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Best Practice

Guidelines and Expectations for the Acknowledgment Process

Stewarding Donors
| 5 minutes to read
Last Updated: 10-12-2023


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WFAA and campus staff members who produce gift-pledge acknowledgments are expected to send the Donor Acknowledgment Report back to WFAA so that the gift-pledge acknowledgment can be recorded in ABE. This outlines some common expectations for acknowledgments, and details how to help WFAA record them properly so that all parties have a full picture of the interactions with donors.

WFAA and campus staff members who produce gift-pledge acknowledgments will now send the Donor Acknowledgment Report back to WFAA so that the gift-pledge acknowledgment can be recorded onto the appropriate gift and constituent record in ABE.


  • All gift pledges of $1,000 or more will receive an acknowledgment from the unit receiving the gift pledge.
    • We encourage sending acknowledgments for all gift pledges, including those under $1,000.
  • The acknowledgment can be in the form of a letter, handwritten note, phone call, etc. — in all scenarios, the gift-pledge acknowledgment should be recorded in ABE by following the acknowledgment process.
  • Because development staff receive information about new gifts in a variety of ways (pulling the Donor Acknowledgment Report, receiving a phone call from a donor, or getting a notification from ABE about a new gift, etc.), advancement teams should work together to determine the best workflow to ensure that all acknowledgment activity is recorded back into ABE.
    • For example: A director of development gets a notification from ABE that one of their donors has given a gift. They call that donor to thank them, and then they also notify their development support staff that the gift has been acknowledged. This can be either entered manually onto the gift record in ABE, or included the next time that the Donor Acknowledgment Report is submitted.
  • In some cases, the gift-pledge acknowledgment is accompanied by a more personalized exchange of information or communication with the donor — in this case, development staff (at WFAA or on campus) should also enter a completed step on their prospect plan with the donor (i.e., a contact report).
    • A good way to remember this is:
      • Information in Communications in ABE records one-way communications (e.g., the donor was invited to an event, or was sent a mailing, or received an acknowledgment for a gift).
      • Information in Interactions (including completed steps from prospect plans) records exchanges of information with the donor (e.g., a phone call to discuss overall stewardship plans or a personal visit to deliver an impact report — a Communication piece — that also results in a conversation with the donor).
    • So, all acknowledgments are Communications, but only some acknowledgments are also Interactions.


  • Gift-pledge acknowledgments will be recorded on each individual gift record, under the Letters tab — even if the acknowledgment was delivered via phone or in person. The gift-pledge acknowledgments will also be visible on the Summary and Communications tabs of the constituent record.
  • The following acknowledgment types can be recorded:
    • Chancellor Acknowledgment
    • Dean’s Acknowledgment
    • WFAA Executive Acknowledgment
    • School/College Leadership Acknowledgment
    • Department Chair/Director Leadership Acknowledgment
    • Coach/Celebrity/Spokesperson Acknowledgment
    • Student Acknowledgment
    • Volunteer Acknowledgment
    • Director of Development Acknowledgment
    • General Acknowledgment
  • If one person is responsible for preparing multiple acknowledgment types for one gift, there are two options for submitting this report:
    • Insert an additional row (or rows) below the original revenue record on the Donor Acknowledgment Report, copying all data from the original row. Enter appropriate acknowledgment type for each row.
    • Pull a separate Donor Acknowledgment Report for each acknowledgment type (e.g., one report for director of development acknowledgments, one report for dean’s acknowledgments, etc.) and submit all reports back to be recorded.
  • Historical acknowledgment activity will not be converted into this new format. That was entered as either a general correspondence or as an interaction and will remain there.
  • Once the Donor Acknowledgment Report is submitted with acknowledgment data, those reports, if pulled again, will not reflect the acknowledgment information that you have submitted. To check if a gift has been acknowledged, you can check the individual gift or constituent record or submit a list/report request.