Those new to fundraising may not have heard the terms call report or contact report. Essentially, these terms both refer to writing a report after you have “called” on (visited) or had “contact” with a donor.
But what does one include in a report? In this post which I wrote for Bloomerang:
I address five important items to include in the call report.
For those new to this work you will note the omission of items such as: what the donor wore, a description of your dinner entrees, and other more general information such as the temperature that day.
I do offer some caveats. If the donor tells you over dinner that he only eats salmon, cooked without any sauce or spices when he is eating out, it may be worthy of note if the donor will be attending galas hosted by your nonprofit. (FYI I worked with a donor for whom this was the case).
In another case, a donor might be wearing a diamond ring and tell you that it’s been handed down for generations. However, she mentions that she has no heirs to leave it to. In such a case you might want to record this information in case the donor might consider having it become part of an estate auction to benefit your nonprofit.
Here are a few key principles to keep in mind about call or reports:
- Record only meaningful contacts, e.g., a phone call related to a gift or a meeting to stewardship meeting where the donor meets a scholarship recipient.
- Provide information that will prove useful to others who read the report, e.g., the president of your nonprofit or university who might one day visit with the prospective donor.
- Write clearly enough that anyone reading the report two days, two months, or two years from now will be able to understand it.
The last point is critical given turnover in fundraising. A new Director or Vice President of Development or major gifts officer will thank you for writing such clear, and useful reports when she or he reads them.