How to Make a Thank You Call

July 23, 2008

I’m sure you have made a thank you call before and I’m sure you are great at it. I thought it might be worthwhile for me to talk about the process I go through when making these calls. I’d love to hear from you regarding what tips you have and what things you’ve done. Please leave a comment below.

How do you make a thank you phone call? I have found that sometimes when we receive an unexpected gift we are often so surprised and caught off guard by it that we don’t make the phone call. I know these objections will sometime enter my head: I don’t know this person, If they wanted me to call they would have called me, etc. What I do immediately when I get a gift is look it up in my donor database (here is a great article on choosing a donor database), depending on the size of the gift I might spend a little time on Google (or a new search engine www.pipl.com), then I will pick up the phone and call.

When I talk with them on the phone I will thank them for their gift, if they gave a designated gift I will reference that. Then I ask them how they found my organization or heard of us (If I know the answer to this I might refer to it and ask for their story or more details). I might ask them what motivated their gift if there is a specific program they would like to learn more about. Many times I will close the call with an additional thank you and I’ll ask them if they want a tour of one of the facilities.

What do you do? What have you found successful? Leave a comment below.

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The Immediate Thank You Call

July 21, 2008

How many of us have started a 24 hour acknowledgment letter process and stopped making a quick thank you phone call immediately after (or on the same day) that a gift is received? I have been shocked at how well received I am when I call a donor just to say thank you. Sometimes I’ll hear surprise at a quick response or learn a little tidbit about their giving that I would have never learned in a letter or email.

More than anything else a personal thank you call means more to you from a real human voice instead of in a letter.  We still need to follow up the call with a quick thank you letter including a little reference to the conversation you had on the phone, but the phone call will make a huge difference. I find that a two minute thank you call does more to secure a second gift than anything else.

In fact, the ability to thank donors should be one of the most important things to your organization. If you are good at thanking donors you will be good at keeping and upgrading them too. You could build your entire development plan around acknowledging and thanking and be extremely successful. If a donor feels cared for they want to grow their involvement. Also thanking donors is one of the easiest things for board and executive staff to do. If you want to get your board involved in the fundraising process this is a great way to get them started.

Do you call donors immediately when you receive a major gift? How has that helped your nonprofit?