It’s helpful to know why we are reaching out to a donor or prospective donor prior to the call, email, letter, or note.
Are we calling to secure a gift commitment? Calling to set up a visit? Calling to invite them to an event? Calling as a follow-up to a past visit?
Or, are we calling simply because we care?
During March of 2020, the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S., Gonser Gerber counseled our clients to call each of their assigned major donor prospects and ask how they, their families, and their friends were coping with the virus and the disruption of life. Were they experiencing illness, or worse, and was there anything they could do to help, if needed (and appropriate).
In other words, we advised clients to call simply because they cared.
We don’t do that nearly enough. And, we don’t do it enough when times are less troubling or calamitous. We are missing an opportunity.
When we call simply to check-in on someone, we send a few important messages. First, the message sent is, “you matter more to our institution than your checkbook.” Second, we send the message that we don’t only reach out for gift giving purposes. Finally, we send the message that we are thinking about them and their well-being when there is no direct benefit to our institution.
Each of these messages helps deepen trust and increases the tensile strength of the fabric of our relationships.
If we want major gifts donors and prospective major gifts donors to care about our mission when we need their support, it is wise to show evidence of our caring about them, first.
This article was originally posted on Jason’s Blog in January 2024. To read more, visit www.jasonmcneal.com.