This Thing Called Follow-up

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?


3 Responses to This Thing Called Follow-up

  1. Brian Saber says:

    I couldn’t agree more. So many people blow it on the follow-up. As awkward as they find the initital ask, they seem to shy away even more from the follow-up. Askers need to think of it this way. Statistically, 75% of all in-person solicitations end in a gift. If you leave a meeting with a proposal on the table for the donor to consider, you’re probably 90% of the way there. So don’t stop now! I agree that donors often will wait to hear from the organization or volunteer. And following up is further proof to the donor that this is important to you and your organization. So call, e-mail, write – whatever works!

    Brian Saber, Co-Founder, Asking Matters

  2. Gaynor Meilke says:

    Being a ‘newbie’ fundraiser, what advice does anyone have to offer about those prospects who are elusive when follow-up attempts are made?

  3. Jason Dick says:

    Gaynor- Great questions. In fact I’m going to write a full post in response to it. You need to know who you are attempting to follow-up with. If they are a prospect that knows a board member, try having the board member call them. Sometimes I will call a different times over a span of a couple of weeks during different hours of the day. Sometimes I’ve sent them a note after a few follow-up calls did not work. You will not be able to connect with everyone that you want. I hope that helps.

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