Follow up. Follow up. Follow up.


I can vividly recall my American Heart Association fundraising and volunteer engagement training when I served as Regional Director for an eight-county territory.  Teams of AHA staff were in small groups discussing the important steps to success. The assigned "reporter" from one of the groups used an entire flip chart page to write "Follow up! Follow up! Follow up!" and he used a red marker to add emphasis. The primary point: As one engages donors, sponsors and volunteers, follow up will be an absolute necessity. I learned this to be true during my American Heart Association career and beyond.

Now in our twenty-fourth year of consulting and project management for nonprofit executives and community leaders, the "Project Partners Way" is that the follow-up is done until a "yes" or "no" is received - no assumptions allowed. This persistence has paid off over and over again.

We were reaching out to a major hospital to retain their sponsorship of a community-wide educational initiative, and after numerous unanswered phone calls and e-mails, it would have been easy to give up, assuming a "no". However, another placed call paid off, and we reached the new staff member in her new position. We explained the project, the benefits, and their prior role in it, and that relationship and significant sponsorship was retained.

Don't leave money or engagement on the table. Place that call or write that e-mail or letter one more time. Ask to get personal meetings on calendars. Persistence pays off. I promise.