Stop making excuses for your lack of stewardship communications and other cultivations for middle donors. Good stewardship could make the difference between happy, loyal and generous donors on the one hand and one-and-done tippers on the other.

Here are some of the excuses we hear every day.

    “We can’t afford pure cultivations.” The truth is you can’t afford not to.

    “We don’t have the staff time.” Be creative. Cathy (Finney) Grams at Wilderness Society holds pizza parties for staff who are willing to stuff envelopes for cultivation mailings.

    “We can’t measure how well it works.” This is a common misapplication of direct marketing math to a committed donor engagement. You’re right, you can’t measure the value of any individual touch. It’s more like dating. You can’t measure how much closer to falling in love your date is after one evening out, either.

    “When we hold special calls or webinars for middle donors, only a few show up.” Completely irrelevant. It’s the invitation, and not the event, that does the heavy lifting from a cultivation perspective.

Making your donors feel valued enough to stick with you is as much art as science. But this much we know: treating them like human ATM machines is guaranteed to drive them away sooner or later.