Follow Up: 3 Practical Tips

As a support raising coach the question I probably get asked the most is about how to do effective follow up after a face-to-face appointment. Follow up tends to run the gamut of scenarios, thus I get a wide range of questions on the topic. From my experience, here are some of the main questions on follow up:

  • How do I follow up with someone who said they would like to give but hasn’t turned in their gift yet? It’s been a month! How long should I wait? What should I say?
  • How do I keep follow up from being awkward?
  • How do I follow up if they said they would pray about becoming a monthly partner, but weren’t sure during the appointment?
  • They keep saying they will turn it in but never do! What do I do?

Follow-up likely consists of one of the following scenarios:

  • You are following up with a financial partner who said they would like to give, but they are praying about an amount.
  • You are following up with a financial partner who said they would like to give and already knows the amount, but for whatever reason just doesn’t get the commitment actually turned in.
  • You are following up with a potential financial partner who said they didn’t know if they would like to give or not, and needs to pray about it and look at their finances.

It’s likely you’ve faced at least one of these scenarios if not all of them. I’ve been there, it can feel awkward to try to re-connect with a potential financial partner and get them to actually start their giving – but TRUST ME it doesn’t have to be.

Here are 3 loaded practical tips for good follow up no matter what scenario you find yourself in:

1. Good Follow-Up Starts At The Appointment!

Start setting yourself up for good follow-up during the appointment by following the two C’s:

COMMUNICATE: If your potential partner needs time to make a decision make sure they understand that you will be following up with them. Clearly describe the next steps with them before you walk away from the meeting. This is so important. Essentially unless the answer to your ask for support is “no”, you absolutely must communicate your intention to follow up with them, during the appointment. If an individual says they would like to join your team, but isn’t ready to start immediately, then ask if they have an idea when they would like to start their giving and ask if they know how much they’d like to give. Communicate with them that it helps you to know when they set it up so you can keep your own records. Once you get the approximate time they’d like to start tell them you’ll follow up with them if you don’t see anything go through around that time, to make sure they have what they need to get it set up. (It really doesn’t come across as pushy, just communicative, particularly if you think through your wording before the appointment. **Pro Tip: If this makes you nervous, write out your wording for various scenarios on the front side of your appointment and get your language down. It truly is important to communicate expectations during the appointment and not just let it go.)

CALENDARIZE: Give a clear time frame for follow up. Tell them when you will be contacting them by suggesting a specific date and time. You can call or text them for follow up, and it may be helpful to ask them what their preference is.

Here’s a sample conversation on follow up during an appointment using the two C’s:

Worker: Thanks so much Jeanie for becoming a monthly partner, we are so excited and blessed to have you as a part of our team! Do you have an idea yet of how much you’d like to give and when you’d like to get it set up? 

Jeanie: No, not yet. I need to go and look at my finances to figure out how much. 

Worker: That totally makes sense. If you could let me know when you do sign up that would be so helpful to me, so I can keep my own records and make sure it aligns with headquarters. Do you have an idea yet of when you’d like to get started? 

Jeanie: I’ll need to look at it, but probably in a week or so. 

Worker: Cool. I’ll shoot you a text to follow up if I don’t see a text from you in let’s say two weeks… Would that be enough time? Just find out if you have everything you need to get signed up and have an amount, and so I can make sure everything goes in correctly. We are so grateful.

So your aware too – we will be communicating what is happening while we raise up the rest of our team and once we get to the field via newsletters. We will send those out at least once a quarter, and we also have a secret Facebook group that we will keep regular updates on. It’s called XXX and I’ll add you tonight, so be looking for it. We also pray regularly for our partnership team, so once I get to the field you can expect me to email you several times to find out how we can be praying a little more specifically. We are really excited to have you alongside of this journey. Do you have any questions? 

2. Follow-up Is Normal. Stick With It!

The need to follow up with individuals after face-to-face appointments is not uncommon at all. When someone pledges to give, but doesn’t get started immediately it can often be put on the back-burner. Let’s be honest: Them starting their support is not weighing on their mind near as much as it is yours! Their good intentions can get buried by busyness or tight finances. But, if an individual says they are going to give, let’s give them enough dignity by taking them at their word and believing the best. Let’s not let paranoia slip in and assume the worst. It may just be as simply as reminding them or finding the simplest/quickest way they can start giving. Never blame them. Ultimately it is up to us to help them bridge that gap from the saying to the doing!

It may take several follow-up calls, text messages, or emails before they actually sign up or get started. That’s okay, don’t grow weary. Let them know you understand they are busy.

3. Idea’s on Wording to Get Rid of The Awkwardness!

Here are some ideas for avoiding discomfort or clumsiness when you make that next follow-up call:

  • You are calling because you were not clear about following up during the appointment:

“Hi Robert. Hope I am catching you at a good time. I sure enjoyed our lunch together. As I thought about how we ended our time, I realized I may not have been as clear as I should have been on the next steps. It seemed like you definitely wanted to support us, but I don’t think I was specific enough on exactly how and when to get started. Can I fill you in on that?

  • You are calling to make sure your records are accurate:

“Hey Jeanie, I’m working on getting an accurate reflection of where our support level is at for the upcoming ministry in Spain, and to make sure my records align with what the office has. I actually haven’t seen the first gift come through from you yet – wondering if that is something you have already done or if it’s something your still interested in doing?”

  • You are following up via text after doing great with the two C’s during the appointment.

“Hey Jeanie, hope you are having a good evening. Just following up after our dinner a couple of weeks ago, thanks again for your time and for joining our team. We are so grateful. Really, there are no words! I know I said I would shoot you a text to follow up – I haven’t seen anything come in yet so wanted to make sure I hadn’t missed anything come through on our end. If we haven’t missed anything – have you had a chance to pray about an amount and start time? And is support something you are still wanting to do? If you need it I can text you the giving link and answer any questions.” 

If you did a good job with the two C’s of follow up during the appointment (Communicate & Calendarize) there will be virtually no awkwardness when you do the actual follow up. You’re simply making good on the commitment you made. If you didn’t make a plan for follow up with the two C’s during the appointment, absolutely follow up anyway – using number 1 and 2 above are two great ways.

Other Quick Tips on Follow Up:

  • Provide all the information they need to sign up during the appointment and follow up.
  • Communicate with potential partners your target date for starting your assignment. This will help create a sense of your need, urgency, and your preferred time in which to start their giving.
  • Don’t procrastinate following up. If you say you will call at a certain time, do it!
  • Following up with potential partners IS NOT OPTIONAL. You will miss out on support if you do not “put the ball in your court” and follow up.
  • Call back on the exact day and time you said you would. If you are not faithful, they will not feel the need to be faithful!
  • Make it as easy as possible for them to give. Provide simple ways for people to give in the shortest time possible. This may be texting them a link to your donation website or finding other creative ways to make committing simple.
  • Ask your potential partner what their preferred mode of communication is for following up, texting or calling are usually the norm.
  • Lastly, make sure to make time to ask how they are doing and use the conversation as an opportunity to build a stronger relationship. Starting and maintaining a personal connection with them is what will keep them investing and praying over the long haul!

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