A conversation with a donor is one of the most basic tools in your fundraising toolkit. Yet it’s the one we are least likely to use.

We create all kinds of excuses. “I don’t have time.” “I don’t have enough information.” “Maybe they’re out of town?” “Who would want to talk with me anyway?”

But the fact remains: talking with our donors is the best thing we can do to inform and engage them. Think about your own interests:

  • You want to know about your child’s school events.
  • You want to know what’s happening at your place of worship.
  • You follow your favorite sports team.

Donors feel the same way. They want to see the impact of their dollars. They want to know about the people you serve and the difference your organization is making.

  • Tell them about the child who is now reading at grade level because of your program.
  • Tell them about the family who was able to stay in their home because of your rent-assistance program.
  • Tell them about the breakthrough research they helped fund.

Another tactic that is very effective, especially if you work with children, is to have a child leave the voicemail. Of course they will need guidance on what to say, but for a donor to hear directly from the person their contributions help can make a huge difference for both them and the client.

I can hear the excuses now. “I have too many donors in my portfolio.” “My ED/CEO won’t make calls.” “Board members will only call their friends.”

Okay. You can work with this. As you can see in my other articles, I believe in planning, mapping it out and making that map visible. With a plan, an overwhelming task translates into bite-size, manageable pieces for the CEO, board members, and for yourself.