Talk to me..
When did you last pick up the phone and talk to one of your supporters? Not to ask them to ‘upgrade their support’ or to (yikes) deal with a complaint. No, I mean just to talk to them – to find out a bit more about who they are, how they feel about their support and what it’s achieving. Chances are if you’re an office-based fundraiser, it was a long time ago; or maybe you’ve never done it?
If you haven’t you should because you could be learning so much if you did. It always amazes me when I ask fundraisers about who their charity’s donors are – why they support, what motivates them, what’s important to them, how do they like to be kept in touch – that no one has ever yet said to me “Well, generally, we find that XXXXX is the case, but then when I was speaking with Mrs X last week, she told me that..”.
I’ve seen plenty of spreadsheets of appeal results, ACORN analyses etc. and the occasional ‘supporter survey’ questionnaire (all of which are useful as far as they go), but suggesting a few phone calls to talk personally to donors can sometimes feel like it’s a brand new idea.
Of course, the insights you gain during a few conversations can’t be applied across your entire file but they can definitely prove to be illuminating, useful, inspiring and surprising. They can remind you of important things you’d forgotten or help uncover a potential fundraising idea. I even know of instances when the phone call was made just in time to help rescue a relationship that was turning sour – quite by chance.
So, if you still have room on your resolutions list this year think about adding this one: ‘I will make time to pick up the phone and talk to ten donors this year – pure courtesy calls, to find out how they’re doing and what they think of what we’re doing with their money’. You won’t regret it.
PS. This video is a few years old now, but I still love it…