How Can You Capture Donor Relationship-Building Information?

How can you keep your best work with donors from going down the drain? This video introduces the NET technique to capture donor relationship-building information and to improve your donor stewardship.

Transcript from How to Keep Your Best Work From Going Down the Drain

It happens to the best of us. We let our best work go down the drain. What we need is something that helps us filter the things we want to keep from our most important events before we rush on to the next thing.


I had a client who brought me this problem. She was working with donors, and she has so many back-to-back meetings, and we discussed what she could do. We helped her to create basically a drain catcher. What is this called? But basically, a net and the way we did that is we asked, and we decided that she would do before she got on the road, she climbed in her car, put her car on and turn on her phone, and she would record a message of what happened in that meeting. And that’s what I want to encourage you to do is to spend five minutes to send yourself an iMessage or a voicemail, whatever you need to do. If you have an assistant, even better yet, let that person hear that and capture it and get in the system. Because when you come out of a meeting, at that moment, is what you’re best about planning the next meeting.


Three things to capture. I call it NET, and N is what’s happening next. What next step did you establish with that person? “Hey, next time, I’ll call you next week. I’ll do this.” Get that down right away, so you know what it is, and it gets on your calendar. That’s the end e is events. Are they going on a trip to Europe? Did they tell you the name of their puppy is? What have they shared with you or in their lives? That are things that you want to remember to get into your database, so you remember to mention them again or be aware of them. The child is graduating from college in May, and they mention it in December. What’s a great time to say how that graduation, you know I’m so excited. Tell me how to event went. So you have these catch-up things that you want to get into their database about who they are, that you want to remember, that you’re not going to remember the next day, and then finally is T NET t for talk how can you not let your best work go down the drain is you write down and think at that when you come out of that meeting what it is that you’ll start the next conversation on? That’s work that you’ll have to do later on, and it’s much harder when you can’t quite remember what the conversation was and you’ve had 33 conversations since. Then by capturing right away things that happen in doing it with a voice mail or a text message or something very quick before you start your car before you drive and go forward, you will be able to keep your best work from going down the drain, and that will make a massive improvement on your relationship building.

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Karen Eber Davis

Before founding her firm, Karen Eber Davis developed the Sarasota County Community Development Block Grant Program. Under her leadership, this infant program received the National Association of Counties National Affordable Housing Award for the Down Payment Assistance Program. To date, the program helped over 1,800 families realize their dreams of homeownership. She also worked with the City of Ft. Lauderdale and the Florida Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, where she developed the division’s first audit program. In an earlier position at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Tampa, she organized senior, youth, and children groups plus family activities. Her youth staffing work with the Florida Synod of the Lutheran Church in America supported youth ministries in 120 congregations in Florida.