The Power of Follow Up: The One Question Every Major Gift Fundraiser Should Ask

I didn’t know I should be asking this one question when talking to donors: “When would be a good time for me to follow up?”

For some of you that were trained by some major gift legend that was successful and had the time to teach you, this might be super obvious!

But for me, the one major gift person at an organization, I had no idea to ask it.

I would make an ask during a visit and then we would leave.

This began the awkward, unclear process of what would happen next.

I’d just wait… and wait… and wait some more until a check arrived in the mail or at some point I’d muster up the courage to call.

Many times I would delay following up because the check might already be in the mail and then it might be awkward.

At some point, I realized I should just ask the donor when I should follow up before I left the visit.

It changed everything!

Now the donor would tell me when I should follow up.

It was no longer awkward because I was doing what THEY TOLD ME THEY WANTED!

Don’t ask, “Would it be alright if I follow up in a week?”

People are going to take the path of least resistance and say “yes” without thinking about it.

Ask them “When would be a good time for me to follow up?”

Now they have to actually think about it and let you know a time that is realistic.

Every time you ask for a gift, ask when you should follow up.

Lack of clarity is where major gift conversations go to die.

Ask when to follow-up!


Kevin Fitzpatrick is the owner of One Visit Away, a consulting business helping leaders of nonprofits schedule more and better visits with their benefactors.  Kevin’s goal is to help fundraising professionals constantly seek to deepen their relationships with their benefactors.  After all, you’re just One Visit Away from growing your mission and your impact.  


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