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Overheard walking down the street in Manhattan..man shouting into his phone for all to hear…”I have emailed and called a hundred times and there’s no response. Forget him.”

Ironic to be party to this very loud angst when I have been, as of late. pondering over the biggest, most challenging issue presented to me by the organizations I work with.

Which is…what should I do? I can’t get a call back. My emails aren’t answered. I try and try but no one answers.

This is the hardest thing to deal with when trying to inspire nonprofit professionals and volunteers to fundraise. Fear grips them.  And when no one replies, it causes shame and an unwillingness to fundraise in the future.  It’s discouraging.

I had a boss, many years ago, before email and faxes and text messages who would not accept no-answer as an option. So he would go to the expense of sending a registered letter that explained that he was trying to get in touch and that he would like to set up a meeting, and soon. Time after time, it worked. The recipient was inevitably embarrassed. Besides, it’s dangerous not to open a registered letter – might be something serious like a legal or financial action against you. Clever, I always thought.

Then I knew a very influential but very brash attorney who was a major leader in nonprofit organizations. High atop his 74th Floor Sears Tower office, he would send telegrams that had one line….”F**k you – strong message to follow.” Well, that showed them who was boss. And yes, he signed them. Did he get answered?  Indeed! But are these the lengths we have to go to to get the attention of a donor??

So, I ask you – what are some of the ways in which you try to get someone’s attention when they are non-responsive? I am looking for answers, ones that are a bit more delicate than the aforementioned telegram, but nonetheless drive the message home.

No one likes to be ignored. Especially when it takes so much courage to make the all-important fundraising call.

Send suggestions for dealing with the donor playing dodge ball. Let’s try to help each other be heard. Post your ideas!

P.S. Click on to hear the Beatles lament on this topic!03 You Won’t See Me 1

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