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Three Easy Steps to Creating the Perfect Donor Stewardship Matrix

What is a donor stewardship matrix?


A donor stewardship matrix is a tool that breaks up your organization’s donor base into different levels based on the amounts they donate, and sets different stewardship techniques for each level.

It is an important tool for nonprofits because it minimizes the amount of work that goes into stewardship. Instead of spending excessive amounts of time trying to build relationships with donors who contribute minimally to your organization, you can devise a system whereby you’re dividing your time between donors in a way that is specific to their level of commitment and involvement in your organization.

How do you build a donor stewardship matrix?

A donor stewardship matrix can be simplified in three steps:

1. Break up your donors into types

Before you even look at the monetary value of donors, break them up by looking at the frequency and types of their donations. Are they annual donors? One time donors? Do they donate cash or in-kind? These are important categorizations that will simplify things for you later or when you’re looking for a specific type of donor for any reason.

2. Segment their donation amounts

Naturally, the amounts donors give will vary. Make divisions easily by creating ranges for the donated amounts. You can classify the categories into ‘major donations/gifts’ through ‘small donations/gifts’. Assign a monetary range to each category for example, $25-$50 for a starting level donation and work your way up.

3. Classify engagement options

Once you have your categorizations and corresponding monetary values, you should consider how you will interact with every category. This means deciding which group will get such things as a handwritten thank you note or a personal phone call or invites to an exclusive stewardship event. This is perhaps the most useful part of a stewardship matrix and it’s where you want to think things out the most. It’s the bit that will help speed things up when you’re in a rush and need to decide which of your donors qualify for certain engagement options.  

Remember to keep updating your matrix. The frequency of updates will depend on the influx of donations and interactions with donors. The more diverse your donation amounts and frequency, the broader or narrower your categories will be. If made correctly, a stewardship matrix can make interacting with donors much easier than manually sifting through your donor base to identify different donors.

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