For our final Giving Tuesday tip of 2023 the headline above says it all. Answer the damn phone.
In this giving season when many nonprofits receive as much as 1/3 of their total annual revenue, it’s particularly important to have a real, live, knowledgeable and personable human promptly and cheerfully answering your organization’s phone.
Indeed, this is the time of year when donors are particularly likely to have questions. Like, “Do you take donations from a donor advised fund?”…”How do I give a gift of stock?”…”Can I gift in honor of a friend?
Important: Don’t put your phone line on voice mail come 5 p.m. Donors have questions during the evening too. One example, that forever will stick in both Kevin’s and my mind was the message received by a frustrated donor after, shall we say, a lengthy cocktail hour. “I’ve been trying to send you something through your damn website, but “F**k it! Too damn complicated, so I thought I’d just call and give you the money over the phone.”
Don’t underestimate the importance of real folks answering the phone.
Here’s a $200 million reminder.
As the Washington Post reports, the late Joan Kroc, widow of the founder of McDonalds left NPR $200 million in a bequest last month.
Interestingly, according to the Post, she had long intended to make a contribution to PBS, “whose news and cultural programs she watched often. Ms. Kroc had befriended Fred Rogers, the beloved Mister Rogers and had contributed to his foundation.
But PBS never received a contribution from Ms. Kroc, before or after her death. Instead, as she was making her final bequest plans her assistants got a recording when they called PBS while doing some due diligence. Time was growing short for Ms.Kroc, and she was impatient.
According to a close friend, “She very distinctly said: ‘The hell with it. Let’s move on,’” he said. “The lesson is, you should always answer your own phone.”
To put that advice in the vernacular of The Agitator, “Answer the damn phone.”
P.S. BONUS TIP: Not that you haven’t heard it from us at least 373 time, but once again, and right before Giving Tuesday:Don’t forget the High Cost of Undervaluing Gratitude.