Skip to main content

Seven tips for making better donor thank you calls

By April 7, 2010November 3rd, 2014Best of Withisms, Communication, Donor Engagement

Last week I shared some resources you can use in planning the most effective way to thank and engage your donors. As I promised, here are my recommendations for donor thank you calls.

First, it’s important that making these calls not just become a task that someone crosses off their “to do” list. The call has to be meaningful and authentic to really make an impact, whether it’s a voice to voice conversation or a voice mail message.

You can use this outline to help make the thank you calls made by your staff, board members, or community volunteers more meaningful.
1. Use the person’s name. I know, really we have to tell our callers that? Don’t they already know? You’d be surprised what happens when your callers do this at home, alone. I often suggest doing calls like these in a group at a board meeting, development committee meeting or at a special “thank-a-thon” event.

2. Identify the callers’ relationship to your organization: board member, former board, long-time volunteer.

3. Say something about the recent gift: size, frequency, etc. Have this caller KNOW something REAL about the donor such as when they started giving, how long they’ve given.

4. Keep voice mail messages warm and short.

5. If it’s a voice to voice call, indicate early in the call that this is a call to say thank you. Nothing more.

6. If there is a willingness to talk for a moment have the caller tell something about a real person who has received services and how their life is different or better because of the work your organization does. One or two sentences is all.

7. OR if there is a willingness to talk for a moment ask a question about why the donor gave, or why they started giving? An open-ended question that allows the caller to learn something new about this donor is invaluable.


This post was included in Withism’s from Lori: Boldness, Clarity & Wisdom for Fundraising Professionals Making a Difference (Volume 1), now available in paperback, on Kindle, and Nook.

Leave a Reply