of personalization is the norm.
That’s why our team has established services to support cultivation and stewardship management within your development team, which can be incorporated and laid over the broader marketing objectives for your donors on an annual basis.
Setting Up Tools and Resources for Cultivation
Having a plan in place for each donor is critical to cultivation success. By laying out individual strategies and calendars, you build intentional relationships with your donors — not scrambling to create meaningful interactions or touchpoints at the last minute.
To ensure that you are making the most of your donor relationships, our team offers a range of support services, including:
- Cultivation calendar templates that include core traits, month-by-month action tracking fields, and guidelines for calendar updates and maintenance.
- Donor strategy worksheets that set ranked objectives by donor, such as short-term goals to advance the relationship, and establish teams that will participate in the relationship development of a particular donor.
- Setup personalized annual calendars and donor strategy worksheets for a subset or full caseload of donors.
- Suggested key performance indicators (KPIs) to track your program and moves management progress, including a mix of monetary and non-monetary indicators.
- Coaching through personalized training agendas and mock meetings to build your team’s confidence in the fundraising process.
The Faircom team can also provide you with resources that can form a reference library to help fill out cultivation actions. These can include specially developed Communications Collateral and supporting documents like a Case for Support .
Laying a Strong Foundation for Donor Stewardship
Quality donor stewardship is built on transparency, accountability, and impact reporting, and it is the cornerstone of establishing long-lasting, loyal partnerships with your donors.
The Faircom New York team can help you by setting up policies, procedures, and tools for stewardship in your overall moves management process, including:
- Developing a donor acknowledgement matrix to set expectations for how a donor will be handled after a gift is made at a particular level, and who in your organization will be involved in acknowledgements at different levels.
- Compiling a library of stewardship resources including items like:
- Thank you call scripts, which can be versioned for different team members or gift levels.
- Thank you letters and tax receipts, which can be versioned for different team members or gift levels.
- Personalized impact reporting templates that will provide a base for communicating the outcomes of a particular charitable investment.
- Reviewing gift tracking protocols to ensure appropriate crediting and record keeping, which is critical for long-term database health and program planning.
One great way to build out donor stewardship opportunities is through dedicated giving societies. These branded groups are often structured around different giving levels, with assigned benefits to donors who qualify for a certain level.
Involving Your Whole Team in Stewardship
A culture of philanthropy exists when you create an environment in which your whole team, not just your development staff, understands that fundraising is essential to the organization’s health and sees the role that they play in philanthropy. to support your mission.
One of the easiest and most rewarding ways to build a culture of philanthropy within your organization is to involve everyone on your team in donor stewardship.
We can work directly with your team — including staff, Board members, and volunteers — to introduce them to the value they can add to stewardship, as well as help them become comfortable with the role they play as ambassadors for your nonprofit.
Experienced Faircom New York facilitators can build coaching opportunities and other workshops with a range of interactive exercises, engaging presentations, and takeaway materials that keep the process fun and informative.