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Chatting about Donor Retention with John Greenhoe, CFRE

Resource Center - Foundation

John GreenhoeLast year, our most popular webinar was presented by John Greenhoe, CFRE, on discovery calls, so naturally we invited him back to present again this year!  The topic for his webinar this year is Donor Retention, including how discovery calls play a part.  We got to chat with John recently about donor retention, discovery calls and how he plans on topping his webinar from last year.  

1. If you only had the resources to focus on one aspect of donor retention what should you focus on?

Telling and showing the donor the impact of their gift. One of the main reasons donors stop giving is the feeling that the gift did not make a difference. Nonprofits need to reinforce the fact that the gift helps feed the hungry, educate students and shelter the homeless. They can do this most effectively by telling the story of one individual who has benefited. Everyone who gives will appreciate some form of validation that their gift is important.

2. Can most donors really sustain continued giving?

Absolutely. The real question is will they want to continue to give. In addition to showing impact, we should all strive to thank donors in an expedient, thoughtful and genuine way. Beyond continued giving, our goal should of course be to encourage giving at an increased level. We can do that by purposefully building relationships with our donors, hopefully over a significant period of time. This will allow donors to become more engaged with our work, and will allow us as fundraisers to better serve the individual needs of the donor.

3. Who is the ideal donor?

I'm not sure. Some might say the "ideal" donor is one who is completely selfless and totally altruistic, who does not desire to receive even an intrinsic benefit to the gift. This may or may not be true, and I am not even sure such giving is possible. Personally, my ideal donor is someone who makes a gift and then thanks me for the opportunity to do so. When this happens, it reminds me how very blessed I am, and all of us are, to have the privilege to work as fundraisers.

4. What are discovery calls?  Are they truly “cold” calls?

The discovery call is the first in-person meeting with a prospective major donor. The discovery visit is intended to learn about the prospect and how they feel about your organization. The goal is to determine whether or not the prospect might be inclined to one day consider a significant investment in your nonprofit.

The point of my book is that discovery calls don't have to be "cold." There are so many things that we as fundraisers can do to "warm" the first contact and make it a more natural and less awkward experience. To quote the somewhat blunt words of Keith Ferrazzi -- who has authored some excellent books on relationship building -- cold calls are for suckers.

5. You had the most popular webinar of last year – how do you plan on topping that?

With my good looks and charm. The good looks part is easy to navigate since this is a webinar and people can't actually see me ;-). Seriously, my hope is that if a webinar is popular it also means the session contains information that is of practical use, and in turn helps people to become better fundraisers. If I can continue to be a productive part of that process, I'm thrilled.

To find out more about donor retention and discovery calls join us for John’s webinar on September 16 at 1:00 PM Eastern, “In it for the Long Haul:  How Donor Retention and Major Gifts Can Transform Your Nonprofit”. 

For more info or to register, click here

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