Taking Care of Our Own: Stewarding Our Staff

by Courtney Cordero on August 31, 2017

Let’s talk about some people we love…our donors. Who makes up our donors to our YMCAs; board members, volunteers, vendors, companies, foundations, community partners and the list goes on. However, there is a very important group of donors that I forgot to mention, our staff.

Our staff pour their hearts and souls into their job while living our cause daily. They are a group that also choose our YMCAs as one of their charities to support. But why is it that our dedicated staff are stewarded the least?

I will be the first to admit that because of budget or not having enough kid’s art, somehow our staff are either left off the list or put at the bottom. My inclination is that many of us can relate. However, in the past two years, I started to feel very passionate about staff stewardship. What is the difference between a Board Member’s $1,000 gift and let’s say… our Health & Wellness Director’s $1,000 gift?

If you see a difference with either of them, I am going to stop you right there. In our San Diego Development Department, we say a Donor is a Donor is a Donor. And what we mean by that is all donors are created equal. There may be different approaches on how we secure or increase the gift, but how we steward our donors should be one in the same, meaning they get the same love and attention regardless of what role they play within our organization.

Okay, you’ve got it. Treat staff donors just like any other donor. Maybe your Y has done an excellent job at this or maybe it’s just a good reminder but, we all can use fresh ideas. So here are five easy ways that you can steward staff donors!

1. Give Tags- Whether you’re a $5 donor or a $5,000 donor, each staff person receives a give tag to attach to their name tag. It also opens great dialogue between staff and members to discuss why they give. Shout out to the YMCA of Austin who gave us the great idea to do this! 

2. Highlighting them in a Newsletter- Our Peninsula Family YMCA inspires members and donors by recapping why their staff members give. It is a fantastic way for a staff person to be recognized and also share why they are a donor to their community. 

3. Kids Art- I feel like art from our youth program participants is never played out! Who doesn’t love some art work from kids?

4. Themed Gifts- If you know me personally, you’re aware I am a total sucker for gifts based on puns! I feel like it makes people smile and it is relatively an inexpensive and fun way to thank people. Pinterest has so many ideas for this! (Attached with a highlighter & Y Branded)

5. Include in ANY Yearly Stewardship Plan- That’s right. Don’t put staff donors at the bottom of the list or take them off your newsletters, donor recognition, etc. Treat them as you would all your donors.
Courtney Cordero is currently the Association Director of Annual Campaign for the YMCA of San Diego County. Starting her career at a branch for the YMCA of Silicon Valley, Courtney has worked with a diverse group of volunteers, board members and donors ranging at all capacities and involvement for over 6 years. She currently supports 20 Annual Campaigns within the San Diego association to raise an overall goal of $6.7 million.

YMCA Stewardship Week is August 28-September 1. Read the NAYDO.org blog to be inspired by some of the best-in-class samples submitted by fellow Y development professionals. Follow us on Twitter where we’ll be sharing even more resources and ideas on donor relations best practices, gratitude, and engagement with our donors – search #YGratitude to find us. And finally, visit the Stewardship Gallery on Exchange and check out the new sample additions.