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The One Call We All Want To Receive

Lori Halley 19 September 2014 0 comments

We’re all tired of telemarketers calling about home improvements at meal time. Now they’re calling our cell phones too. But there is one call we all love to receive – a thank you call!

Thank You Calls Can Make All The Difference

We’re taught from an early age the importance of saying thank you. We send thank-you notes when we receive gifts or to recognize a friend or relative’s help. But in the last day or so I’ve heard a number of examples of how a thank you call can make a powerful impact on donors and members.

In a recent post – The Dos and Don'ts of Donor 'Thank You' Calls – Pamela Grow suggested:

...it isn’t just the feel-good aspect of donor thank you calls that make them an important addition to your arsenal of tools. A study by the UK firm Pell & Bales found that thank you calls reduced donor attrition by a third. In his new book, Retention Fundraising: The New Art and Science of Keeping Your Donors for Life, Roger Craver notes, “Overall, donors who have been phoned for one reason or another (it doesn’t seem to matter) show retention rates 15 percent higher than those who haven’t been contacted.”

My colleague, Tammy Zonker, says “The most recent Penelope Burk survey (sneak peak) indicates 91% of respondents said thank you calls are their #1 preferred method of gift recognition.”

A Key To Donor Retention

So it appears a thank you call can make a huge difference when it comes to donor retention. And if, like many non-profits, your organization is struggling to keep donors active, perhaps it’s time to revisit your thank you calling strategy.  As Pamela Grow notes, “the daily practice of thank you calls goes a long way towards instilling an organizational attitude of gratitude that’s downright contagious.” But if your small non-profit is time and resource-strapped, perhaps you should consider a regular “thank-a-thon” where your board members and other volunteers sit down and make thank you calls to the most recent donors.

As Claire Axelrad suggests, your thank you call should “ wow folks and impress upon them not just how grateful you are but how efficient and on top of things you are.”

Claire reminds us that “the more you build trust, the more you’ll build a relationship. Then these donors will be more likely to stay with you, and you won’t simply be churning donors in and out keeping a static mailing list.”

What if you don’t have their phone number?

But how can you make the call if you don’t have a donor’s phone number? Pamela Grow offers an answer: “from do-gooder Shanon Doolittle, who wrote: “Does it surprise you that I actually have a thank you letter for that specific segment of donors? The opening line is...wait for it...  "You are all kinds of amazing. And I wish I could have told you that over the phone, but I don’t have your number. (Darn.)" It goes on to ask the donor to share their number with me by email or phone. Works like a charm!”

Members want to hear thank you too

But it’s not just donors who welcome a thank you call. In a recent interview, Nicole Walters, a program manager at the San Diego Venture Group, told us that even though her organization sends out an email to welcome new members, she also makes a phone call to personally thank and welcome every new member that joins her non-profit.

After all, joining an association or supporting a non-profit is a personal commitment. So hearing a personal, welcoming thank you may make the difference between getting involved and attending an upcoming meeting, or visiting a non-profit’s website to offer additional support.

Help with your thank you calls

If you want some ideas and insight to start making thank you calls or to improve your current process, here are some additional blog posts and resources:

Does your non-profit or association make thank you calls? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Image source:  Skywriter writing the word thanks - courtesy of BigStockPhoto.com

Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

Posted by Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

Published Friday, 19 September 2014 at 8:30 AM
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