You call a donor or prospect. There’s no answer. 

What action can you take that will increase your chances of a response? 

Do you:

  1.  a) leave a voice message? or
  2.  b) try reaching them through text, WhatsApp or email? or
  3.  c) hang up and try again later? 

These simple tips can up your odds of receiving a positive response:

After you make your call and there is no answer, leave a short voicemail with your name and phone number. 

You may be thinking that leaving voicemail is of little benefit, and you’re not wrong at face value. But, it will kick off a powerful follow-up which is very worthwhile. 

After you leave this voicemail then immediately email, text, or WhatsApp the donor with the following words either in the subject line of the email or the first line of the text. 

    ‘Just left you a voicemail.’

It’s intriguing to the recipient to know who was calling and what you were calling about. This means they will more likely open this message.

Then in the body of the message briefly write why you were calling. 

    ‘Just left you a voicemail.’

    ‘I was calling for xyz reason.’

    ‘Could we make time to speak this week?’

This is still probably not enough to get a response.

In fact, it creates another problem which is that you’ve now left the ball in the donor’s court to get back to you. 

That’s not a good idea because it restricts what you can do next.

Social norms are to give the person time to respond. But waiting locks you out of any further action for at least a few days. And then what happens if they don’t respond again!?

So what you do next is the powerful idea I’d like to share. 

After writing the short email/text/WhatsApp ‘Just left you a voicemail. I was calling for xyz reason. Could we make a time to speak this week?’

You then also add:  

   ‘If it’s ok with you, I’ll call back at xyz day and time.’

By saying ‘If it’s ok with you’ you have kept the ball in your court. 

If they don’t want you to call them, they can reply saying that won’t work for them.

And if they don’t respond, then you just earned yourself permission to call back when you said you would.

So the benefits of using the Call—->Voicemail—->Text/Email/WhatsApp combo are that you give the donor:

  1.  a) the awareness that you called and
  2.  b) the clarity of knowing why. 

Most importantly, you’ve bought yourself permission to reach out again without having to wait for them to get back to you. 

B’hatzlacha raba in your calls to your prospects and donors.

Please feel free to contact me with your questions, feedback or chizuk! 


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Avraham Lewis is the fundraising coach for busy Jewish leaders who need a clear system for raising much more.

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