If your organization has a real relaxed approach to following up on donor pledges, what you’ll likely see is your donors backs as they walk away from your agency.
Put yourself in the shoes of a pledging donor. Do you think that their decision was one that came easily? More than likely their pledge was strongly considered and pondered for some time before making the actual commitment. When they made the pledge, they probably had a good idea of its importance to your agency’s goals.
Yet, many organizations tend to be super relaxed about the follow up on a donated pledge.
The lack of follow up usually comes from fears around the possibility that you would be bothering or offending your donor in some way. The larger the gift, the stronger the fear!
Your Fears Are Unfounded!
Your fear of contacting pledged donors is unfounded, and likely doing more harm to your organization than you think. Your lack of communication around a pledged donor gift sends the wrong signals:
1.) Their gift is not important.
2.) Your donor isn’t important.
I know this isn’t what you intend your donor to feel, and when you think about it, you know I’m right. Your lack of communication conveys nothing to your donor about how meaningful her gift is to you. It says nothing about how important it is for your mission and your impact on those you serve. These are two important things you and your donor have in common; you want to create impact together and solve problems!
If a pledge is made with no follow up, the longer it lingers the more likely the donor will question whether or not you actually need this gift or not. (Yikes!)
If you don’t communicate about a donated pledge, you send a message that you’re just fine without it. (Click to tweet)
Lack of communication around a pledged donation sends a message that you don’t have your act together! (Click to tweet)
This is how you can make a donor pledge transaction a win/win for both your agency and your donor:
- Always have a deadline. Whether it’s your year end, or the end of a program, make a clear deadline that is understood by both parties.
- Communicate with your pledged donors regularly. Once when the pledge is made, another time about halfway to the deadline, and a third time as the deadline is just a few weeks away.
- Let them know how important their gift is to your organization. Send the message that not only does the gift matter, it is needed and appreciated!
- Make sure to include language that you understand if circumstances change and they can’t fulfill the pledge by the agreed upon deadline.
Your donor promised a gift. Make sure you’re communicating about the gift all along the way, from first installment to final donation. It’s a part of your business you can’t afford to ignore or let slide. And, it’s a relationship with a very important person to your organization.
Nurture it, don’t ignore it!
Photo by Hai Phung on Unsplash