Posted: August 5, 2017
Phone Calls are One of the Most Under-Utilized and Best Fundraising Tools You Have (and they’re the cheapest!)
As your nonprofit expands its outreach and begins to cultivate new and larger donors, development directors, executive directors, board members and active influencers will (and should) be looking for more and varied means of reaching out to engage your “mission investors”. One of the most effective and least employed methods is one of the simplest: pick up the phone and CALL your donors.
Donor outreach is a huge and somewhat daunting area of fundraising. While there are many opinions on how best to reach out, how often and in what manner, making as personal a connection as possible is universally recommended. When a one-to-one meeting isn’t an option, the next best thing is a phone call from a board member or senior level staff.
A phone call shows real interest and a desire for an honest back and forth dialogue in a way that email simply does not. Even when the email comes from a real human and is personal, they often sit in Inboxes for days or weeks, with some busy philanthropists admitting to never actually reading fundraising emails at all!
Why/When should you call your donors?
  • A major event has happened at your organization (groundbreaking for a new wing of the school, new board president elected, selection by a professional group for an annual award). Not all outreaches need to be (nor should they be) fundraising related. Please read that last sentence again. Dan Graham of Notley Ventures writes on donor fatigue and how to avoid it here
  • As a THANK YOU for a recently made gift - Joe Garecht says that “one of the best ways to keep donors giving year after year is to call them to thank them immediately after you receive their gifts” in her blog post here
  • A next fundraising event is about to occur and your top 50 donors get first crack at sponsorships (and their perks)
  • An annual appeal is coming and you would like pre-commitments
WHO should call your donors?
  • Director level staff
  • Board members
  • Community Influencers/Other Donors: do you have an advisory board? An event committee? Tap into these resources to keep your donors from hearing from the same Development officer every 3 months.

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