Making phone calls to thank your donors and keep them informed is only part of your overall donor communications or stewardship plan. In a perfect world you would make 7-12 touch points each year with specific content for each one.

Okay, I can see you rolling your eyes. Whether you are a major gifts officer, the director of development or run annual campaigns, you must consider using a customer relationship management database to track donor touch points. It can take some time to set up but it’s worth it in the long run.  Believe me.

Let’s say a major gifts officer has anywhere from 50 to 100 donors. Using your CRM database, you can schedule your touch points for the year for each donor. You can also designate who makes the call or sends the card. It can be you, your CEO/ED, or board members. Remember, it’s not about who reaches out to the donor as long as someone does.

Some touch points to consider are:

  • Phone calls
  • Birthday cards
  • Holiday cards
  • Personal, handwritten thank you notes
  • Personal visits
  • Emails
  • Annual reports or other report documents
  • Surveys
  • Focus groups
  • Tours of facilities
  • Volunteer opportunities
  • Events (either hosting or by invitation)

The next important step is documenting when the touch point was made, by whom, the outcome and the next proposed step. It helps to have administrative support, but even without it you can document the basics of your stewardship activities.

There are a couple of reasons why it’s important to record these actions. First, it reminds you what has been done with each donor. Second, it helps the next person who works with them. People expect consistency and are disappointed when it is lacking.

Just one touch point each month for each donor will keep them engaged, informed and more interested in supporting your organization.