| 2 min read

Stop Stewarding Donors, Start Raising Money

For a lot of organizations, donor stewardship is nonexistent. If you don’t have any donor stewardship happening in your organization, then you want to read this blog on: How Forgetting About Your Donors Leads to a Hamster Wheel Hustle

And yet for others, they use donor stewardship as a distraction to cultivation.

Is this you?⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

If so, it’s not your fault. There are a lot of nonprofit coaches and consultants who give one-size-fits-all fundraising advice about stewardship. ⠀⠀⠀⠀

I have the perfect example in one of my clients…⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

I met this amazing woman, Sherry, who created a nonprofit after the loss of her son. She still worked her 9-5, while running the nonprofit on the side. She was burning the candle at both ends, and unfortunately totally burnt out.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

When we looked at what she was doing to raise funds, her time was spent creating content to send out to past funders constantly. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

I asked her, “Do you like sending ALL these emails?”⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

She laughed and admitted, “No, I really don’t”. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

So I asked Sherry why she was doing this and her answer was: “I read on a blog that I had to in order to keep my donors engaged.”⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

There it was, that bad advice resurfacing and holding nonprofits back.

So we changed her gameplan. I coached her to:

  • Decrease her stewardship outreach by 75% (because no one was reading them anyway) 
  • We created segments of her donors based on their interest areas, gift size, how they were introduced to the organization, etc. and we started to create customized and targeted outreach 
  • We diversified the engagement strategies including blogs, surveys, photo albums, videos from staff, virtual tours of the facilities, and thought leadership panels
  • We watched the data around the different engagement methods to see what was really working for her audience in particular ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

Then, we took all of her newly found extra time to focus on effective engagement for new funders, while engaging her loyal donor base in a way that saved her tons of time and actually cultivated the relationship. 

Now Sherry has a scalable fundraising system that she enjoys and she’s bringing in way more gifts!

The best part is now she isn’t wasting time creating outreach that she doesn’t want to create for funders that don’t want to read it! 

The burnout issue was also solved.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

Moral of the story:⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

Listening to advice that doesn’t meet you where you’re at or show you how to evaluate & apply the strategy for your specific organization can be a huge problem.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

AND you need to be aware of where you’re doing certain tasks on overdrive to avoid the scarier ones.

Have you joined my FREE Webinar yet that talks more about this – How to Raise More from the Right Funders WITHOUT Hounding Them? I have tons of great advice and my Power Partners Formula™️ is included. Sign up here for a 60 minute lesson on how you can improve your fundraising efforts by 25% with less work.


For more of my favorite fundraising tips and tricks, check out my Resource page! Here, you can find relevant articles, webinars, quizzes, etc. about fundraising in the nonprofit sector. In addition, you can subscribe to What the Fundraising for ongoing conversations about how you can fundamentally change the way you lead and fundraise. And to learn how to raise more from the right funders using the Power Partners Formula, you are always welcome to join one of my free Masterclasses at malloryerickson.com/free.

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