The Planned Giving Blogger

The art and science of planned giving.

Stewardship done right #5

with 2 comments

Jay, the son of my first cousin, has Aspergers, one of the disorders along the Autism spectrum.  Jay attended a private school that has helped him immeasurably.  Some months ago, for the first time ever, I got a letter from my cousin, asking for a contribution to a special annual fund campaign the school was undertaking.  The letter was personal and heartfelt so of course I made a contribution.  I received a thank you from my cousin and from the school and just last week I received a stewardship piece that is notable for a number of reasons.

The letter is nicely written, giving donors like me credit for helping the school achieve its goal.  “We are proud to report that you surpassed that extra mile and raised $154,365 . ” (The goal was $130,000).  The letter went on to say, “Your response was, indeed, phenomenal!  Not only did we receive 86 percent participation from the Board of Directors, we also were honored with the financial support of 64 percent of the school’s teachers and staff!”   WOW!  That’s impressive and reinforces for donors like me the confidence insiders have in the School.  They themselves are supporting the school with time and treasure.

The letter then describes how the money was used:  ” . . . to fund curriculum enhancements, technological upgrades, new textbooks that address the varied learning styles of our students, student activities and tuition assistance.”  In other words, impact, impact, impact.

Enclosed with the letter was a small, inexpensive but nicely designed annual report.  In particular, I liked that the recognition in the back of the report was not organized by giving level but instead was divided by relationship to the school:  Board, Staff, Parents, Grandparents,  Parents of Alumni, and Friends.  I like that way of recognizing donors.  It communicates, as does the letter, that broad-based giving is more important than the size of the gift.  The School is more interested in participation from all quarters.  Especially in times like these when donors want to continue to support you but may not be able to do so at prior levels, the message that it’s any gift rather than the size of the gift is important.

Finally, the P.S. of the letter notes the inclusion of a pledge envelope to get started on next year’s annual fund.  A smart strategy handled with just the right tone.  And it worked.  I enclosed a gift!



Written by Phyllis Freedman

October 12, 2009 at 11:25 pm

2 Responses

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  1. where’s the other 14% of the the board?

    Lorri Greif

    October 13, 2009 at 6:48 pm

  2. I agree with Lorri. I’d be inclined to stop giving if I knew that Board giving was less than 100%. Goodness gracious, if they haven’t “bought in” to the mission, why should I?

    Joel Preston

    October 13, 2009 at 8:18 pm

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