Setting Firm Follow-up Dates with Donors

Meeting with a donor? How can you close with a firm follow-up date? What to say, when to offer options, and why you want to make a promise.


Why Set Firm Follow-Up Dates with Donors

Hi, I’m Karen Eber Davis. Let’s talk about three things you can do at the end of meetings with donors that will give you a firm follow-up date. Why is this helpful? Because you don’t want to forget them, and you want to make sure you’re moving the relationship along in practical, effective ways.

The Direct Approach

So here’s the first thing. Ask them very simply, “Hey Miss Donor, what would you like to do next? And wait and listen. Sometimes they might say, “I want to find my checkbook. Let me go.”  That’s great, or they may say, “Call me in a week” or something like that. If they aren’t very clear, follow up with a question.

The Option Option

Or, you can start more presumptuously and say “This what would you um think about the following three things we might do next. Would you like me to call you next week? Should I email you on Friday? Or, can we go ahead and set up a meeting?” Making the assumption that they want to do something with you and help them to set a firm timeline. This “option option” gives you three things and makes them choose amongst options instead of deciding yes or no contact you.

The Promise

And here’s a final idea and that is making a promise to them. They’re vague. They’re not sure. They don’t want me putting a box. They’re uncomfortable with you putting a date on it. Tell them, “Hey, we’re all really busy, and I don’t want to lose contact with you, so I’m going to follow up with you at the end of the month, or I’m going to next quarter or whatever timeline you feel comfortable committing to. But make them a promise so that when the day comes, you can call or email or whatever you’re going to do to contact them next and say, “Hey, you’re on my calendar I was thinking of you, and we talked about getting together on this date.”

So there you have it, three ways to close donor meetings that leave you with the next step and basically, in some ways, you in charge of the process. I’m Karen Eber Davis, and you can find more on my website, which will appear here on the screen in just a second.


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Karen Eber Davis

Karen Eber Davis Consulting guides executive directors and CEOs to generate the resources, boards, and support they need to make remarkable progress on their missions. As the award-winning thought-leader, advisor, and founding principal of Karen Eber Davis Consulting, Karen helps nonprofit leaders get answers, generate revenue, and grow their mission. Davis is known for her innovation and practicality based on her work with or visits to over 1,000 nonprofit organizations and her experience leading board and team events. She is the author of 7 Nonprofit Income Streams and Let's Raise Nonprofit Millions Together.