So, last night I fed my kids cheerios for dinner. Not my proudest parenting moment, but life is hectic and I needed to fill their little tummies quickly before they became cranky (trust me, those meltdowns are NOT what anyone wants to deal with, ever).
The craziness of two young boys, plus our new puppy, swirling around me reminded me of a fundraising reality that I've learned many times over.
Life is busy. Life can get in the way of best intentions.
While I'm trying to deal with the impending storm of my children, my mind migrates to all the emails sitting in my inbox waiting to be tackled. I feel bad for one moment, and then I have to shake my head and focus on my family, because that's where I should be focused right now.
Guess what - your donors also have lives that take focus and energy away from their best intentions of supporting you.
I see so many fundraisers, especially ones who wear many hats in their organizations, forget that just because someone doesn't reply right away, doesn't mean they're not interested. And often, people need polite and gentle reminders to help them do the things that they WANT and INTEND to do, but that get brushed off because life is busy.
This is even more true when so much is taking place online. Inboxes fill up and social media can be a blur. There is competition for attention.
How can you best help your supporters, who genuinely want to support you (trust me, people don't give away their money unless they want to), the help they need to cut through the clutter and take action?
1. Don't take it personally
I want you to brush off your ego and know that lack of follow up has nothing to do with you, so don't take it personally. I see so many people get stopped in their tracks because they are offended or are afraid to offend. This is not a time when it's personal - life is just hectic.
2. Follow up
Emails and texts get buried. Social media is controlled by sophisticated algorithms. Things get lost. Take the time to follow up, using multiple channels. Try phone, with a voice mail referring to an email. Try follow up a week or two later. Keep trying - polite persistence is everything.