Advancement Stewardship promotes effective campus-wide stewardship practices that support the unique relationship that the University of Idaho has with each donor. Our goal is to thank donors for their gifts, recognize donor generosity, report the impact of donor gifts and help ensure that donor funds are used as intended.
While Advancement Stewardship plays a key role in the larger scale stewardship efforts, stewardship is a shared responsibility between everyone involved in the donor cycle — from those raising funds to those benefiting from the funds raised. The resources below are designed to help your team deliver efficient and effective stewardship that is consistent with a culture of transparency and gratitude. All U of I stewardship practices should be consistent with the Donor Bill of Rights.
- Provide leadership-level acknowledgements — the current level for presidential acknowledgements is $10,000+.
- Ensure university-level recognition at established cumulative and lifetime giving levels.
- Create and mail the annual Endowment Impact Report: in collaboration with the U of I Foundation. Reports are mailed in October/November and include current FY scholarship recipients and endowment financial overview.
Create and mail Annual Contribution Impact Report: in collaboration with the U of I Foundation. Reports are mailed in November/December and include current FY scholarship recipients.
- Develop and maintain tools that help colleges and units meet the needs of our donors.
- Promote a culture of gratitude for private support to U of I students, faculty and staff through philanthropic education and participation events like Thank-a-Thon (Thank-A-Donor).
- Send timely acknowledgements for gifts to your area.
- Have a point person within your area who takes the lead on stewardship — communicate the name and contact information for your stewardship lead with your Development Officer and Advancement Stewardship office.
- Notify faculty appointments and scholarship or fellowship recipients that they will be expected to help steward donors by writing letters or notes or recording short thank you videos.
- Include donors in special events, tours, newsletters, student success stories — they believe in what you are doing so keep them connected to the people and students who inspire them!
- Spend donor funds and award donor funded scholarships appropriately, i.e. in accordance with the terms of the agreement in place.
- Communicate with donors if you are unable to fill a faculty appointment or award a scholarship in a given academic year.
All gifts should be acknowledged within five days of receiving the weekly gift report from Central Stewardship per your area’s stewardship guidelines. Each Monday, an email will be sent to all Thank You report contacts with a link to the report. (You will need to request access to the Reporting folder on the Advancement shared drive through Advancement Stewardship if you do not have access.)
If you or someone on your team needs Thank You report training, please contact the Advancement Stewardship office and we will schedule a time to meet with you.
You know your donors best. Consider the most impactful way to acknowledge the gift that has come to your area and incorporate your approach into your written stewardship process. Colleges and units are responsible for stewarding gifts/pledges between $1-$10,000.
- Phone Call
Always acknowledge these types of gifts:
- Hard Credit, i.e. gift of money, property, insurance, etc.
- Soft Credit, i.e. one spouse gives, both should be acknowledged
- Honorary and Memorial Gifts
- In-Kind Gifts, i.e. books, equipment, etc.
Create a policy for acknowledging or not acknowledging these types of gifts:
- Recurring gifts, e.g. payroll deduction = every 6 months? Once per year?
- Pledge payments, i.e. do you acknowledge the first payment on a pledge? The last? Both?
- Multiple Recipient Gift: consider collaborating with the other unit(s) that shares in a multiple designation gift.
- Grants and/or Contracts, i.e. it’s not really a “gift.”
- Donor Advised Funds, e.g. Common ones to U of I are Benevity Fund, Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund, etc.
Loyal Donor Program: Honoring the dedication of Vandal donors through their cumulative years of giving.
President’s Circle: Honoring donors and partners who annual giving totals $2,500 or more in a fiscal year. An Annual Giving Program.
Silver and Gold Society: Recognizing and honoring donors and partners whose lifetime giving total ranges between $100,000 and $999,999. A Central Stewardship Program.
1889 Society: Recognizing and honoring donors and partners whose lifetime giving total is $1 million or more. A Central Stewardship Program.
Heritage Society: Honoring those who have made a commitment to the U of I in their estate plans. An Office of Estate, Trust and Gift Planning (OETGP) Program.
Create a Recognition Society that honors those who give at a level that is below the thresholds listed above. All gifts make a difference, are greatly appreciated and we want our donors to feel the Vandal love — if you identify a need within your area, develop a recognition plan that addresses your chosen level. Contact the Central Stewardship office if you need help establishing a society.
College Level Example: 1901 CALS Club, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
It is essential to understand the guidelines of an endowment agreement and spend funds in a timely manner that is in accordance with the donor’s intent.
Gift fund balances, especially endowment and/or scholarship funds, should be reviewed once per year for unspent accumulations or deficits.
If funds are not being spent, identify the reasons, identify possible solutions and, if possible, resolve the accumulation issue. If you are unable to resolve the situation within your area, contact Advancement Stewardship to discuss the best way to move forward.
Unspent or incorrectly spent funds are the number one frustration for donors trying to support educational initiatives and make future fundraising unnecessarily difficult. Thank you for your role in stewarding funds appropriately!
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