One of the wonderful things about being a consultant is that we give very wise advice . . . and we don’t have to implement it. We fly away and leave it to the client to put it all together.
There is one of my recommendations that fits this category. I’ll explain how it all came about.
I used to tell my clients that at $1,000 level, a gift should be acknowledged with a phone call. I talked about this at all my Seminars. I felt this was important counsel.
After one of my sessions, a person came up to speak to me. She said she didn’t want to interrupt while I was talking, but told me that at St. Jude’s (Memphis) they call everybody who makes a $100 gift.
“Good grief,” I said. “That must be a lot of phone calls.”
“23,000 a year.”
I asked, “Is it worth it?”
Then I didn’t even give her an opportunity to respond. I knew it was indeed worth it. St. Jude’s raises about $900 million a year.
Several weeks later, I was at my regular consulting visit with Scripps Health in La Jolla, California. I told the staff that they should begin calling people at $100 level. There was a great deal of resistance. But finally the Vice President, David Mitchell, said they would try it.
Here’s what happened. On an acquisition mailing, a fellow who had never given before sends in $130. Jerry Buckley calls him on the phone to thank him.
The guy was so impressed, the next day he sends $1,000. Jerry Buckley calls him again. The guy was immensely impressed with the attention.
Four months later, he sends $40,000. At the end of the year he sends $50,000.
Eighteen months after that, Scripps holds a press conference. They announce from this acquisition donor a cash gift of $100 million.
The phone call started it all. It really pays off.
If you feel you’re too busy to make all those calls, what are you doing that’s more important than thanking your donors? If the staff is too busy, involve your volunteers. Ask the Board to participate. It’s a great job thanking donors.