If your school isn’t in full campaign mode, chances are you’re in the planning stages for the next one. This ongoing cycle of campaigns means attention to stewardship and cultivation must be a top priority. Donors need to feel genuinely appreciated for their generosity. The school community as a whole should be updated on donor-funded projects and buildings. Everyone needs to feel the love.
A good donor relations program includes creative communications strategies. Web presence, e-newsletters, direct mail, social media and presentations must carry your campaign brand to ensure your prospects and donors know your institution’s strategic vision and how they can support it philanthropically.
Prioritize your strategies. Not everyone will see your campaign case statement early on, but all your important constituents should receive your campaign e-newsletter. Make sure to plan campaign branded emails to fall between issues of your regular school news—or give campaign news a section of its own. Repurpose content from your e-newsletter on your website and social media sites. The content should:
- Keep your head of school and campaign leaders in the limelight
- Thank both volunteers and donors for their support
- Promote upcoming campaign events
- Give a progress report on gifts received
- Describe new programs in place and new facilities underway as an outcome of the campaign
- Explain intangibles, such as endowment management, planned giving opportunities and relationship of annual and capital giving
While demonstrating appreciation is important, being strategic about it is even more important. Donors who love, or loathe, attention should be flagged in your database; be sure to honor their requests. Seek out stories from within your school community that give life to your fundraising goals and achievements. Be mindful of your current philanthropic culture, and how your communications today will impact the future.