The Three Hard Fundraising Questions Every Board Should Ask
December 3, 2014
Your Best Board Retreat Ever
December 17, 2014

It’s Mid-December: Time to Pick Up the Phone!

switchboard-operators1Your appeal letter should be in the mail. Your events are winding down. Your e-mail campaign is planned out. Foundation officers and corporate donors are pretty much done for the year.

We know you aren’t sitting around eating bon bons, but we also know from experience that athere is a window in December to use the phone to connect with your donors.

In fact, depending on your capacity, this is the perfect time of year to have conversations with (at least) four different groups of donors.

Major donors who haven’t yet given: Ideally, you would call all of your donors who you sent a request to, but have yet to respond. And if you can do that, do it! But, most nonprofits have to prioritize. And the logical way to prioritize is:

From the top down and from the inside out

In other words, sort your donors by the size of their last gift and by length of time they have been involved with the organization. Those who have given the most and the longest are at the top of your list. Start there and work your way down until the clock runs out!

Your message: “I’m calling to follow up on the letter/proposal/personal ask that you received from us. Are there any questions I can answer about it? Can I provide any additional information to help you make your decision about your year-end giving?…”

Lapsed donors: December is a great time to check-in with donors who may think that they have given to you over the last year, but actually haven’t. While we fundraisers may fret and strategize about “lapsed” donors, most people don’t keep track the way we do. I’ve called many donors, let them know when they last gave to us and the majority are very surprised to hear that it was so long ago. Many want to stay current and will make a gift on the spot.

Your message: “I’m calling to see if you would consider making an annual gift this year. We didn’t hear from you last year and we want to make sure we give you the opportunity to be involved this year. Last year with your help, we were able to….”

Prospects for stock gifts: First of all, if you don’t take stock gifts, get on the bandwagon. There is evidence that people who switch from giving cash to giving stock give about 33% more in dollars and you want to be able to offer this giving opportunity to your donors. This is also THE time of year for this kind of giving as people are evaluating their portfolios and thinking about tax deductions. (Remember that for gifts of stock, people can not only take a charitable deduction, but they get that deduction for the fair market value of their stock versus what they paid for it!)

Your message: “I’m calling because you’ve made a stock gift to our organization previously (or you have expressed an interest) and I want to make sure you have all the information to do that this year (again) if you wish….”

Monthly donors: If you have them, you should also consider calling your monthly donors to see if they will consider a special year-end gift. These are some of your most devoted donors and they will often provide you with extra support if you just ask them.

Your message: “We so appreciate your monthly support. Would you consider making a special gift before the end of the year for this important initiative…”

And for you Colorado fundraisers…Don’t forget to follow up with a call to your new Colorado Gives Day donors. Welcome them warmly!

We know you don’t have a lot of time, but determine which of these audiences could use a boost of personal attention from your organization and pick up that phone. On the other end you’ll find lots of great inspiration, information, and support!

For more specifics about when to call, what to say, and how to follow up, check out Dialing for Dollars: The Follow-Up Call

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