Donor Care 101: Nurturing Relationships for Lasting Impact

Getting started Fundraising guide

Starting a career in fundraising is an exciting journey, full of opportunities to make a real impact on the world.

Before we get started, did you know that research in the US estimates that 70% of all first-time donors to a nonprofit organization will not make a second gift?

As fundraisers, especially if you’re new to the sector, we often wonder how to go beyond securing one-time pledges and cultivating long-lasting relationships with our donors. 

The answer lies in fundraising stewardship – a set of strategies designed to express gratitude, demonstrate the impact of contributions and foster a sense of community among supporters. 

In this blog post, I’ll explore concrete examples of fundraising stewardship best practices that will help you build a dedicated community of donors committed to your cause.


Stewardship: Saying Thanks in Meaningful Ways


Stewardship is about expressing genuine appreciation to your donors and showing them that their actions matter. While a simple thank-you is essential, let’s delve into creative ways to recognize their generosity.

A Handwritten Thank You: Whether a handwritten message on a branded thank you card or a simple card, taking the time to handwrite a message can have a powerful effect on donors. In the digital age, simple things such as these will not go unnoticed.

Personalized Thank You Videos: Imagine receiving a heartfelt video message from the organization you’ve supported, where beneficiaries or team members express their gratitude directly. Personalized thank-you videos add a personal touch and make donors feel truly valued. Use platforms such as Bonjoro or Loom (affiliate link).


Surveys and Feedback Forms: Involve donors in shaping the future of your initiatives. Send them surveys and feedback forms to gather their opinions and ideas. This not only shows that you care about their input but also provides valuable insights for improvement.


Impact Reporting: Showing Tangible Results


Donors want to see the impact of their contributions, and transparency is key. Here are some impactful ways to communicate the outcomes of your initiatives:


Compelling Case Studies: Create in-depth case studies that narrate individual success stories or the transformation of communities. Personal stories add a human touch to the impact. Share before-and-after stories, photographs, or videos to vividly illustrate the change.


Visually Appealing Infographics: Not everyone has the time to dive into lengthy reports. Visualize your impact through infographics that condense complex data into easily shareable and digestible graphics. These can be shared on social media, emails, or your website.


Heartfelt Video Testimonials: Record video testimonials from beneficiaries or community members sharing how your initiatives have positively affected their lives. Videos evoke powerful emotions and create a lasting impression.


Real-Time Updates: Harness the power of social media to provide real-time updates and live coverage of your initiatives. Live streams, Instagram stories, or Facebook posts not only keep donors informed but also give them a sense of involvement and excitement. Consider adding a pledgers’ counter to show existing donors that they are part of a growing community.


Fostering Community: Building Connections Beyond Donations


Donors aren’t just contributors; they’re potential community members. Creating a sense of belonging is essential for long-term engagement.

Exclusive Online Discussion Forums: Invite donors to join exclusive online discussion forums where they can share ideas, experiences, and feedback related to your cause. Encourage active participation and moderation to maintain a positive atmosphere. It can be on any platform such as Slack, Facebook groups, Circle, Mighty Networks etc.


Annual Gatherings: Organize annual or periodic gatherings where donors can meet each other and your team in person or virtually. These events create a sense of unity and offer a chance to celebrate achievements together.


Donor Spotlights: Feature donor spotlights on your website or social media channels, highlighting their contributions and the reasons behind their support. It humanizes the donor community and inspires others to join.




In the world of fundraising, stewardship is the bridge that transforms one-time donors into dedicated supporters and advocates. By saying thanks in creative ways, showing the tangible results of contributions, and fostering a sense of community, you can build lasting connections with donors. 

As a professional in fundraising, these stewardship best practices will not only help you retain donors but also create a community of committed individuals who are passionate about your cause. 

Remember, it’s not just about securing funds; it’s about building a movement of change-makers.

Are you new to the world of fundraising or transitioning into a fundraising role for the first time? Are you seeking guidance, support, or mentorship in your fundraising journey?

Hi, I'm Sabine Panneau, a Global Fundraising Consultant with over 20 years of experience in Fundraising, Business Development and Marketing.

I'm here to support and empower fundraisers like you in achieving your fundraising goals.


Reach out to me today, and let's embark on this fundraising journey together.

Ready to gain full confidence in your fundraising plans?

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