Survey asks fundraisers to define 'stewardship'

Fundraising agency Relationship Marketing is asking fundraisers for their definition of 'stewardship' in a new online survey.

Gordon Michie, the agency's director of development and author of last year's white paper on stewardship, Pretenders to the Steward Throne (Third Sector, 31 October 2007), is launching the survey in an effort to find a clear meaning of what fundraisers understand by the term.

"The problem, which I highlighted in my white paper and which we still encounter all the time, is that fundraisers keep talking about stewardship, but no one can really give a firm definition of what stewardship, when applied to fundraising, actually is," said Michie.

"Some people talk about it as if it's donor care, others as if it's relationship fundraising and others as if it's just being nice to people. Stewardship really is all things to all fundraisers."

Michie hopes the results of the survey will help to develop a benchmark for the sector to understand what stewardship means and develop its use as a fundraising role.

He added: "The upshot of this might be that charities spend time and money implementing something they already do."

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