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Donor Relations & Stewardship

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Student Engagement & Philanthropy Month
Sample Collection The Library maintains this collection of samples from institutions that participated in CASE ASAP's Student Engagement and Philanthropy Month in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016. The collection is available to all CASE members and highlights dozens of programming ideas, including ways to engage students in thanking donors.

Stewardship Program Checklist
The CASE Stewardship Program Checklist, created in 2008 by the CASE commissions on alumni relations and philanthropy, is intended to help managers conduct internal self-assessments of stewardship programs. The checklist may be useful to both new and experienced managers as they assess their programs and may also be helpful in staff training and orientation. It is intended to be inclusive but not exhaustive, and not all items may apply to every institution.

Donor Bill of Rights
The Donor Bill of Rights was developed by the American Association of Fund-Raising Counsel (AAFRC), Association for Healthcare Philanthropy (AHP), Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), and the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), and adopted in November 1993. It is a key document for fundraisers, advancement services professionals, and related disciplines.

Senior Leaders in Donor Relations
Conference This optional preconference workshop is for senior leaders and held in conjunction with the Annual Conference for Donor Relations Professionals.

Voices:
CURRENTS Article Advice on handling an advancement colleague's inappropriate relationship with a donor; Colorado State's lessons on making a recipe video; and how to avoid errors in your database's list of deceased alumni.

5 Ways Board Members Can Support Fundraising
CURRENTS Article "I'm happy to do anything, except ask for money." Work in educational advancement long enough, and you'll probably hear those words from a foundation or governing board member. For some volunteers, asking for financial gifts produces anxiety—and most people are already dealing with pressure in their life. The last thing they need is more stress from a volunteer job. Discomfort with asking can be a major stumbling block for fundraising success. But the ask is only one step in a larger creative process that's intentionally managed to attract donor investment. Reluctant board members can still help our cause, even if they're not making an ask. Here's how to play to their strengths.

Donor Surveys
Sample Collection The CASE Library maintains this collection of donor survey samples for all members.

Talking Shop: We’re All Ducks
CURRENTS Article Vu Le is the brains and comedic voice behind the Nonprofit with Balls blog. As an executive director of a nonprofit, Le often writes from the perspective of a grantee, producing no-nonsense articles such as “9 annoying nonprofit trends that need to die.” His Seattle-based organization, Rainier Valley Corps, trains people of color for nonprofit leadership positions, so he has lots to say about improving diversity.

10 Reasons Why People Give (and 5 Reasons They Don't)
CURRENTS Article Generosity lights up the same part of your brain that responds to food and sex: Neuroscientists at the National Institutes of Health demonstrated this in a study using functional magnetic resonance imaging. When study participants acted equitably, they activated their brain's orbitofrontal cortex, which assesses rewards. Giving not only makes us feel good; it also makes us look good—and we're all concerned with what people think about us. Giving back can make you seem more responsible. Read on for additional reasons people give and to learn how research on generosity and behavioral economics can provide insights on how donors think.

Voices
CURRENTS Article Advice on endowment terms and a collection of tweets, quotations, advice, and more from the CASE Summit.

Giving Reports & Donor Honor Rolls
Sample Collection The Library maintains this collection of giving reports and donor honor rolls for all members. Reports that were recognized with a CASE Circle of Excellence Award are noted, and abstracts and judges' reports are linked when available.

Thanking Donors
CURRENTS Article Are You Still Mailing Form Letters? Seven smart ways to say thank you.

The World's Best Stewardship Ideas
CURRENTS Article There are only so many ways to say thank you, right? Wrong! Currents has collected innovative and creative ideas from around the world for thanking and recognizing donors, reporting the impact of their support, and cultivating them for future giving.

Recognizing Donors
CURRENTS Article Consultant Lynne Wester shows institutions new ways to engage their most influential donors.

Cultivating New Gifts
CURRENTS Article There are so many ways to give.

Reporting Impact
CURRENTS Article There's more than one way to tell a story. Here's how four institutions report to donors on how their gifts make a difference.

The Best of Advancement Talk
Podcast Jaime Porter from Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals talks about why she believes donor relations professionals should be responsible for gift monitoring. Also, learn about how to audit gift spending.

Donor Relations 101
Conference This optional preconference workshop will get you up to speed on the basics of donor relations. Whether you are building from scratch or retrofitting an existing program, the right tools, used correctly, will help you build rewarding relationships with your donors.

Annual Conference for Donor Relations Professionals
Conference Develop strategies to advance your stewardship and donor relations program and gain a better awareness of new trends in this fast-growing profession.

Outlook: Tackling Touchy Topics
CURRENTS Article For fundraisers, discussing touchy subjects is like mentioning politics at a family gathering: We are not there to debate but to foster positive feelings. We are told that when a donor raises a touchy topic we should not be drawn in—much less offer our own opinion—but listen respectfully and find a way to move on. But should "listen but don't engage" always be our default position? Should we not strive to understand what donors think, even if their worldview makes us uncomfortable? By inviting donors to clarify their views—and by responding with how we see the issue, through the ideals of our institution—we can deepen our awareness of each other's values and arrive at a common goal.

Outlook: Stop "Thasking"
CURRENTS Article Another institution's tactic isn't necessarily a best practice or even a good fit for your organization's needs. Yet bad stewardship ideas continue to resurface. Donors' needs are changing, and donor relations needs to evolve if we want to maximize stewardship to help boost fundraising, transform donor relations, and give donors what they truly want. We must take risks, challenge old assumptions, and use data to determine best and next practices.

To Boost Retention, Bring Stewardship to Life
Article,  BriefCASE Article To retain donors, it's up to institutions to rethink their stewardship plans, says a CASE expert speaker.

The Art of Thanking Volunteers Publicly
Article,  BriefCASE Article After that successful alumni tailgate or waffle breakfast, thanking the volunteers who made it a success is key. But a thank you note or email may be just the beginning of the volunteer recognition process, says a CASE faculty member.

Donor Relations Pros Should Monitor Gift Spending
Article,  BriefCASE Article The donor relations office should have responsibility for monitoring the spending of gifts, says one experienced practitioner.

A Creative Assist
CURRENTS Article When working with donors, it's important to connect with the heart and the mind.

Twists and TurnsToward a Gift
CURRENTS Article Alumnus Michael Lang wanted to give to an overlooked area that fit his passion.

Stewardship and the Second Gift
CURRENTS Article Barbara Samper would drive through Salinas Valley and see migrant workers in the field and think, "How can I help their children obtain a college education?"

A Friend to the End
CURRENTS Article In 2014, Foxcroft, an all-girls boarding/day school serving 157 students in grades 9-12, received a transformative gift of $40 million from Ruth Bedford, class of 1932.

How I Closed the Biggest Gift of My Career
CURRENTS Article Five fundraisers share the dramatic inside stories of large gifts along with key insights from their experiences, from being creative to collaborating with colleagues.

The Loyal Treatment
CURRENTS Article Higher education can learn important lessons from corporate loyalty programs. So what are their secrets? And how can you cash in on them?

Simple Donor Thank You Events Make Big Impact
Article,  BriefCASE Article Advancement practitioners at institutions celebrating Student Engagement and Philanthropy Day say it doesn’t take a huge investment to teach students the value of private giving—and they have high hopes about its returns.

Creative Cultivation that Doesn’t Break the Bank
Article,  BriefCASE Article Too often “stewardship” is defined by thank you notes, honor rolls of donors and black-tie dinners. But it is much broader: it’s whatever makes donors feel so good they want to give and give again, say presenters at the recent CASE-NAIS conference in Orlando, Fla.

Outlook: Retention Is the New Acquisition
CURRENTS Article At most educational institutions more than 90 percent of all fundraising revenue comes from just under 10 percent of their donors. Many fundraisers mistakenly accept this as the new normal. Raising more money from fewer donors is not a sign of efficiency. It is a sign of poor donor stewardship. When institutions do not keep the donors they acquire, they sacrifice the future income those donors may have provided.

Endowment Reports
Sample Collection The Library maintains this collection of personalized and general endowment reports and endowment report surveys for all CASE members. Reports are arranged alphabetically by institution.

Endowment Policies
Sample Collection The Library maintains this collection of endowment policies for all CASE members. Policies are arranged alphabetically by institution.

Outlook: Thank You Isn’t Good Enough
CURRENTS Article Educational fundraisers should steward annual giving donors, showing exactly where the gifts go, like they do major donors.

Gift Acceptance Policies
Good Question We are revising our gift acceptance policy and are interested in reviewing samples from other institutions. Do you have any samples or best practices to share?

Gift Acceptance Policies
Sample Collection The Library maintains this collection of gift acceptance policies from independent schools, colleges and universities.

Survey Shows Connection between Thanking Donors and Meeting Fundraising Goals
Article,  BriefCASE Article A survey of nearly 1,200 charitable organizations in the United States and Canada reveals that nearly 60 percent raised more contributions in 2012 than in 2011.

Mastering Donor Stewardship in the Digital Age
Article,  BriefCASE Article Advancement professionals at institutions must determine their donors’ wants and needs before using the latest digital communications tools in stewardship activities, says a CASE faculty member.

Using Digital Communications in Stewardship Activities
Podcast Hear what fundamentals UC-Davis' Angela Joens believes an institution should have in place before it uses the latest technology to steward donors and alumni. Also, hear why she believes donor relations offices should hire and mentor the next generation of advancement professionals.

Demonstrating the Difference
CURRENTS Article Stewardship and donor relations officers, as well as other advancement professionals, must increasingly be able to answer one big question: How do we know that what we're doing is working? Underlying this question is a desire, sparked by an evolution in the thinking of donors, to help donors understand the effects of their gifts.

Stewardship Videos
Sample Collection The Library compiled this collection of stewardship videos that were created to thank donors. The collection includes videos from independent schools, colleges and universities, including community colleges.

Stewardship Publications
Sample Collection The Library curated and annotated websites where advancement colleagues have gathered and contributed stewardship materials.

Stewardship Publications
Good Question I'm looking for samples of stewardship materials.

Seeing Both Sides
CURRENTS Article Development officers who give to their employers or favorite charity see first-hand how well those nonprofits treat donors, and they learn from those experiences.

Upward Bound
CURRENTS Article With the economy slowly mending, a number of colleges, universities, and independent schools are launching their biggest, longest-lasting, or first-ever campaigns. Campaigns that have recently launched are part of an evolution in which campaigns have become more donor-centric.

CASE Europe: Ethical Principles Behind the Acceptance of Gifts
Best Practice CASE Europe staff developed these 10 principles in collaboration with the Ross Group and the 1994 Group of Development Directors in September 2011.

Out of Focus
CURRENTS Article For years, development officers have cultivated prospective donors by listening to their deepest desires. Now, development officers' work increasingly involves devising a strategy for aligning the donor's desires with the mission, goals, and needs of their institution.

Outlook: The Gift Grid
CURRENTS Article Henry E. Riggs, president emeritus of Harvey Mudd College and Keck Graduate Institute, argues that gifts exist along a utility continuum, from gifts of high utility, or great benefit, to gifts of negative utility.

Naming Policies & Opportunities
Sample Collection The Library maintains this collection of links to naming policies and opportunities posted on school, college and university websites. Members who need help pricing opportunities can use the collection to review named gift amounts at a variety of institutions.

Donors Demand More Accountability from Nonprofits, Survey Says
Article,  BriefCASE Article A global survey on the state of the nonprofit industry reveals that donors worldwide are demanding more accountability of nonprofits.

Donor Relations and Stewardship Defined
Association of Donor Relations Professionals
Article In November 2010, ADRP published these definitions of donor relations and its four elements: gift acceptance and management, acknowledgment, donor recognition and reporting.

UK Universities Thank Donors during Donor Pin Week
Article,  BriefCASE Article Several universities across the United Kingdom are working together in an effort to expand an innovative fundraising initiative that uses special lapel pins to inspire giving and thank donors.

Cultivating Lifelong Donors: Stewardship and the Fundraising Pyramid
Blackbaud
White Paper Written by Frank Barry, Lawrence Henze, David Lamb and Katherine Swank as part of the Blackbaud Desktop Reference Series, this free 60-page book explains the fundraising pyramid and the importance of stewarding donors and building relationships throughout the donor lifecycle.

Incremente sus relaciones
CURRENTS Article El procurador de fondos debe estar enfocado en ver la manera de mejorar e incrementar las relación con sus donantes.

Take Five Steps to Better Donor Relations
Article,  BriefCASE Article A recent article in Fundraising Success magazine offers five lessons for building great donor relationships.

Office Space: Growing Your Relationships
CURRENTS Article Instead of focusing on the bottom line, fundraisers should really be looking at how their relationships have grown.

Recruit Top Leaders to Cultivate Culture of Philanthropy, Stewardship
Article,  BriefCASE Article Imagine achieving a culture of philanthropy and stewardship at your institution in just three years. Impossible? Not according to fundraising expert and CASE Online Speaker Series presenter Karen Osborne, who says a strong commitment from top leaders and a well-defined plan for change can make it a reality.

Steering Through Stewardship
CURRENTS Article Stewardship should not be an afterthought in a healthy advancement operation. This article describes how stewardship can be an organizing principle, directing the essential activities of trust building, relationship management, and message delivery.

True Friends
CURRENTS Article Today's donors want deep connections with institutions that matter to them and share their values. If an institution engages constituents just to ask for money, it may miss out on true friendship with donors who want to be more involved.

Advancement Achievers
CURRENTS Article Profiles of selected 2002 Circle of Excellence winners

Stewardship: The Webb Schools - Bronze Award
Best Practice A goal of The Webb Schools' 2007 annual giving program was to do a better job of stewarding constituents in a creative and cost-effective way. Staff implemented two new online strategies: an e-newsletter for class agents that provided current news to share with classmates, and a flash movie for reunion classes. Staff also redesigned an existing holiday greeting to omit the solicitation and serve simply as a greeting and thank you. These three strategies spread goodwill among constituents, motivated class agents and increased annual giving totals. As of December 31, dollars raised and number of donors reached an all-time high.

Donor Relations/Customer Service: University of California, Irvine - Gold Medal
Best Practice With the idea that "Our best prospects are our well-stewarded previous donors," the UC Irvine Office of Stewardship created an automated Stewardship Planning and Checklist System. It ensures that major donors are being well-stewarded, and no donor is left behind.

Stewardship: University of California, Irvine - Silver Medal
Best Practice With the idea that "Our best prospects are our well-stewarded previous donors," the UC Irvine Office of Stewardship created an automated Stewardship Planning and Checklist System. It ensures that major donors are being well-stewarded, and no donor is left behind.

Be Your Donor Day
Katya Andresen for Network for Good
Article Make a contribution to your organization to see how the process works from the donor's perspective and whether customer service and stewardship are handled well. You might identify problems or issues you don't realize your donors face.

Away They Go?
CURRENTS Article Donor fatigue is real, even if your institution hasn't experienced it yet. Development officers talk about how they define the issue and keep it from becoming a problem.

In Plain Sight
CURRENTS Article Accountability involves many policies and procedures. The development professionals in this article talk about what accountability means in their institutions and what they do to ensure it through acknowledgment, stewardship, and other approaches.

The Pluto Principles
CURRENTS Article The quest for the planet Pluto teaches the need for persistence, research, strategic planning, and thinking out of the box--and why it's smart to sweat the small stuff. Astronomers discovered Pluto's existence by noticing wobbles in nearby planets. So if something in your development programs appears a bit off, it bears looking into. The discovery will be donors who want to make larger and more meaningful gifts.

Cream of the Crop
CURRENTS Article This article profiles a few of CASE's 2005 Circle of Excellence award winners in the fields of fund-rasing, special events, campaigns, marketing, alumni programs, stewardship, and advancement services operations.

All Hands on Deck
CURRENTS Article Turnover can create havoc in an advancement office, leading to holes in the institutional memory and breaking fragile links between donors and the institution. The advancement staff at the University of Massachusetts Lowell has reinvented its operations to create a team approach that strengthens long-term relationships and focuses staff members on securing cash gifts, especially major gifts. Using a structure of four interdisciplinary teams, advancement officers focus on offering relevant alumni programs and services, meeting face-to-face with donors, involving all staff members in gift cultivation, and maintaining an attitude of mutual respect across advancement.

Outgrowing the Annual Fund
CURRENTS Article Top-level annual donors deserve special attention to maintain their commitment. It’s often best to manage these donors within the annual fund office, but with special cultivation and stewardship methods such as in-person solicitation visits, personal letters, special events, gift clubs, and volunteer opportunities on campus boards or committees. Strategies such as challenge gifts can encourage them to increase their annual donations, and some of them will eventually make major gifts.

Charting a Course for Donor Stewardship
CURRENTS Article To develop consistency in gift stewardship among its many divisions, Virginia Tech created a stewardship manual outlining practices, policies, and expectations for the entire institution. Development officers conducted an internal audit and performed external benchmarking, then set goals and developed strategies to meet them. The resulting manual includes a mission statement, gift acknowledgement standards, donor recognition standards, and reporting standards.

The Rationale for Donor Relations
CURRENTS Article It’s the job of the donor relations professional to assure donors that their gifts will be used as they intend, and to do so in a way that motivates donors to give more. Institutions that realize that donor relations equals donor cultivation invest time and resources in this task. Barden describes the strategic use of the three main tools of donor relations: acknowledgement, recognition, and reporting.

Eternal Gratitude
CURRENTS Article Effective planned-gift recognition and stewardship can prevent donors from changing revocable gifts and help cultivate future planned and outright gifts. An initial problem is identifying planned-gift donors, who sometimes do not wish to make their plans known. Once you do identify them, you can thank them with personal visits, letters, or phone calls; by maintaining personal contact; by developing a planned-gift recognition society; by offering token thank-you gifts; by conducting special events for planned-gift donors; and by naming them in publications. For donors of life-income gifts, mail checks with a personal cover letter and conduct periodic "customer satisfaction" surveys. Endowment givers should receive annual letters from the beneficiaries of their gifts and be invited to annual endowment appreciation events.

SampleCollection_Naming

The Library maintains a collection of sample naming policies and naming opportunities.

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CASE Communities

Connect with peers on CASE Communities.

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Naming

The Library has compiled a collection of resources about naming.

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Gift Fees

The Library has compiled a collection of resources about gift fees.

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