a 7-minute income solution

Want to know one thing you can do to improve your ministry or charity’s income–no matter what your role–from CEO to data entry person? Without fail, talk to a donor every day.

Call them. Yeah, just call them. I know this isn’t as cool as social media or as high tech as an email blast, but the reason it is powerful is everyone else is hooked on that stuff.

A call will take about 7 minutes of your time: 3 minutes to get up your courage to do the dialing and 4 minutes for the call. You’ve got 7 minutes to help your organization, don’t you?

When they answer the phone they may think you’re trying to sell them something, but once you get past them thinking you’re selling them vinyl siding, you’ll both have a great time.

So…what to say? How about this? Try saying “Thanks.” That’s enough. Maybe you’ll want to put a little more into than that, but “thanks” is pretty powerful.

You could also go way out on a limb and ask them how they are. Ask them how they became a donor or why do they give to you. If it’s appropriate, ask if you can pray for them. You’ll learn amazing things about the lives of the people who make all you do possible. And maybe learn something about your donors that will help you connect with them.

What else to talk about? Tell them you noticed that they had been a donor since 1983 (or whenever). Do a quick calculation for them–something like: Did you know that you’ve helped over 225 kids in the time you’ve been a partner with us. Or because of your generous gift in the past 11 years, you’ve fed over 15,000 people! Keep it about people, not things.

Don’t stay on the phone long and don’t make it a big deal.

And don’t forget to capture everything you learned about them in your donor management software so that next time you talk to them, you’ll “remember” what you’d talked about before.

So…who should you call? Well, don’t call the smallest donors first. And don’t call the biggest donors. If you can, call donors who’ve been consistent donors for a reasonable period of time, maybe 3 years.

Be bold and develop a plan. Decide to call all the donors who have given your organization $100 a year for the past three years, or something like that.

Or here’s an idea, if you have access to the data (and it’s there somewhere if you can get it out) call donors on the anniversary of their first gift. Then the call goes something like, “I was noticing in our files that on this date in 1992 you gave us your first gift. Today’s our anniversary! Thanks so much for all you’ve done for us. We couldn’t do what we do without you.” They’ll feel great, and you will too. Plus who doesn’t like an anniversary?

If you commit to talking to a donor every day, you’ll be amazed at what you’ll learn about your donors and they’ll love you more. And steadily your income will improve.

How about you, what’s been your experience when you just thank your donors?


Steve Thomas
Partner, Oneicity

Steve Thomas

Steve Thomas

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