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K-State Research and Extension
123 Umberger Hall
Manhattan, KS 66506-3401

February 4, 2020

Why Donor Stewardship Matters

Submitted by Avery Rush

Valentine Mailing

Stewardship: noun, the job of taking care of something

Traditionally when we think of stewardship, the typical thought process of stewarding a gift surrounds making sure the money goes to the right place, the right receipt is sent, as well as a nice thank you. None of that is wrong! All of those things are very important, especially where the IRS is concerned. When we stop to think about what matters, it’s all about the donor. That’s why DONOR stewardship matters!

Research tells us that donors want the following things: access, information and experiences. Access to those in charge as well as those who are benefiting from their giving, information about the impact of their gift and types of experiences they can’t buy. Research also tells us that donors have needs including transparency surrounding their gift, understanding the impact of their gift and the need to be thanked. As in, thanked seven times per gift. That’s not to say we send seven thank you notes, but we do reach out several times per year with great stories of impact, gratitude, ‘insider’ information, videos and invitations to events.

This year the Foundation implemented a Valentine’s stewardship piece. What a fun way to make our donors feel loved! Typically, when it comes to sending ‘stuff’ in the mail (think: note pads, magnets, window clings and pens) just say no! People don’t want stuff, but what they do want is to feel remembered, honored and loved. In the three sentences of language, this card accomplishes three things. First, acknowledging their giving and support and what that means to 4-H. Second is a meaningful thank you and lastly, a call to action. We are excited to send this piece to 500 4-H supporters including first time givers, donors with 5+ years of giving, 1905 Society members, major donors, scholarship donors, volunteers and YOU, our Extension professionals!

This year we look forward to partnering with you to create the best experiences for Kansas 4-H donors.