Easy and Impactful - 8 Tips for Thank You Calls

1. Why should I care? It’s very simple. Donors who are called give more next time.

2. Who should make the call? Whoever will be prompt, warm and genuinely grateful. Some folks recommend that volunteers, especially board members, make these calls. I believe folks are just as happy to receive a timely call from a staff member, as long as the caller doesn’t sound like they’re robotically checking a task off their ‘to do’ list.

3. When should I call? It’s best to do so within a month of the gift. After that it is more likely to be perceived as an additional solicitation.

4. What makes a great thank you call? A smile. Seriously, with a smile on your face you’ll have a smile in your voice. People perceive this. This works for any conversation you have with donors.

5. What else should I talk about on the call? Nothing. The greatest impact of this call comes from its purity. Donors are pleasantly surprised that you’ve called simply to express gratitude and that you don’t want anything else from them.

6. What else can I talk about on the call? Whatever your donor offers to talk about. As a caller, part of your job is to listen for that offer. If they want to gush about how much they like your program, let them. And engage them a bit with open-ended questions about what they like most and/or what you could do to make an even greater impact.

7. Should I leave a voice mail message? Absolutely! It’s silly to waste the time/energy you took to make the call. Try again one more time because research shows retention is better when you speak with a live person. Be pragmatic though. If you know you won’t have the time to try again within a two-day timeframe, leave a message now. Keep it short. No one wants to come home to a long, rambling voice mail.

8. If I leave a message, should I leave my phone number? If you’re a staff member, yes. “If there’s ever anything I can help you with, here’s my direct number. Please don’t hesitate to call me any time. Thanks again!” If you’re a volunteer, it’s really up to you. If you’re comfortable taking an unexpected call at the office or standing in line, go for it. If not, then no.

Melanie Jones