You’ve sent an email to a donor. He didn’t respond. Now what?

One of the best places to drop the ball with our fundraising efforts is the unclarity of waiting for a response.

Most people, including productivity guru David Allen, in his best seller, Getting Things Done, adopt this mindset of grouping tasks that you are ‘waiting’ for a response to.

Waiting means, you did your part. You sent an email. Or you made a call. Now the other side needs to respond. Your job is to wait.

Perhaps that was true a decade ago.

But, I’ve found coaching Jewish leaders, that ‘waiting’ for a response if no longer an option.

Today a ‘waiting’ mindset will be detrimental to your successful fundraising and productive work flow.

Alongside this, many people wrongly intuit a non-response to their email, call or text. They imagine negative scenarios for the lack of response. This de-energizes them and freezes them from moving forward.  

There is a new mindset you should adopt.

It is the Assume you WON’T get a response mindsetAt least not from your first efforts. 

Having this mindset becomes a game changer, because it stops you from getting caught in the ‘waiting game.’

There is a simple rule I’ve created, to use together with this new mindset.

It’s called the IF NOT, Then WHAT™ Rule. It will supercharge your productivity.

It works like this. Say you email a donor to meet. Or you send a WhatsApp. Or you call and leave a message. (Who still does that?) 

Instead of ‘waiting’ for (and expecting) a response, we shift our mindset to assume that a response will NOT come. 

Now what? 

Now kicks in the IF NOT, Then WHAT™ Rule. As soon as you send the email, ask yourself…

– ‘IF NOT’ – if he does not respond.

– ‘Then WHAT?’ – Then what will I do next? And when will I do it?

E.g., we send an email. We assume the mindset of they won’t respond. Then immediately we set a ‘next follow-up action step’ with a next-step date. E.g., email Joe to follow-up on meeting request. Oct 10th.

On that date, you could forward the email from three days before, with a short note, “Joe, not sure if you saw this?” (And you will apply the IF NOT, Then WHAT™ Rule to this action also!)

Try it out. I’ve seen how it’s literally a game changer in stopping the inertia that is so much a part of our day-to-day fundraising and productivity.


Avraham Lewis guides Jewish leaders, running mosdos Torah, to change their current reality and to ‘up’ their fundraising game and personal productivity – using effective mindsets, strategies and techniques, which have a track record of raising more funds.

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