Fundraiser: I don't have time to make cold calls!
Me: You don’t have time NOT to make cold calls!
If you happened to see my post last week called Should Nonprofits Cold ( in case you didn’t, here’s the link: http://www.trainingforgoodinc.com/blog-basic-training/should-nonprofits-cold-call), you know I’m an advocate on the topic. To summarize, you have everything to gain by building in a set block of time for cold calls into your week. I’m confident that at minimum, these calls will keep you sharp on your message. And best case, you’ll find some great prospects. But before you can hit the phone, let me guess:
Wow! Are we busy or what? How can we possibly find time for these cold calls?
Notice some similarities in the above activities? While they’re all essential to the longer-term success of your fundraising efforts, none of them need to be done during donor facing hours. I’m guessing you didn’t sign up for fundraising or business development because you’re a 9 to 5 person. Those are the hours you should be talking to real live people who can say YES. All the rest, like the list up there, are preparation for activity.
Here’s the good news. I’m not going to be unreasonable and suggest you do nothing but talk to prospects and donors during these hours. What I am going to suggest are some easy steps to allow you to start building these calls into your day:
Create YOUR calendar: These days organizations may call these Victory or Success calendars. Since we’re all a bit different I’d just call it Your Calendar. The catch is to think about how you can work most effectively and structure your week accordingly. If you’re a slow starter with low energy in the morning, that’s a great time for research and prep work. Or maybe the opposite is true. Most importantly, figure out when you’ll be at your best with people and maximize your time talking to some you know and some you want to know.
Lose an activity (or two or three): Every profession has their equivalent of on-site boondoggles. In our profession and like others, there’s always a training or webinar we can do. I’m certainly not advocating passing up opportunities to learn and be better. What I am suggesting is that there’s a diminishing value of those one can do in a set period. And that value is even further diminished by the opportunity cost of meeting new prospects. So, take a good hard honest look at one or two or even more activities, events or trainings you can shelve in favor of an hour of calls.
Be Inflexible: The most important rule of all when it comes to creating your calling time is to BE INFLEXIBLE. Remember, I'm talking just about your calendar and not your entire life. But truly own your time so you can invest it and not just spend it. And investing it in making these calls can have an awesome ROI.
So start now and I’d love to hear how your calls are turning out. If you need help with a calling plan, visit www.yournonprofitnow.com
Robert Grabel is the President of Nonprofit Now! You can find his posts here and at www.robertgrabel.com
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