January can be a hard month to make fundraising calls in. As the leader of a nonprofit, you are acutely aware of all the work that went into your organization’s fundraising last month. So it can feel “too soon” to get back to asking.

It’s not to soon.

All of your work last month was the focus of your attention. But it wasn’t necessarily the focus of your donor’s attention. If a “good” response rate for direct mail is 1% – and that is considered good in the industry – then 99 out of 100 people did not respond to your appeal.

So have confidence calling. Especially if you need to meet payroll or revenue projections for your board.

And if that still feels odd, keep on calling people on the phone to thank them. Feel free to call anyone who gave in the last 12 months. You might say something like:

“Hi [name]. This is [your name] from [your org]. I was calling to say
‘thank you.’ As we start a new year, it’s inspiring to see who’s supported [the mission/the impact]. Thank you.”

No, it’s not an appeal. It’s not even an attempt to get them to an event. Just sincere thanks. But the action of getting yourself on the phone will help you get out of the inertia of not calling.

I bet you’ll find yourself much more open to asking people who you expected to give last year but didn’t. Those folks you can definitely ask.

Sure, you could email thanks. But if your open rates are 20%, that’s only 1 in 5 people actually opening your email. (Not necessarily reading your email. Only doing something that triggers an “open” notification.) Are you ok with 80% of your people not realizing you appreciate them?

An earlier version of this was sent to Fundraising Kick email subscribers. To sign up for these weekly coaching prompts, go to: https://fundraisingcoach.com/fundraisingkick/

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