In Fundraising Secret #41, I encouraged you to go rounding on your donors.
Since then, I’ve been reminded how much time this takes!
It’s not just the visit time, that time is wonderful. But it’s time to set up the visits and then, more importantly, the time to record the visit in a database and to write follow-up thank yous.
In a previous position, my job description included 50% travel. I was impressed that the organization “got” the importance of me making connections. When I shared this with a more seasoned fundraising veteran, they said it was a nice goal but would be impossible to hit. Slightly taken aback, I asked why. Very matter-of-factly, he said, “For every hour of a visit, it takes one hour of preparation and at least an hour of follow up.”
2 hours of adminstration for every 1 hour of visit! That math is more or less what I’ve experienced in over a decade of donor visits. Even if you’re more efficient, I bet you’d agree on the principle: the visit is always more than just the time spent face-to-face with a donor or prospect.
The preparation is important, knowing where you’ll meet and knowing why you’re making the visit. Don’t waste their time or yours. Have a specific objective.
The follow up is vital. Notes are refreshingly novel because so few send them. Even more importantly, record the visit in some form of database. This helps improve donor relations because you (and your organization) will remember what they told you. Face it, for most of us, the database will be there a lot longer than we will. Do your organization a favor and record the information.
Probably not the most uplifting fundraising secret of the series, but don’t neglect it. Change your schedule to fit your visiting focus. It could be as simple as blocking an hour or two every Monday or Friday to record the interactions you had.