As the head of a nonprofit organization, you know how difficult it is to get an appointment with a donor. But you got it! You met with him, made a nice impression, explained what you would do with his money and convinced him that it is a worthwhile cause. He seemed interested and convinced… and then showed you the door.
Don’t lose this opportunity by failing to follow up in the proper way. A well-executed follow-up strategy can get you the donation you are anticipating. Chances are this man is busy – don’t send him a lengthy email that he will glance over and then promptly forget. Don’t send him a megilla and don’t list every great thing that your organization has ever done. Don’t thank him effusively for your meeting and then hope for the donation that will not materialize. And if you wait any longer than 3 days to reach out – don’t bother sending anything at all!
Enough with the don’ts – now let’s take a look at what you should do.
Your follow-up email must be very clean and professional. The optimal length is about 4-5 lines; keep it short so that there is a chance it will actually be read.
The email should be structured in a similar way to the Shemona Esrei tefilla:
Show appreciation to him in a personal way.
“Thanks very much for taking the time to meet and reaffirming your dedication to our work. Thanks again for the new computer you donated last year which has revolutionized our productivity and efficiency.”
Include a clear request similar to one that you made in your meeting, mentioning when it was that you met. Keep this part clear and short, as he has already heard you out at the meeting. Don’t bore him with the details again.
“As we discussed at our Monday morning meeting, please help us set up a new branch of our organization on the West Coast. You can donate via….”
End the email with an appreciation for the time and attention you received. You can also take this opportunity to thank him for anything else he has done for the community or Klal Yisrael.
“Thank you for the time you gave in your busy schedule to meet with me. We greatly appreciate all that you do for our organization.”
To close your follow-up, include a very clear action plan going forward. Avoid ambiguous statements like “Please get back to us.” An effective closing line would look something like:
“Looking forward to being in touch at the beginning of next week.” Or, “I will give you a call next week to follow up with you.”
Now you can get back to him once that date has passed and you won’t feel like a nudge.
Estie Rand is an internationally acclaimed lecturer and business consultant specializing in helping small business owners and nonprofits bring in more money with less headache. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org for all your business and nonprofit related questions in areas of marketing, profitability, growth strategies and more.