Getting Donors to Call You Back

Getting donors to call you back - hand picking up the phone

We all hate the feeling when our phone call goes unanswered, especially when we are trying to achieve something important and get in front of powerful people. Excellent fundraising relies on relationships. But it’s nearly impossible to build meaningful relationships if you can’t get a donor’s attention.

Why is getting a return call so important? Because it’s impossible to build a connection or relationship with a donor prospect, foundation program officer, or corporate sponsorship director if you can't get them to call you back. No matter how persuasive, compelling, or brilliant you or your nonprofit organization’s mission may be, if you can’t connect with a philanthropy prospect, you can’t advance a relationship.

In today’s fundraising world, the phone is a primary communication link. But the widespread use of email and text messaging means many individuals have forgotten the importance of good phone skills. Many fundraising offices have even abandoned this type of skills training. They are more apt to think it’s not essential for the few times they may have to “connect” on the phone. How wrong they are!

To be truly ‎successful, fundraising executives must be able to communicate effectively by phone. If your telephone skills are lacking or you’re using the same old lines, scripts, and methods for connecting with philanthropy prospects, your organization is poised to fall behind. By enhancing your telephone effectiveness and strengthening your ability to leave effective voicemails or handle imposing gatekeepers, you can increase your chances of getting a call back.

Beyond communicating effectively on the phone, you can leverage multiple media approaches – emails, letters, text messages, and direct message features on social media--to get returned calls. These skills are the building blocks of every fundraising office, and being proficient at getting returned calls is essential at every level of a nonprofit organization.

Join me on December 19 for a live webinar, Getting Donors to Call You Back, where I’ll share my expertise and advice for differentiating yourself and communicating your organization’s credibility so you can secure and keep the attention of your most important supporters.


WILLIAM J. MOUNTCASTLE, MPA is an author, speaker and widely known healthcare philanthropy expert. He leads the healthcare philanthropy consulting firm Health Giving, a specialized healthcare fundraising consulting firm serving community-based health and healthcare nonprofits. He is author of the book Fundraising for Hospitals: Value-based Healthcare Philanthropy published by Charity Channel Press and author of The Campaign Mix: The 5 P’s of Successful Capital Campaigning, a chapter in the book Redefining Healthcare Philanthropy from the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy. He works with some of the world's most admired nonprofits across a wide range of health care missions. His clients have experienced significant and quantifiable success from his fundraising performance improvement solutions.