Stewardship Calls: Are They Worth Your Effort?


Every fundraiser knows that stewardship calls boost donor retention and engagement. But it’s always been difficult to find hard data to support that claim. Stewardship calls are also a great way to involve reluctant board members in the fundraising process. But there’s always that one board member that wants to see the data that proves it works before they’ll join in the effort.

Thankfully, the folks at Sumac recently published a blog post titled “The Incredible Power of The Phone: 3 Nonprofit Case Studies and a 400% increase in Donations!.” In this post they compile research from Penelope Burk, The Thistle Foundation and HJC Nonprofit Consulting to show the impact of stewardship calls. Here’s the data:

  • Board members calling to thank donors increases donations by 39%;
  • Staff calling to update donors increases donations by 41%;
  • Staff calling to encourage event participants increases pledge donations by 400%.

Now that you have hard numbers backed up by research, what board member is going to turn you down when you ask them to make thank you calls? And what about those staff calling numbers? I hope you’re seriously considering making some calls yourself … especially to provide impact updates and encourage your peer to peer event participants.

Regardless, pick up the phone. It may no longer be a great solicitation tool, but it definitely still has its place in the fundraising world.