This is the third in a four-part series on how to get the most out of call time. Learn here how to maximize your campaign fundraising with smart follow up strategies.
Effective follow up is likely the most important part of any call time program, as nearly everyone you reach out to will require more than one “touch” before you secure their donations. This is also where many campaigns and candidates drop the ball. That’s because you are doing something challenging: managing hundreds and thousands of individual relationships, where each person is at a different place in the process of converting them from a prospect to a donor.
Smart technology choices can provide a major assist here, with tools that automate follow-ups based on outcome, remind you when it’s time to get back in touch with someone, etc. But no matter how you’re managing your follow up, there are a couple of important things to keep in mind:
Don’t let people slip through the cracks
It can be really easy to lose track of a donor or a prospective donor, in all of your hours of call time. You left a message or the person you reached asked you to call back at a better time — then you moved on to the next call, the next sheet, the next day, week, month, and you still haven’t gotten back in touch. This is an all-too-common error, and it allows would-be supporters to slip away from your campaign. Here’s how you can help avoid it:
- Have a protocol for following up after each call time session. It’s incredibly useful to write out the typical steps and timelines you and/or your team will execute to follow-up after each likely call outcome. Having it all codified this way will help keep you disciplined, but also means you can get volunteers and others to jump in and help you out with follow up, and have a simple guide for how to do so.
- Use tools to automate the follow up flow. The more you can use software to automate the follow-up process, the less time you have to spend worrying about it, and the fewer dollars you’ll miss! These tools can also help you be data-driven about optimal times to follow up with people, so you don’t have to guess how long to wait between outreaches.
- Don’t just call. “Call time” is about individual outreach, but it doesn’t have to be limited to phone calls. In fact, people are more likely to be responsive when you approach them using multiple channels. So be sure to work in texts and emails — and be creative about trying other types of outreach, too!
- Remember to re-solicit. The people most likely to donate to your campaign are those that have already done so. It can feel unusual going back to someone and asking them for more money, but it is a highly successful fundraising strategy. This is another reason why being efficient and following up well matters: you want to give yourself enough time to gain some traction, and then come back to earlier donors with some campaign updates and another ask. (You can read more about making a strong resolicit, here.)
Closing on outstanding “pledges”
Very often your call time outreach will yield a commitment to give (a “pledge”) — ideally for a specific amount of money. This is great! But you can’t use it to show campaign traction or buy yard signs with it until it’s money in the bank. Here are a few tips for ensuring you close those pledges and convert them into donations:
- Move quickly. The longer it has been since the pledge was made, the less likely it will be fulfilled. You should send an immediate follow-up email or text to someone once they’ve pledged, with a link to donate and instructions on how to mail a check.
- Enlist support. Since you’ve already done the heavy lifting of getting the commitment, you can have a volunteer or staffer execute some of the follow up to collect an outstanding pledge.
- Stay in touch. Make sure you have call time set aside each week specifically dedicated to closing on pledges. Especially for those pledges that are getting older, and/or that your staff/volunteer haven’t had any luck with, don’t be shy about putting those people back on your call sheet, and reminding them how grateful you are, and asking that they try and fulfill the pledge soon — maybe even over the phone!