Have you ever been trying to reach a donor and left a LOT of messages? I don’t mean “all in the same day,” that could be construed as stalking and no one wants that. I am referring to calling the same 603-115_d1donor/prospect over and over without getting a return call. Perhaps you might call twice a month for 3 months, and send a couple emails as well.

It is interesting how the same response can mean different things, depending on the circumstances. I have a few guy friends who are single. They tell me that if you call a woman three times and she does not respond, that is a clue that you need to move on. I suppose that that makes sense, some persistencepeople have trouble giving direct feedback and so ignoring calls seems like a good option.

On the other hand, when dealing with donors or prospects, you can’t use the same logic. There are a lot of reasons why a donor or prospect may not return your call, and it does not necessarily mean that they are not going to make a gift to your organization. Persistence is an important attribute in this type of work. I have had people fail to return my phone call for the following reasons that I know about:

• Being out of town
• Work schedules
• Planning to do it tomorrow, but tomorrow always turns into the next day
• Intending to ‘just send a check’ instead

When I finally get through to the donor/prospect, they often will say something like, “Please forgive me, I know you have been trying to reach me – I’ve been remiss in calling you back” and we have a Persistence-Exercise-Motivationproductive dialogue. Sometimes they give more money than I expected, and it is not uncommon for them to indicate that they “appreciate my persistence.”

So, when you are trying to make that 9th call to the donor/prospect, do not worry about being perceived as a stalker. In most cases they will appreciate your persistence and dedication to the mission.

Have a great week,


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5 Thoughts on “Persistence Wins in the End.

  1. Really great post. Easy to think we’re being bothersome when, in reality, the other person is just busy.

  2. Thanks Alex, have a great week!

  3. Great reminder —I work with a mentor in fundraising and she tells me, just keep on going, don’t give up. Until they tell you no or they’re not interested in the mission, you really just need to keep following up.

  4. Just keep going, don’t give up – this is what I’ve learned. If they don’t so no or they’re not interested, just keep following up. One of my mentors told me this from the beginning–now she’s bringing in multimillion dollar gifts. As a grant writer, I don’t give up but rather contact the organization, see what I can learn or see who they did fund and move forward to the next proposal, being more educated on my audience and what is attractive to them in a partnership.

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