Just Saying

There is not much more infuriating than having someone tell you that they will do something and then not do it.  Think your staff, your kids…the members of your board, especially when it comes to fundraising activities. I now spend a lot of time when I’m talking with boards reminding them that if they say they will do something, they must do it.  Or own up, be a grown-up, and say, “I’m not doing that.”

At first, I worried about giving anyone permission not to fundraise.  But then reality set in.  Better to know than to think that Joe is going to call Don only to find out—long after the optimal moment to follow up on that appeal, event, meeting—that Joe just didn’t pick up the phone.

Of course, it helps to get help if you provide the tools needed.  So instead of asking Joe to call Don, get down and dirty and walk through what you want Joe to do, say, accomplish.

So first, what—exactly—do you want Joe to do?

  • Make an appointment
  • Thank someone
  • Follow up (via phone, in person, email?) from an appeal
  • Follow up (via phone, in person email?) from an event
  • Ask for gift
  • Ask for something else

What should he say?

  • “Hi Don, I’m calling to arrange a lunch for you, me and the Executive Director/Development Director of XYZ organization.”
  •  I’m calling to thank you for…..
  •  I’m calling because we recently sent out our annual appeal and haven’t heard back from you
  •  It was great seeing you at the event!  Could we get together next week and talk a bit about the organization and how I might get you more involved?

What he should accomplish seems clear, but, sometimes we need to remind our volunteers that the real accomplish is doing what he said he would and then reporting back to us, so we know what, indeed, was accomplished and what—if anything—we need to do to follow up!


Janet Levine works with nonprofits, helping them to increase fundraising capacity and energize boards.  Learn how she can help you and your organization at http://janetlevineconsulting.com.  While there, if you don’t already get the monthly newsletter, sign up!