ENHANCING DONORRELATIONS @TGKVF

The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation (TGKVF) is a philanthropic leader that helps  donors, nonprofits, and other collaborative partners strengthen our community so all  of the people and places we serve have the opportunity to thrive. TGKVF adopted  this mission in 2022 at the end of our new strategic planning process. The board  of directors and operations team felt that it was necessary to include “donors” in  the mission because without them, we would not have the resources to invest in  community partnerships and in students pursuing post-secondary education.  

Our updated strategic plan includes priorities and strategies for our discretionary  grantmaking, scholarship program, grantee strengthening, financial operations, and  internal organizational development. The addition of donor-focused team members  is one of the strategies identified in the internal organizational development area.  As fate would have it, a donor partner desiring to support our growth offered to  invest in our development.

Consequently, in May 2023, Johanna Miesner joined the team as our first Donor  Relations Officer. According to the Association of Donor Relations Professionals,  donor relations is the comprehensive effort of any nonprofit that seeks philanthropic  support to ensure that donors experience high-quality interactions with the  organization that foster long-term engagement and investment. This effort is  commonly thought to have four elements: gift acceptance and management,  acknowledgment, donor recognition, and reporting.

Aspects of these elements are currently being performed by other team members.  Johanna will fill the gaps and strengthen our efforts. Her duties include the following:

Manage a portfolio of fundholders, including donor-advised, agency, and other  funds.  

  • Deliver donor services consistent with Council on Foundations’ National  Standards. 
  • Together with the Donor Relations Team (CEO, CFO, Controller,  Communications Director), develop and execute fundholder stewardship  plans and processes that lead to deeper ties with donors to grow fundholder  investment and better serve our audience.  
  • Proactively manage relationships with donors and fundholders.  
  • Utilize metrics and measurement tools to gauge progress and report to  Foundation stakeholders and leadership. 
  • Identify opportunities to connect donors’ philanthropic goals with the  Foundation’s strategic priorities for serving the community.  
  • Work with the Donor Relations Team to maintain an effective and continuously  improving approach to stewardship that increases fundholder engagement and  grows assets based on organizational goals. 
  • Work with the Donor Relations Team and others at the Foundation to plan  and execute fundholder events that elevate the work and relationships with  fundholders. 
  • Work with Foundation leadership to formalize the engagement and stewardship  process for professional advisors. 
  • Identify and implement trends and best practices in donor engagement,  stewardship, and management.  
  • Lead creative development and execution of stewardship initiatives related to  special campaigns and projects for which TGKVF solicits external support. 
  • Educate donors on philanthropic sector developments.

Enhancing donor relations is in keeping with my call for a community philanthropy movement. We have been a leader in this movement for 61 years and are committed to making West Virginia an even better place to live, work, play, pray, and raise a family. We are culturally aware of the region we serve, understand community needs and have the ability to respond to them quickly. Assisting donors in finding impactful grantees is at our core.

Our operations team and board of trustees look forward to growing The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation’s capacity to meet the needs of West Virginians with the assistance of our donors.

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