Boards: The Secret Superheroes of Fundraising
People are usually flattered when someone approaches them just to ask for advice. You would be surprised at the number of doors it can open.
5. Make thank-you calls to donors. One of the most powerful actions a board member can take is to phone to thank a donor soon after his or her gift is received. When board members call to thank donors, the donors receive a very powerful message. They think: "This organization appreciates me," "I am a real person to this organization, not just a checkbook," "This organization is well-run."
Donors who receive phone calls from board members invariably tend to give larger gifts the next time and stay on board as donors longer. Some studies have shown that donors who were called by board members within 24 hours of making gifts later made subsequent gifts that were 39 percent higher than donors who did not receive calls.
This means that board members can directly improve your organization's bottom line without having to solicit.
Try this test, and track your results. You'll be amazed:
- The next time you send an appeal, employ your standard thank-you processes — letters, personal notes, etc. But select a random group of donors for a special thank-you treatment.
- Organize your board members to make thank-you phone calls to these donors within 24 hours of the gifts being received.
- Have your board member talk to a real person if at all possible. After several tries, he or she can just leave a message that simply thanks the donor.
- The phone calls are not about asking for another gift. They are for stewardship only. Adventurous board members can ask donors why they chose to make their gifts. If they've been briefed on the donors' stories and can draw on that in their conversations, the donors will be even more pleased and honored.
- A few months later, send another solicitation to all your donors — both the ones who received the extra thank-you phone call and those who just received your regular thank-yous. And when repeat gifts come in, compare the results of both groups.
You'll find, when all other things are equal, that the donors who received prompt, personal thank-yous from board members within 24 hours of the gifts being received will give up to 39 percent more than the other group.