Publications & Products
Reporting Impact
Reporting Impact

By Toni Coleman , Precious Dorch-Robinson

Meg B. Thomson; The Nature Conservancy

Story Time

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 Nature Conservancy

The Occasion: When gifts are planned but haven't yet happened

What They Do: TNC engages the planned giving members of its Legacy Club by showing them how gifts are being used. To do so, they travel to such places as the rainforest in Canada's British Columbia and the wildlife migration corridor in Montana's Centennial Valley. Planned gifts account for about 25 percent of TNC fundraising revenue, and these awe-inspiring experiences enable donors to form relationships with TNC staff and each other. Donors fund their trip.

Troy University

The Occasion: When beneficiaries aren't around to give gratitude

What They Do: Send a surrogate. Grateful parents attend the Scholarship Brunch to thank donors if their child is working or can't attend.

University of Alabama at Birmingham

The Occasion: When gifts were made a long time ago

What They Do: Describe the effect of yesterday's gift on today. In the fall 2015 newsletter, themed "The Gift That Changed Everything," UAB covered arthritis treatment discoveries that resulted from an endowment established in 1986.

World Vision

The Occasion: When impact is broad

What They Do: The global humanitarian organization maps out its impact online. Click on the dot in an area it serves, and a list of accomplishments pops up, ranging from child protection to disaster response (

Scholarship Central

How Florida International University helped its donors and beneficiaries learn more about each other

The problem: $500,000 in school-based scholarships sat unawarded each year.
The solution: Create a central repository for information on scholarships and students in need of financial assistance.
How it works: Students search the database, which includes the history behind each scholarship, such as the fund a grieving mother established to honor her daughter, who died before graduation. When students create a login, they provide their bio, reveal any hardships they've endured, and share their experiences at FIU and whether they're first-generation students.

The results: With 14,000 students searching for aid, all scholarship money gets awarded each year. But two stewardship-related benefits have emerged:

  • Improved donor recognition. "Before, students blindly applied for scholarships without knowing the stories behind them. This makes a difference—these stories move them," says Juan Cueto, senior associate vice president of advancement services and operations. "The software allows students to read them."
  • Detailed impact reports. Donors get more than a student's name and GPA—they learn about his or her background and aspirations.

(Return to opening page of "The World's Best Stewardship Ideas")

About the Authors Toni Coleman

Toni Coleman is the interim editor in chief of Currents.

Precious Dorch-Robinson

Precious Dorch-Robinson is a spring 2016 Currents editorial intern.




Add a Comment

You must be logged in to comment . Your name and institution will show with your comment.

Jul/Aug 2016 Digital Edition

In This Issue

The World's Best Stewardship Ideas

Thanking Donors Reporting Impact Cultivating New Gifts Recognizing Donors