On May 30th, Jay Love and Sandy Rees spent an hour answering questions live about donor communications and donor engagement. The webinar participants asked some intriguing questions, and we’d like to share some of Jay and Sandy’s answers with you.
One participant asked about donor engagement as it pertains to a fluctuation in donation amounts:
Question: How can I get a face-to-face appointment set with a potential donor or a volunteer who won’t seem to return my calls or emails?
Jay Love: I’ll relate to my board member experience. My wife and I were chairman of a capital campaign that finished about two years ago and was very successful for the YMCA here in Indianapolis.
In those cases I really found that you’ve got to figure out what the connection is and the connector particularly. Most of our appointments were secured by a board member that knew somebody or an existing donor, and we let that person go along with us on the first appointment or beyond the first phone call.
I often worked rather than just directly by myself on securing it, although we did make those come to life too, but I found more successful ones is where we were able to use that individual that was the connector between our organization and already had a relationship with that person.
Sandy Rees: Yes. I’ll add on to that. I think you’re exactly right anytime you can use that connector it’s great. I think that there’s something wrong with the mindset around this question. So many people who are working in fund- raising, they’re focused on the appointment and not the relationship.
I think that if you flipped that, and you focus on the relationship and not the appointment, then you can start to get to know that person. You can start to lay things out in a way that is more attractive.
In other words, put yourself in the donor’s shoes. If I’m the donor and you’re calling, and I know that all you want to do is set an appointment and I’m busy. I don’t care, I don’t want to talk to you. I don’t need one more appointment on my calendar. But if what I know is you really care about what I care about as a donor and you want to tell me something, but I know I’m real interested in, now you’re going to get my attention. Focus on the donor and what they’re interested in, and build that relationship and you’ll get much further along where you want to be.
You can listen to a replay of the entire Q&A session here.
Be sure to sign up for our next webinar with Tina Cincotti here! Jay and Tina will be discussing how to build donor loyalty.