First, some definitions
Acknowledgment is something done or given in recognition of something received. Acknowledging gifts in a personal and timely fashion provides an important opportunity to build or enhance the connections between your library and its donors. From connections, come relationships. Any gift – regardless of the amount – says that the donor values what the library has to offer. The simplest form of acknowledgement is a thank-you letter, letting the donor know that he or she is likewise valued. The letter also serves a second purpose, and that is to provide documentation for tax purposes.
A gift to your library can also a way for a donor to say, “I want to be more involved.” Use this opportunity of saying “thank you” to deepen your donor’s connection to the library. Inform donors about what is happening at your library by including a newsletter or events calendar with your thank-you letter, and add them to your event and newsletter mailing lists.
Stewardship refers to the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one’s care. In fundraising, it describes how an organization relates to donors after they have made their first gift. Besides a thank-you letter, there are a variety of additional activities that help strengthen the connection between donor and library. Often, donors are the most invested and most interested supporters – and can be one of the greatest advocates for your library in the community.