Happy New Year… now what’s your fundraising plan?

The Importance of Following-Up with People

I want you to accomplish everything that God wants you to do. Whether you are a religious, a priest, a layman, or discerning your vocation, whatever God is calling you to do (even if it seems impossible), I want to help you move forward.

What often happens when we walk in faith, we look to others for support. The assistance we want usually comes in the form of financial donations. Meaning, we have to start asking for donations.

As a result, fundraising adds another level of difficulty to the already challenging journey, wouldn’t you agree?

I want to offer you advice on one of the best ways to get people to assist you financially. Listen to me very carefully because I guarantee you will have significantly better results. You will also stress a whole lot less, isn’t that what we all want? We want to focus more on the mission and stress less about the resources.

The Best Advice for This Year – Follow-Up with People

My advice is to focus significant amounts of your attention on the follow-up.

A follow-up means taking the time to build a meaningful relationship with someone after you’ve asked them for support. You do so by keeping people informed of how you are making a difference, even if they’ve not yet agreed to give financially.

Why do I encourage you to follow-up with people?

Too often, when asking for donations, Catholics forget about keeping in touch with people. They instead ask for money, then get disappointed when the response is negative or non-existent. Then they forget about the person entirely. The relationship disappears even before it can be started.

This common way of fundraising is detrimental to you and your cause. Let me dig deeper and explain why.

I am blessed through my work at CatholicFundraiser.net to work with hundreds of Catholics who are seeking funds. Because of this oversight, I’m able to see the trends and mistakes that Catholics are making over and over again. One of the most significant missed opportunities I frequently see is this inability to follow-up with potential donors.

Brice Sokolowski Catholic Fundraiser

Two Case Studies – One Failure and One Success

Let me share with you two examples to explain why following up with people is so important and how it can transform your fundraising quicker than you can imagine.

Case Study #1 – This is What You Should Not Do

The first example comes from a Catholic family who is passionate about reviving the use of sacred music in the liturgy. While working with them, I discovered they had a fantastic line-up of potential donors. Seriously, some of the people they had met over the course of two months were unbelievable. These were well-known people in the Catholic Church and their community. They had shown interest in the family’s work; however, they weren’t responding to the family’s donation requests.

I recommended that the family keep in touch over the course of three months and try again.

The family, unfortunately, didn’t take my advice. They didn’t see the long-term benefits of building relationships. Instead of seeing each person as a future donor – either in three months, six months, or even next year – the family could only see them as people who would never donate. This is a false assumption.

As a result, the family forgot about these relationships and looked elsewhere. Three months later, they put her project on hold due to a lack of funding, confidence, and direction.

To learn more about what to say to people, and build your confidence in following-up, read this article: How to Find the Right Words When Fundraising.

Case Study #2 – This is What You Should Do

The second example comes from one of the largest Catholic organizations whose mission is to keep Catholics informed about the teachings of the Church. I worked with the development office to build a campaign that would immediately identify people interested in financially giving and focus 100% of our time on following up with each one individually.

We launched the campaign in just a few days because we kept our focus specific to identifying people, asking for their support, and then following up when necessary. Within a month, we had raised $100,000. We also had another $500,000 on the way because of our dedication to following up with people who showed tremendous interest in what the organization was doing but weren’t ready to commit immediately.

Let me reiterate. This campaign took only a few days to get started and reaped significant results for this mission.

How did we do it? All we did was write a few emails, edited a short phone script, and make phone calls. The costs were just time and effort. For information on the how to find donors, read this article: The Art of Finding Donors.

Brice Sokolowski Catholic Fundraiser

The 2 Lessons Why You Should Always Follow-Up

I want you to take away two key lessons today about the importance of following up with the people.

Lesson 1. God always provides. You must pay attention to who God places in your life. I constantly quote Saint Paul: I planted, Apollos watered, and God grew.

I’m a big believer that God always gives us the people and resources necessary for us to move forward. We just have to have our eyes and ears open, and then take action. Meaning, you must keep following up with the people God places in your life.

Lesson 2. Always maintain a log of the people whom you meet. Instead of continually looking for new people to ask for donations, take the time to review the people you’ve met each week. Take note of what they’ve said and consider the best approach to reconnect with them.

Not every person you met will immediately respond with a yes when you ask for a donation. However, don’t disregard the person in the long run. Make a note of the meeting and put a reminder on your calendar to check back at a later date.

Sometimes the best action you can do is to give them an update on what you are doing.

Remember that people donate because they are inspired by what you do rather than by what you say. Keep their attention and remind them of the difference you are making. Then, when the time is right, ask again. Keep repeating this.

Please don’t look at the short term. Be patient – it’s a gift of the Holy Spirit. Follow-up with people regularly and you’ll see that more and more people will support you.

You will succeed with fundraising when you do this: demonstrate for 52 weeks a year “how you are making a difference” rather than “how you will make a difference.”

Question: Who will you follow-up with this week? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Brice Sokolowski Catholic Fundraiser

Brice was born and raised Catholic. After enjoying a successful career in technology consulting with Accenture and PriceWaterhouseCoopers in cities across the United States (Dallas, San Francisco, Paris, Abu Dhabi, and London) around the world, he left it to help his Catholic diocese in London, England with a fundraising campaign. The campaign went on to raise over $60 million, the largest sum ever raised for the diocese and in the United Kingdom.

Learning from professional fundraisers, he figured out the basics and then left the diocese to focus on what he loves most: building Catholic charities that change the culture, save lives, and save souls.

Brice currently lives in Texas and travels the world helping Catholics fundraise. This website is where he shares what he is doing and how he is raising funds for Catholic causes and missions. That way you can move more quickly with your next appeal.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.