Getting a message like this is a fundraisers worst nightmare.
Well, one of them. At least to me.
As one who works daily to build strong relationships, when I hear a message like this I cringe. It doesn't say much about the value of a relationship when a donors call or email is not answered quickly.
On my team, our rule is within 24 hours. Return a call or respond to an email within 24 hours. Of course a call that came in at 5pm on Friday means a Monday return. I'm not crazy. I'm simply paying attention to building a lifelong relationship with our donors.
It is critical. It says a lot when you return a call quickly. It says even more when it takes you a couple of days.
I know, you're busy. So is your donor.
Return a call soon. Respond to an email soon. This will change your relationships with donors for the better. They know you're busy so the quick reply means even more.
While I'm on the subject I'll share a few other ways I like to communicate with donors.
Every Monday I change my voice mail. I let folks know which days of that week I am in and which days I'm not in. I would like to get to changing my voice mail every day yet for know the weekly change works.
I use my "out of office" for email not only when I am out for a day or more, but also on days when I know I am going to be slammed.
I also have sued my "out of office" email to support a campaign. For instance, leaving a message that says "I hope you received our Winter Appeal. If you didn't please let me know." can remind a donor to make their donation or entice someone to ask about donating.
A lot rides on our being successful in relationship building. The entire mission of our non-profit depends on our success. The people we serve depends on it.
Thanks for reading!