Webster defines “contact” as: “…an establishing of communication with someone or an observing or receiving of a significant signal from a person …”
If you’ve been in fund-raising for even one day, you’ve been told about “contact reports.” The purpose of this article is to:
- help you understand the importance of contact reports
- outline what should be included in the contact report
What is a contact?
- A meeting of substance between you and a donor/prospective donor
- A phone conversation of substance between you and a donor/prospective donor
A contact is not a “sighting”—a chance meeting at a theater, restaurant, or the like. It isformally scheduled and results in conversation of enough substance to be considered worthy of reporting.
Contact reports are for your review prior to the next meeting. They are not a means of “keeping score.”
When you plan a contact, you should always have an objective in mind—a reason for the visit. You may be trying to determine the donor’s/prospect’s interest level, his giving level, or his emotional connection. Whatever the goal, there should be a purpose to the visit.
What should be included in a contact report?
- Your objective for the meeting and whether or not the objective was met. (Note: you may not achieve the objective, but that does not necessarily mean it was an unproductive meeting.)
- Include only those things you would be comfortable having the donor/prospect read.
- Include names of family, friends–even pets–that are mentioned often.
- Include any financial information mentioned in the conversation.
- Include conclusions drawn from body language when projects or dollar amounts are mentioned.
- Include the donor’s/prospect’s attitude toward the organization, as you perceive it.
- Indicate any follow-up that needs to occur. Utilize a tickler to remind you to respond within 72 hours.
- Indicate the next step.