There is no time like the present…

…to do the things that have been relegated to your Procrastination List.  Over the last month and a half, that has included things such as filing my taxes, cleaning the refrigerator, and blogging.  I DID run a half marathon though!   (Which is why I didn’t do anything else.)

In every organization that I have worked for or volunteered with, I have seen donor stewardship get cast onto the “next week” or “next month” pile.  It’s easy to do.  There are no deadlines, unlike grants, which seem to be due Every. Single. Week.  There is also no immediate return on the investment of your time.  It can be a struggle to make relationship building a priority for your staff and board.  If your team does not already have a stewardship plan in place, deciding when and how to start can be overwhelming.

My advice is to start now.

Find yourself reading this post on a Tuesday afternoon?  Then Tuesday afternoon will be the time that you make donor appreciation calls.  Pull up a list of all the gifts you have received in the past 7 days, call them, thank them, and listen to what they have to say.

But I don’t have a phone number!  I almost always get lucky with  But if you can’t track one down, or your donor is a young whippersnapper without a land line, an email is also a nice point of contact.  Thanks to the marvels of the interwebs, it is very easy to find out where someone works and to then find their work email if you don’t have a personal.

Deep in conversation with my new best friend.

Deep in conversation with my new best friend.

I don’t like to talk on the phone!  You might be in the wrong line of work.  That being said, most folks won’t answer.  Of those who do, I guarantee you that you will brighten their day, which will in turn brighten yours.  If you don’t want to wing it, use the following script:

Hi, I’m calling for Nikki…  My name is “me” and I’m calling from “my organization.”  We received your gift last week, and I am just calling to say thank you, so much, for your support.  [pause, let them speak]  It’s a really exciting time at “my organization.”  Last month, [accomplishment], and next month [upcoming event]  I just want you to know that your gift does make a difference, and I want to thank you for making these things possible.  [pause, let them speak]  Thank you, have a wonderful afternoon!

Just remember…

1.  Say “thank you” three times.

2.  Pause, and give them time to respond.  They will!

3.  Listen, listen, listen.  Don’t try to cram in too much information.  You have already made the sale.  Consider this a fact finding mission.