Labor Day 2012: An opportunity to steward your donors

Happy Labor Day 2012, everyone! Well, Marissa is camping and I am visiting an old, dear friend in Michigan. So, I dug back deep into the DonorDream archives and thought you might enjoy reading about how Labor Day can be a stewardship opportunity. Enjoy!

Labor Day can be a stewardship opportunity. In fact, non-profit organizations can turn most holidays into stewardship opportunities for their donors.

When I was a young executive director, I used to write a letter to the editor of our local newspaper on Labor Day thanking the community’s labor unions for all of their support. In that open letter to the public, I tried to remind people that those unions were part of our community’s fabric and did “good works” that oftentimes didn’t get any press. For example:

  • The local Service Employees International Union (SEIU) chapter provided all of the volunteers and muscle necessary to run our duck race fundraiser.
  • The International Union of Painters and Allied Trades Home (IUPAT) once marshalled their apprentice program to paint our facility for free.
  • The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), the Laborers’ International Union, as well as other unions in town were all at one time or another outright donors to our annual campaign.

I chose Labor Day to write that letter to the editor, send letters of appreciation and make thank you phone calls because the stated purpose behind Labor Day is to celebrate “the economic and social contributions of workers”.

Many non-profit organizations struggle with stewarding their donors and instead become solicitation machines (which ironically burns out donors and creates a cycle of turnover). When I’ve talked to my non-profit friends and asked WHY, the most common answer I’ve heard is that time is a limited resource.

So, I encourage you to look at the myriad of holidays on your calendar and ask yourself this simple question: “How can this holiday be used to steward our agency’s donors?” I assure you that with a little effort, you will find the opportunities are limitless.

Does your non-profit organization have any fun and effective stewardship activities and best practices wrapped around holidays? If so, please use the comment box to share because we can all learn from each other.

Here is to your health! And oh yeah . . . Happy Labor Day!!!

Erik Anderson
Founder & President, The Healthy Non-Profit LLC!/eanderson847