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Some Do’s and Don’ts When Writing Contact Reports

In today’s blog, we’d like to take a light-hearted look at some things that really don’t belong in contact reports. Over the last few years, Reeher has continued to make it easier for gift officers to track and report on contacts. Creating them within our mobile application is now an option, and just a few months ago, Activity Center introduced the email-to-contact feature . But with all this ease of use, we want to make sure that our customers are making the best use of their contact reports.

Productivity goals for officers should always include some measure of contacts, especially first-time visits. As everyone in fundraising knows, these face-to-face meetings often involve meals and meeting spouses – that’s part of the daily routing of a gift officer. But when you’re planning future strategy for soliciting a major gift from this prospect, is the lunch menu really the most important aspect of your meeting? Here are some real-life examples.

    • “Lunch was delicious – Moo Shu Pork and Beef Lo Mein.”
    • “After lunch, she took an Uber back to the office.”

And while family relationships are important, maybe there are some details better left unspoken:

    • “He showed me lots of wedding pictures, and his new wife looks great.”
    • “She and her second husband were neighbors when they started dating.”

Home values and wealth indicators are also good to note, but we found more than a few cases where officers described the full details of a bidding war that happened prior to the sale of the prospect’s previous home. Useful? Not really. The final selling price would probably do just fine.

Remember – the best contact reports provide actionable information that can be part of a prospect strategy that also involves other staff. Given that the time from first visit to first major gift is close to four years, but the average gift officer’s tenure is closer to 3, keeping continuity is important, and details of past visits can help other officers gain a better understanding of a prospect who has already been visited. We’re pretty sure, though, that the next lunch will probably also be delicious.

 


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