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Best Practice

Donor Acknowledgment Best Practices


Stewarding Donors
| 1 minute to read
Last Updated: 08-24-2021

Summary

Thanking supporters for their generosity to the university is one of the most important ways we can steward our donors. This outlines the best practices for doing so.


  • DO send acknowledgments as close to when the gift is given as possible. Acknowledgments are most meaningful when they are sent in a timely manner. As a best practice, we recommend sending acknowledgments 14 days after the gifts has been received.
  • DO acknowledge donor involvement, milestones, and upgrades in your acknowledgment letters when possible (first gift, participate on your board of visitors, etc.).
  • DO check with your WFAA liaison before sending an acknowledgment letter for reallocated gifts. In most cases, you won’t send an acknowledgment.
  • DO send an acknowledgment letter for pledge initiations and the last payment on a pledge (rather than for every single payment).
  • DO record your acknowledgments in ABE by sending your filled out DAR file to Gift and Fund Management.
  • DO refresh your acknowledgment letters and templates on at least on annual basis.
  • DON’T send an acknowledgment for every weekly/monthly recurring gift payment. Similar to pledge acknowledgments, send an acknowledgment letter for weekly/monthly recurring gift initiations as well as the final recurring payment. If the weekly/monthly recurring gift doesn’t have an end date or if you’re unsure about the initiation date, we recommend sending an acknowledgment letter either at the beginning or end of the year. For annual recurring gifts, feel free to acknowledge the payment when it comes in.
  • DON’T thank the donor for the gift and ask for another gift at the same time. Keep the acknowledgment letter as a stewardship communication.
  • DON’T send multiple letters for donors who give more than one gift during the time period of the report or give to more than one fund in your unit in the time period of the report. You can identify if a donor has given multiple times in a report by searching for duplicate values in the constituent ID column. When you come across multiple gifts from one donor, revise your acknowledgment letter to reflect all the donor’s gifts rather than sending multiple letters.

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