What’s the best way to get a donor visit? How do you actually start the process?
I actually start with an email. When I started my career the advice was not to do this. We used the traditional snail mail letter instead. The thought was that wasn’t very personal and therefore it wasn’t the best way to start a donor conversation. But now the world has changed everybody spends most of their day in their email inbox. That makes it a great way to approach them. It’s somewhere where they’re going to see your invitation right away.
So, I start with an email. But it’s not any old email, it’s an optimized email template. It is an email that is designed to get a response, it is personalized, it is time tested and it’s works great for me. It works great because it addresses some donor fears right in the email. The first fear is time … they think a meeting will take all day. So, I say right in my email that it will just be a brief 20 minute update meeting.
Their other major fear is that I am going to ask the for money. Specifically, for a donation amount that they are uncomfortable with. So, if I’m not planning to make an ask I will say so. I’ll say you that “I just want to come out and give you an update and get some feedback — I will not be asking you to renew your support at this time.”
Watch the video above for a live screen share of me using my optimized template to request a donor visit.
When using this optimized visit request email, I receive about a 60% response rate. 60% of people will respond. They don’t all say “yes” but we begin the conversation. For the 40% that don’t respond, I pick up the phone and give them a call. However, these calls are much easier than cold calls because I can reference the email that I sent (which they didn’t reply to). On that call I will basically restate what was in the email and try to setup a meeting time right then and there.
So don’t reinvent the wheel. Develop an optimized template of your own. You can download mine and use it as a starting point. Send out some visit requests. Get out from behind your desk and meet your donors. That is the secret to transformational fundraising growth for your nonprofit organization.