What To Do With Handraisers?

Woman at Laptop

By Meg Roberts

March 10, 2020

I know I am not the only planned gift officer who has been frustrated by this: you have an excellent response to some marketing effort, but when you try to call the donors who responded to further develop the relationship, they never answer the phone or email. Or, worse yet, they assume you are a telemarketer and hang up the phone.

In 15 years as a planned giving officer, this was one of my biggest frustrations. I mean, why even bother telling me you are interested if you won’t take my call to follow up?!?! Am I right?

Well…simply put…no. No, I am wrong.

See, we didn’t just ask the donors if they were interested in a planned gift. We unknowingly also asked the donors if they were interested in communicating with us by mail. And then we assumed that they would also like to get phone calls from us.


Don’t assume they are no longer interested in a gift if they don’t return your call. Acknowledge that the donor has expressed a preference for communicating by writing – at least for now. And continue to further the conversation either through a one-to-one letter or a one-to-some letter you produce a few times a year just for these “handraisers” who don’t respond to your personal outreach.

– By Meg Roberts

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