Congratulations! The gift agreement is signed, and the joyful donor has made a bequest in their will. As a result, they have become a member of your legacy giving society. They are looking forward to your annual dinner and receiving the regular newsletter. But is that all there is for the next, ten, fifteen, or twenty years?

The “courtship” was so much more: visits with the staff, a tour to see the program in action, stories told by those participating, impact reports shared. How will the stewardship for the planned gift live up to that over time?


First, focus on the case for support.

What are the issues you are trying to tackle going to look like ten or twenty years from now?

Each summer, take the time to reflect on the changes your organization encountered over the past twelve months as it continued to strive towards the change it seeks to achieve on the issue(s). The positive “baby steps,” big victories, obstacles overcome, challenges encountered, and pauses now in place – list them all.


Second, consider how your organization continues to be uniquely positioned.

Your mission will likely continue to be relevant into the future. Consider how a robust endowment fund will help to fund mission activities for decades to come. An endowment gift is a gift to the future. Make sure your case is future-focused as well.


Now, update your endowment case for support.

With your updated endowment case for support, you have new and exciting information to share with your planned giving donors. Create an updated narrative that is simple and focused on the issue(s) that caused them to make their gift. Make it about what matters to them.


Finally, let’s get out there and share it!

That is what great stewardship is all about. Be creative. It’s summer and not the time for another newsletter or another dinner – unless that dinner is at a camp dining hall full of singing kids! Make the news visual: embed video in an email from your CEO, have volunteers do a video call and update them personally, invite them to a site to see a change in person, or send photos and children’s artwork or letters. At next year’s legacy society dinner, share photos from the summer activities with your planned giving donors.

Show them you remain committed to the journey on which they joined you. Treat each summer as a “family reunion” using the opportunity to catch up with your planned giving donors. Start with the case for support and connect it with the donor’s interests and intent. Stewardship isn’t just about saying thank you. It’s about tightening the bonds between your organization and your donors, forging a relationship that will (hopefully) grow over time.


DBD Summer Stewardship


This month, DBD Group is exploring the idea of "stewardship." When and how do we say thank you to donors?  How might we express gratitude in a heartfelt way that also helps to move a donor relationship forward? And how might we do it in a way that cuts through the noise and makes the mission stand out. Join us as we share ideas from our clients and team. No matter how you decide to do it, don't wait to say thanks!                                                                  

Posted by Robyn Furness-Fallin
Robyn Furness-Fallin

Written by Robyn Furness-Fallin

Robyn Furness-Fallin, CFRE, offers financial development and volunteer leadership consulting for nonprofits and higher ed. As a Senior Consultant with DBD Group, Robyn is a shrewd strategist who helps bring clarity and focus to the campaigns she supports.

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