Is 'calling-itus' hurting your development program?

Is 'calling-itus' hurting your development program?

July 17, 2009 by jga_admin

by Kris Kindelsperger

In a recent campaign evaluation we found that the vast majority of the respondents made their gift to the campaign as a result of a personal solicitation by a staff member or volunteer, as opposed to responding to a letter, group appeal, or phone call. Is this finding in any way surprising? No, clearly not.

What is surprising is how many nonprofits, in our experience, never quite get around to making large numbers of personal calls on their best donors.

The annual fund mailing? Yep, we sent three mailings to everyone on our data base. The annual gala dinner? Yep we had a great turnout. The phonathon? Yep, we called everyone we had number for.

Did we hit our fundraising goal for this year? Well, not exactly. Did we make personal cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship calls on every one of our top donors? Well, not exactly, we were pretty busy getting the mailings out, setting up the phonathon and preparing for the gala. We just didn’t have time to get to everyone, but next year will be different.

Is this really a matter of time or is it a dreaded outbreak of “calling-itus?”

Calling- itus, or the fear of personal solicitation, is a condition that afflicts far too many organizations. It affects the first year annual fund director as well as the 30 year veteran. It affects the planned giving director as well as the director of development. It affects small organizations and large ones. It even affects MAJOR GIFT OFFICERS whose primary job it is to call on prospects.

No form of solicitation has been proven more effective than sustained personal relationship building. Yet most of us find a myriad of excuses for why we don’t have time to get out of the office and go see people. Is calling-itus a problem in your shop?