In order to be successful, your nonprofit needs to create a balance between fundraising and developing relationships with existing supporters.

Think about it this way: your nonprofit may be an expert at encouraging first-time donors to contribute. However, if you can’t retain these contributors, you’ll have to expend even more money and resources to keep attracting new supporters to your cause.

By creating a foolproof stewardship plan you can retain the donors you’ve cultivated. These donors will not only be more invested in your mission because they’ve developed a relationship with your organization, but they will also donate in the future, participate in fundraising events, and even spread the word to their friends and family.

The benefits of retaining donors are endless, but the process is easier said than done. Luckily, it’s not impossible!

Your organization can use its existing nonprofit software and fundraising tools to steward donors by:

  1. Personalizing communications with segmented lists.
  2. Hosting more meaningful (and engaging!) fundraisers.
  3. Optimizing your online giving methods and donation process.
  4. Managing and promoting your membership program.
  5. Maintaining an efficient follow-up strategy.

Let’s dive deeper into how nonprofit technology can help you build long-lasting relationships with donors and raise more money!

1. Personalize Communications With Segmented Lists

Every donor has their own interests and reasons for supporting your cause. Therefore, donors can easily spot mass emails because they lack personalization.

A message that addresses donors by name and speaks to their particular interests will grab your donors’ attention and show them they’re more than just a number. Plus, personalized outreach is much more effective than sending out blanket emails to your entire donor base.

For example, if your organization was planning a silent auction (see Fundly’s guide for more tips), it wouldn’t make sense to send every donor an invitation because not all of your supporters will be able to attend. Some donors might be located too far away or aren’t ready to contribute the amount of money it would take attend your gala.

Organizations are much more likely to get a response from donors if they segment their lists to send out invitations to major donors that are located near where the event will take place.

Additionally, when organizations continue to send out information to donors that isn’t relevant, supporters will stop reading these messages and potentially miss out on opportunities that would interest them.

Segmenting your donors ensures that you can personalize your outreach as well as provide donors with appropriate information.

Donors can be segmented based on various indicators like:

  • Average gift size.
  • Demographics (location, age, etc.).
  • Familial, corporation, and organizational relationships.
  • Interests and hobbies.
  • Donor status (first-time, recurring, and major donor).
  • Volunteer work and other nonprofit engagement.

Organizations can create segmented lists easily using their nonprofit CRM or donor database.

Keep in mind that having up-to-date constituent profiles is a must if you want to effectively use this information to create personalized outreach.

Have your team clean your donor database regularly to remove duplicated profiles, update contact information, and ensure the information entered is the same across every profile.

2. Host More Meaningful (and Engaging!) Fundraisers

A successful stewardship plan needs to do more than just ask for donations; it should strive to get to know donors on a deeper level and encourage them to get involved beyond just donating.

A fundraising event is the perfect opportunity to meet with donors in-person and get them involved in other aspects of your organization.

When team members talk to event attendees, they can expand your donor profiles with information on donors’ interests, reasons for supporting your cause, and much more.

Plus, donors will be able to put a face to your organization. Getting to meet one-on-one with your team will make donors see the people behind your mission and show them that your organization values genuine relationships.

Moreover, all the information you gain from your donors at fundraisers can be used to create more engaging events in the future. With the information in a central location like your nonprofit CRM, you’ll be able to create events tailored to your donors’ preferences.

If you want more expert tips on how to create better fundraising events, BidPal as a list of tips to help you.

Additionally, you can encourage donors to volunteer or participate in a fundraiser like a peer-to-peer campaign.

Donors get the opportunity to show their support in a way that doesn’t involve donating, and by participating “behind the scenes” so to speak, donors will become more invested in your organization.

3. Optimize Your Online Giving Methods and Donation Process

Let’s face it: donors want a simple and enjoyable donation process. In fact, if donors find the donation process difficult, they’ll be reluctant to give again (or to give in the first place).

When you have more giving options and an easy-to-use process, donors will enjoy giving and want to contribute in the future.

If your organization already has fundraising software or is on the market for a new tool, you can use these tips to help you improve your donation process:

  • Branch out to mobile giving. If your organization hasn’t already jumped on the mobile giving bandwagon, then you should! Text donations and mobile-friendly donation forms are convenient and can be promoted in multiple situations. Plus, donors have the option to give whenever and wherever they want.
  • Use donation amount buttons. With preset amounts in your donation forms, donors can click on the amount they want to give and save time. You can also place these buttons in emails so donors are directed to your donation form to make giving even easier for supporters.
  • Consider passwordless login. Having donors create an account has its pros and cons. Once a donor has an account, they won’t have to enter payment information every time they give. However, creating and remembering a secure password can be inconvenient. Passwordless options can save the donor time and keep their information secure.

Last, but certainly not least, get your supporters’ feedback. Ask them how you can improve the donation experience. Not only will this provide insight into ways you can make your donation forms better, but it will also show donors that you value their opinions.

4. Manage and Promote Your Membership Program

Many nonprofits create membership programs to incentivize donors to contribute and engage with your organization. Essentially, these programs provide members with various perks in return for a monthly or annual fee.

Membership programs are a means of building relationships with donors and staying connected to them on a regular basis.

In addition to planning your membership structure, determining membership fees, and figuring out the benefits, your organization will also need to establish how you’ll manage your program.

This entails determining how you’re going to:

  • Reach out to supporters.
  • Promote your program.
  • Collect membership fees.
  • Remind donors about renewing their membership.

With nonprofit software, you’ll be able to manage all these aspects of your membership program.

For instance, your nonprofit can build an online donation form specifically for accepting membership fees. The information that you collect from donors can be transferred to your donor database where you can keep a detailed record of all your members and create a segmented list for outreach.

Additionally, you can use nonprofit marketing software to send out automated emails with updates on fundraising projects, discounts and perks that are available to members, and reminders to renew their membership.

As a result, having nonprofit software that integrates with each other is crucial because it will allow you to use your membership data across all your tools to make your program run smoothly.

5. Maintain an Efficient Follow-Up Strategy

The last way nonprofit technology can improve your donor stewardship is by simplifying your acknowledgement process.

A huge step in retaining donors is showing your appreciation. Whether a donor has contributed for the first time or the tenth time, your organization needs to show donors that you value their support (not just their donations).

The key to a successful follow-up strategy involves three important points:

  • Timeliness. Donors should always receive a thank-you letter right after they give—whether you’re sending via email or direct mail. Sending a prompt thank you will ensure that supporters remember their donations and your organization.
  • Ways to stay involved. While the cardinal rule is to never ask for another donation in your thank-you letters, that doesn’t mean you can’t suggest other ways for donors to get involved! Ask donors to follow you on social media and mention any upcoming events or volunteer opportunities you might have.
  • Donor-centric focus. It can be tempting to focus the thank-you letter on all the wonderful achievements your nonprofit will make, but keep your acknowledgement focused on the donor. Show them that their contribution will make a difference and reference past support to show that you’re aware of all they’ve done for your nonprofit.

Creating a personalized thank-you letter that hits all the points we mentioned above can be a lot to manage, especially if your organization receives hundreds of donations a month.

Luckily, your nonprofit CRM is equipped with the tools to help your team perform these tasks efficiently.

Make use of your CRM’s calendar feature to track exactly when donors should receive an acknowledgment. Additionally, you can use automated email tools to send out a thank-you letter immediately after a donor gives.

Further, your team can use information—donor name, giving history, interests, etc.—from your constituent profiles to create a personalized acknowledgement that will really make your letter stand out.

Following up with supporters in a timely and personal way can have a lasting impression, which can lead to better relationships with your donors.


As you can see, nonprofit technology can help you gain deeper insights into your donors’ giving behaviors and streamline your stewardship processes. Best of all, your nonprofit doesn’t have to invest in expensive software; you can make use of the nonprofit tools you already have to build better donor relationships.

Help your board fundraise for your nonprofit with
this FREE ebook

You'll discover the 21 ways each board member can help their nonprofit's fundraising - even if they don't like to ask for money!

You have Successfully Subscribed!