Fears that stewardship will 'wither on the vine'

The donor care method known as stewardship could die out unless the Institute of Fundraising develops a code of practice that sets a common definition, according to a fundraising specialist.

Stewardship should involve making a fundraiser responsible for a relationship with a major donor and understanding how he or she would like to spend donations, according to Gordon Michie, director of development at charity marketing agency Relationship Marketing.

But in an interview with Third Sector, he claimed that fundraisers confused stewardship with relationship fundraising or wider forms of donor care, which meant giving control to donors about how they are communicated with. "Without this common definition of stewardship, which I would like to see the institute arrive at through consultation on a new code of practice, genuine stewardship could wither on the vine," Michie said.

Megan Pacey, director of policy and campaigns at the Institute of Fundraising, said that its codes of fundraising practice already offered best practice guidance in relation to stewardship.

"Any proposal for a new code of fundraising practice would need to be made formally to the institute's standards committee," she said.

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