Sunday, March 11, 2012

Absence makes the heart grow fonder

Much like my absence from this blog for the past month, I find that in all things, this is true. Ask anyone who runs a phone program day in and night out and they can tell you with great detail how often and well letting a list rest does good things for the productivity of that list.

In that same vein, leaving your donors alone for portions of the year is a good thing, in fact maybe necessary. Bear in mind that I don't mean abandon them, just give them a break from you as a solicitor.

Keep in mind that simply because you are "resting" them, doesn't mean the institution is. In an ideal world you are aware of everything going out to them and even if you don't control it have the ability to influence messaging. In reality, if you are lucky, you are aware of 90% or so of the messaging. The other 10% comes from all sorts of places but at the heart of it, is institutional material and as such, looks to your donors an awful lot like you!

So what should we say to them? "Thank you" is the most obvious and as grandma always said, never comes off badly. "What can we do for you" may be a close second assuming that your not already asking them that through 10 other offices (admissions, institutional research, alumni relations and career services to name a few of the likely ones.) How about "how are you doing" or maybe "tell us about you today."

Social media can do this very cheaply but does have the downside of being obvious if your inquiry falls on deaf ears. Email is also a good value provided you temper your expectations based upon who actually reads your messages. Calls from the office can go over well to mid level donors who often don't get pursued too strongly on a personal level and new donors often like that approach as well too. A simple hand signed and PS'd letter also draws positive feedback and you or a student can do those easily enough.

No matter which way you choose to go, a short break in the middle of the year can lead to additional results down the line while also setting aside a little extra budget for that year.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home