Mental Follow-up Games

Our minds play games with us about making follow-up calls. It is really easy to talk yourself out of following up with a donor. I’ll often hear myself thinking, “I just talked with them last week,” or “If he really wanted to hear from me, he’d have called me back.” But as the development staff members, if we do not make follow-up a priority, nobody will. You’ve probably heard the mantra that you will never get a gift unless you ask for it. We could probably even extend that mantra to include follow-up.

If you don’t follow-up on your solicitations, then you will never get a gift. Donors, on occasion, will play games with development staff. Sometimes donors play these games intentionally and sometimes they are accidental. Unless a donor has thought and planned long and hard about a gift to your organization they will often procrastinate about making that decision, especially if it is a large gift. It is our phone calls, emails, and physical visits that remind them of the urgency of our organization’s needs.

Many donors will wait for an organization to follow up with them in a specific way or to see if they are going to follow up at all before they will make their gift. It helps a donor to know how serious the organization is and how valuable they really are. I have to force myself to remember the importance of follow-up; sometimes I’ll even write a note to myself that I can have right next to me at the beginning of each day reminding me to make a call or send an email.

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