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Stewarding Donors

With WFAA’s recent launch of a new financial system FAST and new CRM 4WARD, some of our articles may be out of date. We are working to make updates as soon as possible. Please contact if you have any questions.

UW-Madison strives to be an industry leader in providing exceptional stewardship experiences to all donors through prompt and meaningful messages of gratitude. WFAA is proud to partner with campus advancement professionals on a variety of processes and practices regarding donor stewardship.


Stewardship occurs after a gift is received. Stewardship activities range from thank you letters to updating donors through impact reporting.

Specific activities include:

  • Receipting: Every donor receives a receipt for their gift. WFAA manages the receipting process of all gifts.
  • Acknowledgment: Prompt and meaningful acknowledgments are essential to effective donor relations and long-term donor retention. Acknowledgement practices should be coordinated between WFAA development staff and campus partners.

Expectations for Collaboration:

The important work of donor relations and stewardship is best carried out when WFAA and campus development staff communicate openly and work hand in hand to fulfill donors’ needs. Here are some expectations to make collaborative stewardship efforts a success:

  • Contact WFAA for assistance with your stewardship efforts
  • Be knowledgeable about WFAA’s guidelines and reviews for stewardship practices and regulations
  • Be open to multi-channel solutions to increase successful opportunities
  • Allow to lend key voices, like the dean or department chair, to support and appeal to donors

Best Practices:

  • Work towards acknowledging all donors to your area’s funds on a monthly basis.
  • Add your gift acknowledgements back into ABE.
  • Utilize word templates to streamline your process.
  • Use donor-centric language in your acknowledgement letters.
    • Example Language: Our department is preparing students for the future.
    • Suggested Language: Your gift provides students with the tools and skills to thrive after graduation. 
  • Keep donors informed about the ways their gifts have an impact, by sending newsletters, updates, or other communications that highlight giving.

Where We Can Help

This team works to craft lifelong, significant relationships with campus’s donors and alumni through clear communication, valuable receipting, and crucial acknowledgment. Stewardship provides the tools like WiSH or the Donor Acknowledgment Report, activities, and consulting necessary to outline the impact of the gifts you receive and make your donors feel appreciated.

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