Most of my career has been involved in fundraising, one way or another. For or with candidates. For or with political parties, associations, PACs. Even corporations. There are many similarities between talking to donors and talking to investors or customers.
Rule #1 never, ever changes. Ready? “Never stop asking.” It’s simple and fail safe. Want to raise money, ask for it, and quit until you have more than you need.
When vendors come to me with silly ideas like randomly mailing wealthy zip codes or emailing hundreds of millions of generic emails they don’t know anything about, I invariably reply, “well, at least you’re asking someone for something.”
When candidates and campaigns don’t call anyone, don’t write anyone, don’t email anyone, don’t hold any events, and then ask me what they’re doing wrong—that’s when I find new gray hairs in my beard.
Thankfully, Rule #2 never changes either. Here it is: “Follow-up.”
I read this morning that just 2% of sales are made on an outbound salesperson’s first contact. Even with the best lists in the land, 1-in-50 cold calls yielding a sale on the first call even seemed high to me. A bit of survey response bragging, perhaps.
But for candidates cold-calling known donors? 2% is a basement, not a ceiling.
The survey, by the National Sales Executive Association, found that 10% of sales are made on the 4th contact with a prospective customer. They also found that 80% of sales are made on the 5th through 12th contacts.
Sadly, however, they discovered 48% of salespeople never follow up with a contact, not once. On fundraising calls, do you?
Thanks to basic finance software, it should be relatively simple to track how many candidate calls it takes (on average) for you to get a $1,000+ check from a new high-level donor. If the average is 2.5 calls, but you’re now only making one call and not following up, how likely is it that you’ll get the $1,000+ check you need?
Follow-up is as critical for candidates as it is for salespeople. If they aren’t getting done, you’re depriving your campaign of critical resources you’ll certainly wish you had once Election Day rolls around.
I wish you and yours a very happy Independence Day! And in the spirit of following up, please have a very happy Independence Day!