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Funraise Team

The holiday season brings a healthy dose of cheer into our daily lives. Whether you’re into peppermint-pumpkin mochas, twinkling lights, gifting, or seasonal movies, we know there’s something about this time of year that everyone finds totally delightful. (There’s even people that like to Grinch it up—you go, Scrooge!)

What if you could bring that same cheer and delight into your donor stewardship, too?

While every other nonprofit is sending donors a deluge of asks, you can mix it up and remind donors how much your nonprofit appreciates them. Bonus—by delighting your donors this time of year, you’re more likely to retain them and even get a second gift before the year is over. There are many benefits of donor stewardship, and while year-end is often just about asking, we’re here to remind you that showering donors with thanks is a good idea, too. Grab your fave holiday beverage (hot toddy, anyone?) and let’s talk about holiday-themed stewardship ideas that delight donors. 

New Year’s cards

If holiday-specific cards make you think of a tinsel-covered minefield, consider sending New Year’s cards to donors. Yes, New Year’s cards are totally a thing and since not many people send them, you’ll stand out. If you want to save time and put a pre-printed message in your New Year’s cards, make it a visionary, forward-thinking note about what your nonprofit and donors can do together in the coming year. 

Holiday-themed stewardship event

Invite your donors to take a break from shopping and office parties with a holiday-themed, family-friendly stewardship event hosted by your organization. Maybe your organization provides housing and could host donors and their families for an afternoon of gingerbread house decorating. Does your organization work with animals? Have donors come by your office to make holiday-themed treats for their favorite furry companion (puppermint bark, anyone?). Put on your creative hat and you’ll be delighting donors in no time! 

Poinsettia or plant delivery

Looking for a way to get that last-minute visit with VIP donors before the end of the year? Our favorite way to book more visits is to tell donors you want to drop by with a holiday card and a small token of thanks. Poinsettias are a great holiday plant that donors can enjoy around in their office or home. Plus, if you get organized in advance, you could get poinsettia donations from a local florist or nursery. 

Holiday-specific stewardship

If you know certain donors celebrate Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Christmas, or any or none of the November-December-January holidays, consider developing a holiday-specific and culturally relevant stewardship piece. Fundraisers who work with major donors and have personal relationships with them might find it easier to determine whether or not to go this route. 

Thank you video

Thank you videos are an effective stewardship touchpoint that can scale to all of your annual giving donors. As you script your video, bring elements of the holiday season into how you’ll thank donors. If you’ve got some holiday decorations around the office, you might have a very on-theme place to film! 

We like this one from the National Restaurant Association Education Fund and this one from Ohio State

Re-write a holiday song or story

Want a kitschy-but-fun idea for your stewardship? Consider rewriting a holiday song or story as a stewardship touchpoint. This video from American University did a play on The Night Before Christmas called The Week Before Finals. While it’s not a donor stewardship piece, we think it’ll get your creative juices flowing! 

Holiday cards (so obvious, we know!)

Who doesn’t love receiving snail mail these days? We definitely do! Adding in a holiday card for your donors is a great way to get in an extra stewardship touchpoint when donors are in a celebratory mood. If your nonprofit is on a budget, you can use free sites like Canva or PicMonkey to design a branded holiday card, or purchase brand-neutral cards at the store.

Whatever you decide, we always recommend adding in a short handwritten note to this type of communication. Ask your staff and board members to take on a stack of cards to distribute the workload. You can even make it a social team-building opportunity and have a card writing party one afternoon at the office (complete with cookies, of course).

Bottom line? Be genuine with your thanks!

There are lotsa ways you can thank your donors this holiday season. No matter your budget and no matter which stewardship pieces you choose, your authenticity makes a difference, so create something that’s heartfelt and genuine. Your donors will get holiday cards from family and friends that don’t include a personal message—make your stewardship personal; give donors that extra dose of warm fuzzies this holiday season.