L&S Stewardship: How to Thank Your Donors

This document is a resource of best practices for thanking the donors that give monetarily to your program and department funds.

The Basics

UW-Madison receives incredible financial support from individuals and companies. In this, we want to celebrate and thank those donors.

The Wisconsin Foundation & Alumni Association (WFAA) has several processes in place when monetary gifts are made to UW-Madison. Donors immediately receive an electronic receipt, and a hard-copy receipt in the mail after their gift is processed (learn more about the gift processing procedure here). Additionally, thank you letters are regularly being sent from the WFAA. It is our goal that all departments and programs within L&S thank their donors personally.

Stewardship execution:step-by-step

  1. Create a schedule

    Create a rhythm for when you will send thank you letters to fold it into your regular business. This could be once per month, twice per month, etc. Best practice is to send thank you letters within 14 days of the gift being received.
  2. Run the Donor Acknowledgement Report (DAR)

    The DAR allows you to see demographic and giving information for the donors within your department or program.

    For instruction on how to run the report, click here.
  3. Prepare letter

    Write a brief, meaningful letter to your donors. Once printed, add a hand-written note and signature.

    View examples here:
    2019_July_Stewardship.pdf
    2019_May_Stewardship.pdf
  4. Merge DAR and letter

    Using mail merge in Excel, merge the appropriate fields from your DAR into your letter.
  5. Complete DAR and email to WFAA

    The DAR includes two columns that need to be filled out each time you send thank you letters. This provides the WFAA with information to add to the donor record in our database, ABE. Once the report is filled out, email it to help@uwadvancement.org.

Who to Contact

Creating a stewardship strategy: denise.hickey@wisc.edu
Donor Acknowledgement Report: help@uwadvancement.org