4 leaves of a money tree plant radiating from one stem, covered in droplets of water.

Photo by Beth Upton

In a recent piece of client work we conducted a survey of the charity’s top donors, in order to better understand what they thought about the work of the charity and what interaction they were looking for. When summarising the donor feedback to pass on to the charity, it struck me that there were three identifiable themes. Their major donors (and I’m speculating that most big givers have similar wishes) were clearly looking for three things:

  1. Information
  2. Engagement
  3. Networking

Donors I spoke to placed different emphasis on each of these and several were only interested in one or two, but it became clear that the larger the gift, the more likely that all three elements would need to be provided, or at least offered, to the donor.

So what does this look like in reality? Here are few thoughts on each to tick off with your charity in mind:


  • Annual reports (with letter)
  • Newsletter (personalised cover)
  • Reports on specific donor-funded work (relating to their gift)
  • Case studies (relating to their area of interest)
  • Photos of work they have funded
  • Financial breakdown (of overall project work and specific project of interest)
  • Current funding needs
  • Project developments and plans
  • Business plan
  • Strategic plan


  • Meeting senior staff/project staff/trustees/beneficiaries/tour of facilities
  • Opportunity to give advice/input on strategy and project development
  • Direct route to the CEO/Board
  • Volunteering opportunities
  • Corporate opportunities
  • Focus groups


  • Joining Appeal/Development Board/Corporate Committee
  • Invitation to fundraising events/receptions
  • Breakfast/Lunch with other donors/funders

Listing what you can offer donors under these headings, then planning which will be most appropriate for your best prospects and when, sets out your donor stewardship plan for the year. Make sure you track progress and coordinate the account management of donors and you will give yourself a much greater chance of success. Please contact us if you would like to discuss stewardship planning and useful templates.

Give your major donor programme a health check now