I have worked at a bunch of NGOs that didn’t know this simple trick: Summer and Winter holiday seasons are an excellent time to snag a visit with hard-to-reach donors.
The time frame? December up to Christmas, late July and the month of August.
Christmas is a typical lost opportunity for visits. We’re in a mad rush to get the gifts in and are usually circling the mail carrier or our broker’s office in search of the year-end gifts we have been confirming throughout the fall. But wait – don’t mug that postal worker! Put down your spreadsheet, book some face-to-face visits and head out the door!
Don’t listen to your boss if she protests that people are “spending time with their families” or are “too busy to meet.” People are sometimes trying to AVOID the Christmas rush and lunatic relatives and are more than happy to make some time to talk about their philanthropy. Bonus points if you reach out to donors that do not celebrate Christmas and are probably waiting for the whole thing to just blow over.
Late summer’s great too. I had a key volunteer who used to fight me on this one, even though she herself was a community leader who stayed in town for most of June/July/August.
To prove her wrong, I grabbed my favourite door-opener and met with 10 new prospects between August 1st and Labour Day. Same story: prominent and busy major gift donor types are chained to their desks pretty much all the time. You don’t get to the top of your game by taking three months of vacation – just ask Warren Buffet. Only the super-elite, semi-retired ones are out of reach, golfing in Cabo. The rest are actually experiencing some catch-up time as their offices slow down to accommodate vacations.
Try it and see if it works for you too. Thanks for reading!
Siobhan : )