n.an individual, family, or organization that voluntarily transfers ownership of archival resources to a repository without monetary recompenseKaiser 1969, 103Our donors now run the gamut—from an individual to a corporate entity; from the naïve to the sophisticated, that is, in terms of their previous exposure to primary sources and historical documentation; from those with a primary interest in preserving materials because of historical value to those whose interest stems almost completely from ego satisfaction or tax deduction possibilities.Stewart 1976, 16Maintaining good donor/repository relations requires follow-up activities. Donors should be recognized for their contributions to manuscript collections. This recognition can take many forms: thank-you letters, listing of donors in the repository newsletter or annual report, social events, exhibits, and the like. In many cases a donor will have additional materials to give; either supplementary additions to the original collection, different collections, or leads to other potential donors. In some instances, donors may even support the establishment of a collection with a financial gift. They should be cultivated.Wurl 2005, 72Material may be gifted to a repository but with the expectation that in many respects, the relationship between donor and archive is just beginning.Greene 2006, 11We have had exactly one donor who was irate when informed that we had reappraised and deaccessioned his collection. On the other hand, five of those donors actually went so far as to thank us for how we handled the whole matter, and three of those went so far as to send us checks in appreciation!Weideman 2006, 277To carry this process even one step further, when I think it is appropriate, I now ask donors who created the materials to write all or some of the series descriptions for our inventories. Since we are doing less arrangement and description below the series level we have less to say about the research strengths of the materials. The donors who created the materials, however, often have excellent insight into what the materials document and how they can and should be used with other materials in the collection.Wexler and Long 2009, 485If anything, a genuinely caring approach to elderly, dying, or grieving donors can only enhance an archivist’s sense of professional responsibility.Stanford and Meyer 2011, 17We should ask more of donors than simply dropping off their old files at the archives. By deciding which old files to offer, donors already play a role in the appraisal of their records. Awareness of this fact can motivate archivists to assist donors in making better-informed decisions in closer accordance with the policies of the repository.Fisher 2015, 92Donors thus play a role in the making of our collective memory, not just in the obvious sense as creators, but also as owners and keepers of documentary material, who consciously engage with archival institutions to negotiate the preservation of the material and its availability for public research.Fisher 2015, 93Though we often use the terms “creator” and “donor” interchangeably, there are subtle but important differences in these roles, evident to most archivists, but which warrant review here for clarity of expression. “Creator” refers to the individual, family, or organization that creates and accumulates the archival material in question, while the “donor” is the individual, family, or organization that legally negotiates and transfers its ownership to the acquiring archives. Creators may become donors when they approach an archival institution with an offer of their documents or when they respond to an overture from an archivist.Huth 2016b, 203In the end, “donor,” as used in our field, refers to those people or institutions who donate archival records to any archives, whether or not those donors are the creators of those records or simply their current owners.Ruschiensky 2017, 105–106The donors of archives also play a central role in generating meaning and value around the materials they are donating, especially when they are the creators of the records or the creators’ close friends, colleagues, or family members, or if they have personal ties to the donating organization. While “absent donors” are known to drop off boxes, transfer custody to the archival repositories, and then disappear until the next accrual, more often than not donors are directly and personally implicated in the appraisal and transfer process, and the meanings generated around the donation often begin with the conversation between the donor and the archivist.Skeem 2018, 1Since manuscript repositories would not exist without donors, our responsibility in establishing good relationships with our donors and maintaining them throughout our careers is vital. Many of these donors will continue to interact with their materials and us as caretakers of their materials for decades after the initial donation.Rogers and Sassur 2020, 124When donors recognize the importance of the archival project of preserving personal papers, and when this recognition is combined with a desire to ensure the ongoing viability of a donor’s personal legacy, they may be willing to waive monetary rewards for their donations and may even be better incentivized to make financial donations for the long-term care of their records.