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Follow-Up Calls: Keys to Success

From Terry’s book, The Benevon Model for Sustainable Funding: A Step-by-Step Guide to Getting it Right, Second Edition.

As your guests are leaving the Point of Entry Event—inspired, informed, and rushing off to their next appointment—the person who will make the Follow-Up Call says to each of them, “Thank you for coming. I’ll give you a call in the next couple of days to get your feedback.”

Remember your objective in making these calls: to have a minimum of one new volunteer Ambassador come forward out of the ten or more guests that attend each private Point of Entry. Now, to ensure that call is successful, let’s look at what must happen before, during, and after the Point of Entry Event.

Before the Point of Entry Program Begins
Review the guest list. Make sure the primary person who will make the Follow-Up Calls—we’ll call her Delia—knows each guest by name or, at a minimum, knows the name of the person who invited each guest.

Delia stands in the reception area and greets each guest warmly as they arrive: “Welcome to Abilities in Action. I’m Delia, the person you talked to on the phone!”

Note that Delia is not the official greeter stationed at the front door of the building, nor is she the official sign-in person who is stationed at the table to be sure each guest fills out a guest card. She has the flexibility to move around. She chats informally with as many guests as possible before the event begins, asking questions like, “How are you connected to _______________ (the Ambassador host)?” Five minutes before the program is scheduled to begin, Delia ushers the guests into the meeting room and asks them to take a seat at the table.

During the Point of Entry Event
The Ambassador opens the program following Benevon’s script on (page 104 of The Benevon Model for Sustainable Funding: A Step-by-Step Guide to Getting it Right, Second Edition), welcoming the guests, introducing Delia, sharing their own story, and asking guests to introduce themselves briefly, including what connection, if any, they have with the organization. Ask the guests to be thinking of others who would want to know about your work as they take the tour today.

During the tour portion of the Point of Entry, Delia serves as the tour guide, first introducing herself by sharing her personal connection to the organization.

At the end of the Point of Entry Event, the Ambassador who made the opening remarks thanks people for coming and reminds them that Delia will call each of them in the next few days to get their feedback, including their ideas for who else they might know who would want to attend a future Point of Entry Event, and whether they might like to become an Ambassador.

Immediately Following the Point of Entry Event
Set aside time immediately following each Point of Entry Event to meet with your team to go through the guest cards and decide who will make each Follow-Up Call. For the most part, these calls will all be made by your designated staff Follow-Up Call person who is also the Team Leader, like Delia.

If you have a prominent person or elected official, a board member, or major donor whom you feel would respond better to receiving a Follow-Up Call from the CEO directly, this is the time to make these important call assignments. Remember, whoever makes the first Follow-Up Call will be responsible for the ongoing relationship with this guest.

When to Make the Official Post-Point of Entry Follow-Up Call
The Follow-Up Call must be made on the second or third day following the Point of Entry Event. Give the guests a day or two to digest what they experienced and yet not so long that they will have forgotten the impact of the event.

What to Have on Hand when Making the Follow-Up Call
Be sure that the Follow-Up Call person has on hand a copy of the Wish List (see page 117) each guest will have received at the Point of Entry. This list should include several volunteer opportunities, starting with Ambassadors, as well as 8 to 10 tangible items you really need.

Also, you will need a copy of the Ambassador Invitation Script nearby (see page 86).

The Detailed Follow-Up Call Script
Think of this as a research call with a specific list of points to cover. Consider yourself a detective on a mission to determine how each person might like to become involved, even if only a little bit, with your organization. This must be a customized type of involvement, tailored to their needs and interests. You must have your radar detector turned up to high intensity for this call. You are listening for clues. You may need to practice asking people questions and then not talking so you can listen closely to the essence of what they are saying as well as what they are not saying.

Here is a more detailed outline of the Five-Step Follow-Up Call that will be helpful to have nearby when you make these calls.

  1. Thank you for coming.
  2. What did you think?
    • Of the stories you heard?
    • What area of our work most interested you? Was it (bucket #1, #2, or #3)?
    • What new thoughts or ideas did you come away with?
    • Do you have a personal connection to our work? Tell me about it.
    • Did you leave with any questions I can answer for you?
    • What advice do you have for us?
  3. Be quiet and listen.
    • Take notes on what they say.
    • Enter notes into database.
  4. Is there any way you can see yourself becoming involved with us?
    • Invite others to Point of Entry Events.
    • Have a list of things people could do, such as volunteer opportunities; making reminder calls for Points of Entry; or volunteering (e.g., tutoring or mentoring a child).
    • Reference the Wish List items.
    • Host a Point of Entry or a Point of Entry in a Box.
    • Become an Ambassador.
    • Activity related to their bucket area of interest (e.g., meet with the program director or tour the facility, invite to a small event).
  5. Is there anyone else you can think of that we ought to invite to a Point of Entry?
    • Who else in your daily life? Other groups you participate in, etc.?
    • Maybe a family member, someone you work with or a friend?
    • Someone you know who has a personal connection or a real passion for our work.
    • Example: “You mentioned you work in the healthcare field. Is there anyone else from your work—or from your book club, for that matter—who you think should know about our work?”

Good luck and happy calling. Remember, it’s all about building long-term relationships!