Question of the Month: What’s the best way to communicate with major donors who don't respond to your outreach, but they do keep giving?
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Question of the Month
What’s the best way to communicate with major donors who don't respond to your outreach, but they do keep giving?
You probably have a donor like this on your caseload: one who gives consistently every year, but who has never responded to any outreach from your organization. They send a check, you respond with a thank-you message, you follow up, and… crickets. But before you decide your next steps for this donor, let’s first clarify what we mean by “outreach.”

Before moving a donor onto your caseload, we recommend a qualification process that includes at least seven attempts to connect with the donor through phone calls, emails, personalized touch points, and surveys. Once the donor is qualified, you’ll create an individualized communication plan designed to help you learn more about the donor’s passions and how they prefer to receive communication.

Keep in mind that on average, for donors who meet your major giving criteria, only one in three will want this kind of two-way relationship. If you’ve done your qualification process and have been unable to connect with the donor, it’s time to move them to mid-level or back to direct response.

You might be apprehensive about taking them off your caseload, but when your portfolio is full of donors who respond to your messages and actively engage with the organization, you’ll be able to raise significantly more for your mission.

If you’d like to learn more about qualifying your donors so that every donor on your caseload wants to connect with your organization, download our free White Paper on Qualifying Donors for Major Gift Caseloads.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are a couple FAQs we get on this topic
Why do I need to qualify? What’s the harm in keeping unresponsive donors on my caseload?
When you have unqualified and unresponsive donors in your portfolio, your day will consist of trying to reach out to donors who never pick up the phone, never respond to an email, never attend an event… It’s disheartening for you as a fundraiser, and it’s not a good use of your time or the organization’s resources. Qualifying donors takes time, but it’s worth it because you’ll be much more effective as a fundraiser when you’re working with a caseload full of people who want to relate to you.
I inherited my caseload. How do I know if a donor is qualified?
Take a look at the notes in your file and see if you can answer these questions about each of your caseload donors. For example, what are their passions and interests? Why do they give to your organization? If you don’t know the answers, it’s likely that this donor is not qualified yet, and you need to revisit the qualification process.
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