An anniversary phone call

Yesterday was the anniversary of my initiation into my college fraternity. I contacted some of my chapter brothers and reminisced, as we do every year. Phi Kappa Psi was the most formative positive influence in my life.

Later in the day I received a call from fraternity headquarters, as I do a few times a year, asking for a gift to the fraternity’s scholarship fund. With such a warm feeling already in my heart, making a larger gift felt better than it ever has. It still feels good today to know I made the pledge yesterday.

As someone who makes cold calls, I appreciate how much “warmer” the call will be received if it starts out with a connection like, “I just wanted to reach out on the anniversary of your initiation!”

What are the warm moments when we can reach out to our donors and make them feel like we remember them?

  • The anniversary of their first gift?
  • The anniversary of their discharge from your hospital?
  • The receipt of their 10th gift?

Ask them to remember what prompted that first gift, or how they’ve been recovering since their discharge. Let them know what advances you’ve made in the fight against their disease since then, and what projects you’re working on now. They will be in a much warmer frame of mind when you ask them if they’d be willing to consider another gift now to push the project further.

There are many advantages to making a soft phone call like this:

  • You can confirm their mailing address.
  • You can ask for, or confirm, an email address.
  • Asking their opinion on the projects they’d like to fund allows you to better personalize messages to them in the future.
  • A pleasant phone conversation, even one that doesn’t result in a gift, will increase the likelihood of a positive response by mail, email, or phone next time.
  • Their comments – their word choices – are something your copywriter needs to hear and understand. It will make future postal, email and phone scripts work better.

These are not the kind of calls to assign to the lowest bidder in an RFP. These are calls to be made by development staff, a few each day. It will keep you in better touch with your donors. It will gather useful data. And it will raise more money.

How are you using your data, and your phone, for best results?


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