Found Time


Beyond changing the batteries in our smoke detectors, the biannual ritual of resetting our clocks to accommodate Daylight Savings time presents development professionals with another critical reminder: It is time to reach out and thank some of our donors.

Yes it’s true… for many of us, our pre-Thanksgiving plates are overflowing with year-end giving preparations and execution. For non-profits of every shape, size and stripe, the next two months are absolutely crunch time for securing critical funding before December 31st and we would be well-advised to keep focused on the task at hand.

That’s where the fall daylight savings time reminder comes in. We “earn” and extra hour, right? So how can we put it to use? What could we possibly do with all of that found time?

What if, while we are busy making a compelling request for support from our year-end giving prospects, we also devote a little time and energy to thanking some key supporters during this season of gratitude? What if we commit to making at least five (5) thank you calls each week between Nov 17th and Dec 20th? That’s just twenty-five calls over a five-week period. Not insignificant, but certainly not unmanageable either.

Think about it from your Donor’s perspective. While their mail slot and email boxes are quickly filling up with various and sundry appeals, the message you’re delivering is one of gratitude.

You’re certainly going to have a lot of opportunities in the New Year to thank donors who help make your year-end appeal a success, so these calls should be targeted to your major donors and/or folks you’ve segmented out of the current appeal–so as not to diminish your message of appreciation. You can also call your corporate sponsor contacts or foundation program officers to wish them a Happy Thanksgiving and to let them know how much you appreciate all they do. Call Board members or other key volunteers just to let them know how much their year-round efforts mean to the Organization.

At the end of the day, the goal here is to resist getting caught up in the churn and instead, embracing the opportunity to make connections with some of our key folks. You can reach out to whomever you want. Just be sure that, once your clock is reset and your batteries are fresh, you commit to making those 25 calls.


David Gee is a non-profit professional with a particular expertise in capital campaigns, major gifts and donor stewardship. David joined the Laurus Strategies team as a Senior Consultant after serving as The Chicago Bar Foundation’s Director of Development for over seven years. Prior to that, he spent 18 years working as a professional actor in Chicago. Among his volunteer activities, David currently serves on the Donors Forum’s Resource Development Committee and the Cara Program’s Major Gift Committee.


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