Advancement Blog

Turn Giving Tuesday gifts into recurring donations

by Dena Schwartz

Advancement teams' work doesn't end when the sun sets on Giving Tuesday.

The annual post-Thanksgiving fundraising drive raised approximately $274 million this year—thanks to mobile-optimized giving pages, social media engagement, and matching gifts. However, these donors may never give again if they are not reminded of the importance of their gift.

Turning these one-time gifts into recurring donations depends on a strong stewardship strategy. Recognizing supporters and showing the impact of their gifts is a crucial step in building a pipeline of annual donors and major gift prospects.

On Giving Tuesday, we interviewed our Advancement Forum colleagues to hear about their experiences donating to a variety of nonprofit organizations. Then we waited to see how each organization stewarded its donors. Here are our top two stewardship takeaways from the experience:

Share results that matter to small donors

Giving Tuesday prioritizes the impact of small donors, so Furman University shared results on which any donor could have an impact: participating households, young alumni donors, and first-time donors. A donor at any level could see themselves represented in these metrics.

Stewardship Example

Plus, the numbers are combined with a quote from a recent graduate, showing how annual fund gifts have a direct impact on the student experience. Combining data and a narrative makes it clear that giving back is about more than just reaching quantitative goals.

Embrace the transactional mentality

To grab donors' attention among all of the appeals on Giving Tuesday, the University of Pennsylvania embraced an incentive campaign: donors were informed that they would receive a hat as a thank-you for making a gift. Informing donors of the hat before they give means that stewardship is not a surprise—anyone who gives knows how they will be recognized. This upfront look at stewardship allows nonprofit organizations to stand out for donors who compare all of the alternatives before giving.

Stewardship Example

While some donors discard the trinkets they receive from nonprofit organizations, advancement leaders increasingly recognize exclusive items can motivate many individuals to make a gift. Furthermore, whenever donors put on the hat, they will be reminded of their giving experience.

When it comes to fostering repeat donations, using these two stewardship strategies can help your institution stay top-of-mind.

Learn more strategies for staying top-of-mind—year round

Explore our infographic to learn how to boost alumni participation rates and win more donors in today's competitive attention economy.

Access the Infographic


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