The Donor Is Always Right — Right?
Situation THREE: A long-time donor writes in and wants to speak with someone about bequests. The note you received from the person who took the call says the donor is sick, single and can’t live forever. So you call, and the first words you hear are, “I didn’t ask for that!”
But you’re looking right at the note! What to do?
Apologize for any inconvenience for YOUR misunderstanding. Don’t refer to the note again. Ask if there’s anything you can do for her while you’re on the phone; you’d be surprised at how quickly the conversation can turn around. Thank the donor for her continued support.
Situation FOUR: In your organization, the president calls major donors to thank them for recent gifts. One donor the president calls is angry about the thank-you call: “I told you never to call — about anything.”
Now your president is annoyed with you. What to do?
Check the donor’s file and the coding (‘fess up to any error on your part — if there is one.) If the donor is not coded properly, do so immediately and put notes in the donor’s file about your president’s conversation. Tell your president exactly what yo’ve done to insure that this does not happen again. Double check your policy and make sure that donors marked “do not call” are NOT called.
Situations FIVE and SIX: The apparent hang-up! I recently had two of these for two different reasons. First: a donor called seeking information about a Charitable Gift Annuity. So, I returned the call. I identified myself and my organization, and the donor said: “I don’t want any.” What to do?
I thought for a minute and decided to call back, making sure I blurted out all the information in one swift sentence. The donor thought for a second and then said, “Did you just call me?” Once I told her I had, we both laughed and talked about the annuity. The donor was certainly right — she didn’t “want anything” from the telemarketer she thought I was, but she certainly wanted information from me.