We always like to hear a “yes” immediately after a solicitation. One of the most exciting things about fundraising is successfully asking for a gift. But often times the answer you will get from your donor prospect will not be an immediate yes. Many people like to take a couple of days to think about the solicitation. In this case, it is absolutely essential that you take the time to follow through.
After a solicitation has taken place, make sure that everyone knows what the next step is going to be in order to close the ask. If the donor prospect needs time, then make sure you have let him know you have a specific time that follow-up will take place. Sometimes follow-up can take as much time or more than preparing for the solicitation.
Follow-up is one of the easiest components to forget or to postpone. After all of the preparation time and scheduling, it feels like the solicitation meeting is what everything is being prepared for. But, unless you follow through on the solicitation, your first meeting is in vain. So much can get in the way of good follow-up, so be diligent and proactive.
If you are using board members, volunteers, or executive staff, make sure they understand the value of follow-up. Make sure they have time on their calendars for a meeting or phone call to the donor prospect after the meeting. It can be helpful to even have 15 minutes pre-scheduled before you go into the solicitation on the calendar to make sure your follow-up gets done.
Do you have any stories illustrating the value of follow-up? What tricks do you use to ensure that you connect with your donor prospects after a solicitation?