The Planned Giving Blogger

The art and science of planned giving.

Using the phone to good effect – Tip #1

with 2 comments

I really don’t mean to offend anyone but it never ceases to amaze me when strategies that seem like no-brainers to me, aren’t equally obvious to others.  I’m referring here to the idea that everyone in your legacy society should be called at least once a year.  No excuses!  I don’t care if your legacy society is 20, 200 or 2,000.  Each and every one of those donors deserves an annual call.

I’ve already talked about the fact that bequests are revocable and if my example is any indication (and all the evidence supports it), appropriate stewardship can result in a bequest many times greater than your average.  And don’t forget the conventional wisdom:  “If appropriately stewarded, many legacy society donors will make a second planned gift within two years.”

Legacy society donors are major donors-in-waiting so it’s a good use of your time to make sure that throughout the year, each of them is touched at least once in a personal way.   A message left on a machine is a reasonable “Plan B” if you can’t actually speak with the donor.  I find that lots of older donors don’t have machines and repeated attempts to reach them by phone never results in a connection.  In that case, a handwritten note that starts “I’ve tried several times to reach you by phone . . .” works very well.

No need to have a long phone call, either.  Just a “thank you” and a “how are you doing?” suffice.  Don’t forget that for many of the oldest legacy society donors, the phone rarely rings, so your call will be welcome.


P.S.  If you’re among the fortunate organizations that have too many legacy society members to make the calls in-house, there are several firms in the marketplace that specialize in high touch calling that can make the calls for you.  Don’t be afraid to use them.  It’s not telemarketing in the sense that we typically think of.  It’s a warm, personal touch from a highly trained callerjust what you’d have if you made the call yourself.

P.P.S.  The voting on the test described in yesterday’s post is still open.  If you haven’t cast your vote, please do so.  Results next week!


Written by Phyllis Freedman

May 14, 2009 at 12:32 am

2 Responses

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  1. I love this idea of calling legacy society members. I think too that if there are too many calls for one person to make that enlisting board members is a good idea.

    Lorri Greif

    May 14, 2009 at 4:17 am

  2. In my experiance two of the largest obsticals in making these phone calls happen are:

    1. Time (which I think you explained why we need to get over this hurdle already)

    2. Incorrect use of our donor databases. If you take the time up front to setup your moves management and cultivation strategies within your database (or have your DBA do it), then we greatly reduce issue #1, Time.

    If you have a database like Raiser’s Edge you can easily setup reminders to make these calls, have them spread out through the year AND even have them pop up on your staff’s calendars as well.

    With some new technology, you can even have these reminders sent via email or RSS feed to your Board Members. (Stop laughing! Some board members will make these calls.)

    If you do not have your actions, reminders, and moves management fully implimented, now might be the time to do that. Get a meeting with your DBA, Consultant, or Database Provider to talk through these issues.

    It will save you TIME!


    May 14, 2009 at 12:47 pm

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