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Marketing Plan: Donor Recognition and Stewardship

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Marketing
Wordcount: 5432 words Published: 7th Sep 2017

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Economic recession has had its impact on the number of donors. As the economy is recovering, the trends indicate that non-profit organizations continue to lose donors faster than they gain them even if the giving amounts are increasing. “The results are troubling because we’re seeing a trend of charities relying on fewer donors giving larger gifts,” said Elizabeth Boris, director of the Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy at the Urban Institute. “Charities need to work harder on reaching out to new and different groups of donors. More important, however, is keeping donors for longer than a year, since it’s much cheaper to retain existing donors than it is to continually find new ones.” Non-profit sector is undergoing changes. Maybe it’s the already-begun exodus of Baby Boomers in nonprofit leadership positions. Maybe it’s the scramble to understand shifting giving habits as younger donors enter the philanthropic discussion in greater numbers. Whatever it is, it makes us rethink donor relations, which is undergoing a metamorphosis in both thinking and approach.

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Market Analysis. Children’s Health Foundation is an independent incorporated non-profit organization dedicated to raising and granting funds to supportChildren’s Hospital at London Health Sciences Centre, Thames Valley Children’s Centre and Children’s Health Research Institute. Since 1922, funds raised have helped deliver exceptional care and support for children and their families by providing specialized pediatric care, equipment, education programs, therapy, rehabilitation services and research. Children’s Health Foundation is regional pediatric referral center for South Western and North Western Ontario. Children’s Health Foundation is operating in an extremely competitive industry. Canada’s charitable and nonprofit sector is the 2nd largest in the world with 170,000 non-profit organizations. Ontario’s 46,000+ NFP organizations employ about one million people, 15% of Ontario’s total workforce, and have an economic impact of nearly $50 billion. This represents more than 7.1% of Ontario’s GDP- greater than the automobile and construction industries combined. More than 5 million Ontarians donate over 820 million hours of their time volunteering every year, valued at the equivalent of 400,000 full-time jobs. Health care is the second largest recipient of donations in Canada (behind religious organizations) and makes up approximately 13% of all donations received from Canadians. Large philanthropic donations from individuals or corporations are becoming increasingly important sources of donations. At the same time, in both urban and rural communities, donor fatigue is becoming a real concern. As residents continue to be asked to contribute to charitable organizations, there comes a point at which their willingness or ability to donate is exhausted. This is of particular concern in large urban areas like the GTA, where there is fierce competition for donor dollars, according to Anthony Dale, CEO of the Ontario Hospital Association. Philanthropy in Canada is highly dependent on oil and gold prices. Looking back within Canada’s philanthropic history, it is noticeable that a year after a recession there was a significant decrease in fundraising contributions. And with Canada’s health care system becoming increasingly dependent on philanthropy, its capital planning may become increasingly vulnerable to fluctuations in Canada’s resource economy. Philanthropy is essential to the wellbeing of the health care system, allowing hospitals to improve and develop their infrastructure and conduct innovative medical research. This is the reality for Children’s Health Foundation as well, whose infrastructure, hydro, water and salaries only are funded by government. All the specialized programs the foundation provide and equipment is covered with donor dollars. But as we enter the era of plunging oil prices and economic uncertainty, hospital foundations are likely to face harder times fundraising, and this may make any disparities in access to capital projects among communities worse. In addition to that, Canadians are becoming less generous and giving fewer donations to charity than they did a decade ago, according to the 2016 Generosity Index published by the Fraser Institute, a think tank. Acquisition of the gift today has become a measuring stick for performance for many non-profits. The fact that 15% of Canadian population makes over 80% of all charitable contributions is evidence of how important stewardship became. Brand Analysis. The brand identity of Children’s Health Foundation which comprises the logo and the tagline is very clear and concise. Their mission to mobilize the community to support excellence in health care, rehabilitation and research for children and their families is fully backed up by all the programs and support they offer (innovative research, world-class hospital facilities and equipment; wide range of financial, legal and moral support to families with sick children). They are very consistent in updating their online social blog, website, Facebook page, as well as uploading not only visuals but also the documentaries on regular basis to strengthen the impact of the message they are trying to convey. Children’s Health Foundation constantly conduct different campaigns to increase their reach and revenue. For the time being they cover South West Ontario, some parts of North West Ontario and have established good relationships with Thunder Bay hospitals. Children’s Health Foundation is promoting their brand on their website by using stories, visuals and documentaries for people to see the harsh reality of ill children and understand the difference they can make with their donations. The foundation also uses the social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to increase their reach as well as newsletters. They are raising funds and increase awareness of the cause by running campaigns, accepting donations on different levels andorganizing fundraising events. Children’s Health Foundation’s brand IDEA (integrity, Democracy, Ethics, Affinity) is very effective which increases its credibility. Children’s Health Foundation focuses on providing full range aid to the sick children and their families by providing high quality support on various levels (treatment, rehabilitation, financial, legal, moral), which is something unique and is the base of their positioning in the market against other non-profit organizations like Sunshine, Save the Children or World Vision. All of these organizations cover different needs of children – make their dreams come true, provide financial support or food supplies to malnurished kids. Children’s Health Foundation’s brand evolve around the most vulnerable part of our society – sick children. Because children are our future, donors are very willing to support this cause and it does attract significant amounts of funds. Children’s Health Foundation has raised $8mln. last year. In terms of donations Children’s Health foundation is targeting corporations and people with various income levels that are not indifferent to the cause as every dollar that comes in is important. The donor segmentation is as follows: individuals, corporations, lifetime giving, legacy, community fundraising. Varied demographics is one of the challenges the foundation is facing when trying to build their donor recognition and stewardship programs because every demographic group depending on level of donations is expecting different things. Looking at the ways to donate, however, it is clear, that the foundation fails to address and engage in their efforts the generation of millennials. The objective of the Children’s Health Foundation is to come up with a plan on how they can recognize and steward all different demographics and customize these programs according to different levels of donations by remaining inclusive.

SWOT Analysis – Children’s Health Foundation


Brand associated with children. People like to help children.

Affiliation with Children’s hospital, Children’s Research Institute and Thames Valley Children’s Centre, so donor dollars are kept under one umbrella.

The third largest children health research institute in Canada.

Offer various specialized programs to sick children.

Strong community event partnerships.

Children’s Health Research Institute leverages the seed funding from Children’s Health foundation 10 times over, with external and peer-reviewed grant success.

Tax exemption

Family Centered care environment through programs as: fund specialized equipment, comfort sick children, establish a new simulation, support families in need, fund pro-bono legal services for patient families.


Limited budget.

Hospital policy limitations.

Limited staff.

Targeting a wide range of demographics without particular focus.

Website is not very graphic.


Tap into the market of Millennials and encourage involvement in the cause

Cause Related Marketing

Innovative donor recognition & stewardship programs

Having limited resources to focus their efforts towards actions that would bring the biggest return


Vulnerable to economic crisis. Charitable giving is one of the first cash outflows that consumers cut back on when money is tight.

Since they depend on contributions, they need to avoid the perception of impropriety. Even a small scandal can be damaging.

Donor engagements are difficult in hospitals due to health, safety & privacy issues

Giving trends are changing, it’s important to adjust

competitive evaluation

Children’s Health Foundation is competing with every cause being promoted by other more than 60 not-for-profit organizations in London, Ontario. The advantage of Children’s Health Foundation is that their mantra evolves around sick children, which is more likely to win donors’ hearts than any other cause. On regional and national level Children’s Health foundation is facing more fierce competition. We will look closer at 3 of 13 Children Hospital Foundations in Canada – Children’s Health Foundation’s, Sick Kids and McMaster Children Hospital Foundation, as they are all competing in exactly same field and are part of Children’s Miracle Network. The point of parity is that all these organizations are Hospital Foundations and provide help to children with severe health problems.

Competitive Evaluation

Children’s Health Foundation

Sick kid’s foundation

McMaster Children Hospital Foundation

Simple, clear landing page.

Appealing video on the landing page of their website.

Simple landing page.

No specific partners mentioned.

Partners are not listed.

Partnerships with well-known companies.

Not very pictorial when it comes to kids.

Very creative in terms of content and use of graphics. Impactful.

Good content.

Easy way to donate whatever amount you wish to.

Different approaches to donate for specific programs.

Easy way to donate.

There is a donor recognition page on the website.

Donor wall shows how the foundation have recognized their donors.

No donor wall to identify donors.

Conducts bowling competition to save lives of children.

Have kid’s lottery system to raise funds.

No upcoming specific programs to raise funds.

Does not target millennials.

Has a page on their website which allows to create own fundraising campaign and customize it for birthday etc.

Does not target millennials.

Has an extensive specialized program variety for family support (financial, legal etc.)

Deals with a large variety of serious diseases and has a long history and solid reputation as an establishment offering word class programs like Motherisk.

Focus on cancer, mental health and eating disorders for children.

Sick Kids is very established foundation with long history, strong website and variety of programs they offer. They do target millennials offering them to customize their fundraising activity on Sick Kids website. Children’s Health Foundation should look into this market as well as to enhance their website for a stronger impact.

opportunity identification

Children’s Health foundation is very similar to competitors in terms of services, target audiences and fundraising activities. The opportunity lies in differentiation. The organization could do that by implementing innovative donor recognition and stewardship program, segment their donors more efficiently to focus their efforts in order to maximize the return and tap into market of young donors.

goal statement

In this marketing plan, we will focus on developing Donor Recognition & Stewardship strategies for several donor segments:

  1. Planned giving as one of the sources of large donations to ensure future gifts. The planned giving component can promote long-term endowment building as well as assisting support over time as an inflation hedge.
  2. Lifetime giving to ensure loyalty and repeat gifts to support steady funds.
  3. Individual giving by millennials to ensure we engage the young generation in philanthropic activities.

marketing objectives

  • To increase planned giving by 10% by the end of the year.
  • To maintain ongoing relationship with long – time loyal donors.
  • To increase millennial giving by 20% with engaging recognition and stewardship program by the end of the year.

communication objectives   

  • Planned Giving: Raise awareness about planned giving opportunities for a good cause -Children’s Health Foundation
  • Lifetime Giving: Increase engagement with lifetime donors to strengthen the relationship.
  • Individual Giving: Raise awareness about giving opportunities among millennials and engage them in such activities.

creative objective – planned giving

Our basic creative strategy is to position planned giving as the most meaningful way to leave a legacy.

creative strategy – planned giving

Target audience for this campaign are people of 60 and above (70% women as they are more likely to donate to health-related charities), who will be soon retiring or already retired with a significant amount of funds or estate at their disposal in South West and North West Ontario. Some of them have already started will /estate planning. They are single with small or no family, married with no children, or married couples with successful children. They have been donating to charities regularly or are connected to charitable giving in other ways, like volunteering. They are quite conservative and relationship is very important to them. This audience is into traditional media and listen to classic radio. They search online for real estate or auctions, could use twitter, but mobile phone is regarded as a practical tool rather than entertainment device. This audience are big fans of both water and motor sports. They have high rates for going to community theatres, baseball games and golf events. And personal finance appears to be one of their favorite indoor hobbies.

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We have chosen this segment because Children’s Health Foundation finds it challenging to steward this type of donors and often, some of the greatest and most transformational gifts to an organization come through bequests and other planned gifts. In Canada, the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce estimates that Canadian boomers are about to inherit approximately $750 billion from their aging relatives over the next decade. Now the baby boomer generation is entering retirement and many are willing to pass on their inheritance to charities rather than to their children. Regional disparities should be taken into consideration as well. Ontario residents expect to get the bigger bequests: 6.4 % look to receive more than $500,000, almost half as many as the 4.4 % across Canada who anticipate receiving such a large inheritance. As the boomer generation ages, it is increasingly crucial for all health care foundations to establish a planned giving strategy, giving donors even more ways to fulfill their philanthropic goals and touch the lives of others. The population of people of 55 years of old and over is continuously increasing in London and make up around 35% of its population. Seniors are most likely to donate to health-related charities.


For lifetime Philanthropists, the Children’s Health Foundation is the ultimate way for leaving legacy by providing long lasting value to the most vulnerable part of our society – sick children – and contribute to our future. Children’s Health Foundation commits to full support for these kids and their families including treatment, rehabilitation, innovative research, financial and legal assistance.

Recognition and Stewardship

Conventional donor recognition and stewardship model does not work for this type of giving. As planned gifts are revocable, deferred and can be changed by the donor at any time, it is very important that these donors are recognized and thanked systematically.

  • Proposals for planned giving could be shared with the current donor database.
  • Planned gifts can be an important part of most major gift proposals to donors who pledge a specific amount while alive to purchase equipment or help pay for construction. A deferred planned gift can supplement this support by creating a permanent endowment that will provide perpetual support for the same program or building.
  • Planned gift proposal could be incorporated into all charity’s fundraising efforts.
  • Donors who establish life income arrangements (charitable trusts, gift annuities), arrange for retained life estates, or donate life insurance policies (all irrevocable) as well as those providing for bequests or naming your charity as a beneficiary of their retirement plans or life insurance policies (revocable) should be nominated for Guardian Circle. The common theme of these donors is their belief that providing for the future of the organization is important and that their funds will be used for a noble cause to help those in need when they will no longer be with us.
  • Donors are becoming philanthropists and investors, and will require different types of information, greater transparency and access to leadership. Which means legacy donors should be provided with “Inside Reports” on a regular basis or perhaps a personal perspective on something happening at the charity. These should be from someone high in the organization and could be sent on society letterhead to reinforce the feeling of belonging to a community of special donors.
  • It is important to meet them face to face and as often as a donor deems necessary.
  • Small tokens of appreciation could be sent on regular basis: crafts made by kids, maybe some tickets to a classical music concert given by sponsor or other type of gift received on the basis of partnership with for profit organizations. There is no cost involved and shows that these donors are being though off.
  • Planned gift donors should be invited into every fundraising event to make sure Children’s Health Foundation has as many touch points with these donors without forcing unnatural interactions like compulsory monthly calls.
  • To keep a database of their birthdays or anniversaries, their children or grandchildren birthdays or other events (exotic holiday, wedding, someone is sick) to make sure that these donors and their families receive a card or follow up phone call (with no ask) on these occasions. Greeting cards could be prepared by kids. It is a very personalized attention, that shows the donor that you care and remember. In this way, it is possible to involve all the family in philanthropic activities and potentially increase donations from other sources.
  • Board members could organize a yearly lunch or dinner evening only for this type of donors to discuss in more detail the struggles and plans of the foundations. The cost of such a dinner could as well be a gift from a restaurant to the Children’s Health Foundation if arranged.
  • Every planned gift donor should have an opportunity to have a tour of the facilities, to speak with researchers and employees of the hospitals at least once, so they would get a feeling of how they can contribute to the cause rather than just see the numbers on the paper. This would help them to feel more involved.
  • Planned gift donors may as well become monthly donors to assist in covering some immediate needs or vice versa, so while maintaining an ongoing relationship it is important to leverage different opportunities and to offer them to the donor as an option.
  • Planned gift donors should have contact details of their main contact in the foundation should he have any questions. All their problems should be resolved in a timely and effective manner.
  • Donors should be publicly recognized to the greatest extent they’ll allow, which, would help make planned giving more accessible to other potential contributors.
  • It would be nice to name a building, garden of the hospital or some other place of the facilities after the name of the legacy leader and honor a person with the largest contribution this way.

Media Channels

Ad on Classic Radio, TV and magazines, brochures to be handed out at theatre, art galleries, golf events, fundraising events; Twitter, announcements on website, face to face, telephone.

creative objective – lifetime giving

Our basic creative strategy is to position lifetime giving as a vital source of income, enabling Children’s Health Foundation continue making difference for many families lives.

creative strategy – lifetime giving

Target Market


Target audience is 40+ years old persons (men and women) with advanced degrees and minimum $100,000 + income per household who have already made at least 3 donations in their lifetime. They are either empty nesters or married couples with university-aged children They have high rates for going to the theatre, symphony, art galleries and the ballet. At home, they read lots of books, listen to classical music radio stations and subscribe to business, news and travel magazines. They are politically active, rank high for working on community projects, serving as volunteers and writing letters to public officials. They also support a long list of philanthropic causes, exercising their well-developed social conscience with both their time and money. They read business and travel publications, watch TV golf shows and jazz festivals. This audience is one of the top clusters for buying financial products. These savvy Canadians invest in virtually every kind of mutual fund available.


For philanthropists, the Children’s Health Foundation is an investment that makes a real difference and offers a priceless return – a tremendously improved quality of life of children with severe health issues. Children’s Health Foundation commits to full support for these kids and their families including treatment, rehabilitation, innovative research, financial and legal assistance.


Target audience consists of large and mid-size businesses Children’s Health foundation have not cooperated with. These businesses are looking to incorporate philanthropic activities into their brand and culture to raise awareness and increase their brand equity as well as to contribute to their communities.


For socially responsible businesses, investment in Children’s Health Foundation is a most efficient way to make a difference in the lives of their communities, by helping the most vulnerable part of our society – children – to lead a quality life recovering from life threatening diseases. Children’s Health Foundation commits to full support for these kids and their families including treatment, rehabilitation, innovative research, financial and legal assistance.

We have chosen these target markets because middle class is declining and it is increasingly important to retain the loyalty of the donors to ensure steady revenue flow. Corporations is as well an important source of continuous revenue for charities for smooth daily operations. Children’s Health Foundation is currently working on the recognition and stewardship plan and came up with the below thresholds for lifetime giving.

Individual – $25,000 – $99,999

Individual – $100,000 – $499,999

Individual – $500,000 +

Corporations – $250,000 +

Recognition and Stewardship

Donor recognition and stewardship program should be aimed to form deep and lasting relationships with the donors, by adopting a long term ongoing mindset rather than to check off a box on a checklist. Conversation should be dynamic and ongoing rather than static.

Ideally every level should have a name of the circle who would enjoy the benefits of a specific level of donation.


Individual – $25,000 – $99,999

  • Give donor a photo frame of the children being helped.
  • To thank them in person if feasible to strengthen the relationship.
  • Develop a stewardship section on the website where all new memberships of the circle are being announced acknowledging the loyalty and support of the new member.
  • A pin of the circle.
  • Invitations to all fundraising events

Individual – $100,000 – $499,999

  • A painting with colorful handstamps of children of the hospital as an authentic way to say THANK YOU. It should be given in person.
  • Send cards or make a phone call during these birthdays, anniversaries, etc. That way, your donor will know that they’re on the top of your mind.
  • Invitations to all fundraising events.
  • A pin of the circle.
  • Tickets to an art show or complimentary golf rounds received from sponsor so it would not cost anything and donors would feel appreciated.

Individual – $500,000 +

  • A necklace made by children in the hospital as a thank you gift.
  • A yearly dinner with board members to discuss issues and make the donors feel they are part of the family and get a feeling of what is happening “behind the scene”.
  • A pin of the circle.
  • Invitations to exclusive events received from sponsors.
  • Send cards or make a phone call during these birthdays, anniversaries, etc. That way, your donor will know that they’re on the top of your mind.
  • Invitations to all fundraising events.
  • A public announcement (if donor agrees).

Media Channels

Brochures to be handed out in art galleries, theatres, symphonies, fundraising events; ads in business and travel magazines; TV – golf shows or jazz festivals; email, face to face, website, Twitter, LinkedIn.


  • At the completion of a project or campaign, provide them with a small photo book that showcases the project from inception to completion. A photo book is tangible evidence of how their dollars were spent and serves as a constant reminder of the organization. When creating the photo book, we should be certain to select results-oriented pictures that are tied to your cause and show the impact our organization makes.
  • Highlight a donor on the website or with newsletter. Include why they are such an important part of your organization’s family.
  • Honor major donors that stand out with a personalized plaque.
  • A 2 to 5 minute “thank you” video to publicly recognize them through social media and promote your organization to other potential supporters.
  • Use social media provide the chance to recognize donors in a regular and ongoing way.

Media Channels

Face to Face, telephone, brochures, email.

creative objective – individual giving/millennials

Our creative strategy is to position Children’s Health Foundation as a cause that invites our young generation to participate and therefore, make a difference.

creative strategy – individual giving/millennials

Target Audience is men and women from 18 to 30 years old – singles or young families. Their income is not very high as they are still in college/university or working in entry level jobs that do not bring high income. These young, tech-savvy consumers find their entertainment online. They are doing volunteer work in an effort to improve their community. They tend to donate to “whatever inspired them at the moment” and are looking for causes with social value and alignment to a higher purpose. They want to participate and co-create products as well as for disruption of the status quo in ways that appeal to their sensibilities. This group is very influenced by their peers.



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