31 Jan How nasty gremlins are ruining your donor calls
This blog post is inspired by a conversation I had with a dedicated and talented development associate. She is motivated to grow her Major Gifts file, build meaningful connections, and raise more money for her mission.
She wants to do donor calls. She really does.
But there are these nasty gremlins in her head that talk to her during the calls. They sabotage her good intentions, and distract her from the single most important task in her world – connecting with people in her community who selflessly support her organization.
Let’s look at what these gremlins say, and how you can shift your mindset to be more effective.
Gremlin talk #1: They’re probably busy. I don’t want to bother them.
How do you know they’re busy? You haven’t even called them yet! Do you think that they’ll let you know if they can’t talk right now? You bet. Trust your donor. Let them decide whether they’re busy or not.
Mindset shift: Some donors will be too busy to talk. But there are lots of donors who would just love to hear about how their donation has made a difference. Focus on the update part, and less on the “I’m supposed to call them” part. Mindset matters – embrace the idea of engaging them, not bothering them.
Gremlin talk #2: I don’t know what to say. I’ll sound stupid and it will be totally awkward.
Ok, so what can you do to be prepared? Would a script outline help? Grab a piece of paper right now:
- write out an opening line
- write down three interesting/upcoming things that your organization is doing that you can share
- write three open-ended questions that you can use to engage your donor
- write three things that you would love to know about your donor (how did you first come to be connected to organization X, can you share with me how you came to make your first gift?)
- write out your thank you sentence that will close out the call.
Mindset shift: Get in the right mindset so that you can BE successful with the calls. Be prepared. At the end of the day, it’s like riding a bicycle – you need to keep on trying! You’ll get the hang of it, I promise! Hint: start by calling your most loyal, most generous donors first. Get comfortable with the conversations, then move onto some of the newer, less familiar donors.
Gremlin talk #3: I’ll probably just get voicemail. What’s the point anyway.
This amazing individual spent the time to send you in a donation, and you’re thinking “why bother”? Good manners will tell you that the least you can do is say thank you.
Mindset shift: Come up with a game plan for the calls.
- Today I will not leave voicemails, but instead I will roll those calls onto another day and try at a different time.
- Today I WILL leave voicemails so that the people I reach will know that I am thinking about them, and I hope to bring a little sunshine into their day with this voicemail.
Gremlin talk # 4: I’m so busy. I just don’t have time to connect with donors.
There’s so many things wrong with this statement. How much time does it take to call 2 donors per day? Shift your mindset from having donor calls in the “chore” pile to the “opportunity and outreach” pile. Think about “what can I learn from reaching out to this donor.”
Mindset shift: Talking to a donor is a great opportunity to test out some of your key messages, check in to see how your fundraising materials are performing, and get a different perspective on your organization. Lucky you! This is invaluable. And all you have to do is find the time to talk to them. Your current donors are the cornerstone of your organization – today and for the future.
Your Turn – ready, set, go!
What do your gremlins say to you when you’re doing donor calls? Are you sabotaging your calls with negative self-talk? How can you position your mindset differently to be ready to really connect with donors? I’d love to hear how you create a positive mindset for yourself. Drop me a line at [email protected] to tell me how you grow your #fundraisingmojo at the office.
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