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How to Keep Your Donors? Stewardship!

When you were a child did your parents have to force you to write a thank you card to someone after receiving a new toy? If so, I’m sure you remember how much you disliked being forced to write out those two sentences when all you wanted to do was go play with your new toy. 

But take a moment to think about your relationship with gratitude now. Have you received a thank you message from someone recently? From a relative thanking you for a gift, a friend sending a text message about a great time getting coffee together, or a colleague expressing how much better their day is when you help them out? It feels good to be appreciated, right?

Your donors want to feel good too!

One of the most important parts of communicating with your donors is making them feel good. 

This can mean a variety of things for your organization: sending a thank you card, asking donors questions in a survey, sending reports or newsletters, or hosting events to celebrate their generosity. No matter how you do it, you want to be stewarding your supporters every step of the way – let’s take a look at some of the ways to do just that.

Best Ways to Steward Donors

Thank You Cards

One of the most straightforward options, a thank you card is crucial to send after receiving a gift of any size. Be sure to position your donors as the hero of the story, and celebrate what they’re helping your organization accomplish. If possible, feature a specific fund, person, or community they’ve helped – personalization is key!


Asking your donors questions is the surest way to ensure success. You can tailor their experience, and let them know you care. It’s also an opportunity to see where your organization can improve. What’s your donor’s preferred communication method? What part of your mission do they resonate with the most? What other causes do they support? Understand what your supporters see and care about – all just by asking them questions!


Show your supporters the difference they’ve made – but focus on what they care about. Tell stories that inspire future giving by showcasing how just one gift made a difference, but be sure to focus on the solution – not the process of how you got there. And if there’s any place to use visuals, your report is just that! Photos of your work in action and infographics to easily share facts and figures allow readers to quickly absorb information. Overall, a report should be a place to express gratitude to your donors.


Engage your donors in a special way by inviting them to an event focused on their generosity. This could be as casual as a tour of your facility hosted on Facebook or YouTube Live, which often demonstrates the need for support without asking. Or it could be a relationship-building event like a virtual happy hour with sponsors and supporters, with time set aside for Q&A. Regardless of the type of event you host, be sure to repeatedly thank your donors throughout and have team members follow up with attendees for feedback after. 

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