stewardship, Thankful Thursdays, volunteers

Thankful Thursdays: Summertime Stewardship

Ah summer…it’s so tempting to just kick back and take it easy on the fundraising front. But especially in educational fundraising, summer can be a great time to get organized and build strategies for success in the coming year.

Today was one of those days! I met with the chair of our Stewardship Committee to plan meetings for the new year. We’ve had this committee for only a few years, but they do a great job of helping our staff thank donors … a task which can easily but dangerously fall off the radar as the year buzzes along.

Some feedback our volunteers gave us on the committee last year, which we plan to expand on this year:

  • They like using part of our meeting time to write handwritten notes. We started out by sending them home with them to complete between meetings, but they shared it was too easy to put the packet aside and forget to complete the task until the next meeting reminder was sent. They like leaving the meeting with a sense they completed a task which helps us move the fundraising needle.
  • They find it increasingly difficult to reach donors on the phone … often leaving messages without return calls received. We had been working with volunteers to help do some qualification of leads/prospects, especially in the area of planned giving. But very few were getting to have the conversations we had hoped they would have. They want to make more “thank you” calls, where a message could be left without the pressure of further action from the donor. Since this add another “touch,” we are trying this as our “homework” this year between meetings.

We are very blessed at our school to have this committee, as well as other committees and boards which also help with notes and calls throughout the year. It’s a simple, effective way to expand your stewardship efforts, and helps build depth of relationship for your organization, both for the donor and the volunteer.

How are you engaging volunteers in your stewardship process? Comment below or email me at if you have a success story you’d like featured on Thankful Thursdays. And, I’ll report back later in the year on the changes and how they are going 🙂

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