Archive for October, 2008

Great Free Way to Keep Up With Donors

You know, some times you just think people know what you know if they are young and smart and a great leader? Welllll, last weekend I was working with just such a CEO, Beth Lloyd at Volunteer Hampton Roads in Norfolk, VA. We were strategising about her board retreat that I was facilitating the next day, and I asked how she was keeping up with current donors, most of whom foundations and corporations. I mentioned, “Of course you are using Google Alerts.” Her pretty brows furrowed and she said, “No.”

It took literally about 2 minutes to set it up with just the words, “Volunteer Hampton Roads.” All you do is go to the home page of, type in “google alerts” and fill in the words or phrases that you want reports about. Then a message is sent to your e-mail address, you confirm that you indeed want this info, and Bob’s your uncle, you are in business.

Ten minutes after setting this up, Beth got an alert. One of her collaborators had thoughtfully posted a job on his website for a position she wanted to hire for, thereby helping her expand the search. I said, “You need to thank him.” Beth said, “Of course I will.”  Now this is where being an older, bossy consultant comes into play. I said, “Pick up the phone this minute and make the call before you touch the computer again.” Beth, being a quick learner and realizing that I outweighed her, picked up the phone and left a very gracious message. Another message came a few minutes later from a colleague touting Volunteer Hampton Road’s programs. Beth picked up the phone, another quick call, leaving a message.

At the board retreat, we suggested that one of the “ask averse” board members take on the role of helping with relationship management of a portfolio of donors so that Beth can continue to go into the community and make the major asks. All this person would need to do is keep a google alert list of current donors and send cards, notes and make the occasional call on what is going on with the individual, foundation or company.

You got to love a free way to keep up with donors. And getting to work with smart boards and leaders who implement immediately compouds the joy.

Mildly tech-savvy Granny, Carol Weisman, MSW, CSP

p.s. Beth, you are no doubt getting an alert about this. Have a great week!!!


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What Great Donor Customer Service Looks Like

Great customer service to donors is almost a nonsequitor, which is why it is so important to celebrate it when it happens. Last weekend, I went on the website of The Missouri Botanical Gardens to make a small donation in memory of a friend’s partner’s parent who died out of town. I had only met my friend’s partner Scott twice and never his parents. It was simple and easy to make the donation. Since I didn’t know Scott’s deceased parent’s name, I filled in the on-line form with “Scott’s Mother.”

First thing Monday morning, I got a call from Ann in the development office of The Missouri Botanical Gardens. She called to alert me that she had looked up the obituary and it was Scott’s Father who had died! She then proceeded  to offer me her name and phone number in case I needed help in the future with a gift.

I am sure Scott would have forgiven me if I had botched the gender of his parent who had passed, but I didn’t have to ask for forgiveness thanks to Ann. It’s the kind of thing that makes you want to give a larger donation!

Gender-confused fan of Ann, Carol Weisman, MSW, CSP

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