thankQ Resources

How to make video calls work for you AND your donors

Just when you thought it was safe to go back to the office, the second wave strikes. Working from home is where it’s at once again and we’re all getting pretty good at it. But let’s face it, a zoom call with your nonprofit’s most important donor is not quite the same as the face time you were both used to. You are doing your best, but it is natural to worry about human relationships when you are forced into a virtual one. Can you really achieve the same depth online? You might be surprised! Virtual meetings will never replace actual face time, but there is a lot to be said for the world of virtual meetings. So here are our 10 tops tips to help make video calls work for you AND your donors. Good luck!

In the beginning…

As with so many things, the art of a good video call lies in the preparation. Tips 1-5 will help you lay the groundwork for that all-important meeting. First up?

  • Get dressed: We know you love working in your pajamas. But trust us – you are going to want to get dressed for this one. The right dress code will put you in the right frame of mind. It will also show your donors that despite the COVID chaos, your organization is in control and working well in the new ‘normal’. Even if it does not always feel that way!
  • Create the right space: If you are lucky enough to have an office or spare room, great. If you are working from your kitchen table, do not panic. Wherever your office is based, take some time before the call to tidy up around you. Not only will it help make a good impression, it will help unclutter your mind – giving you clarity and focus for the call ahead.
  • Choose your technology: Whether it’s Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, Facebook Messenger, or something entirely different, choose a technology you (and/or your donor) are familiar with. It will make life a lot easier! Got a bit of virtual meeting fatigue? There is no harm in being old fashioned and picking up the phone. Sometimes it can be good to get back to basics. You might even find it easier to talk without the pressure of video.
  • Keep the numbers down: Video meetings are great, but if there’s too many people on the call it can be hard to keep up. We have all been there. People talking over people. One person’s internet connection failing. Another’s sound breaking up. If you have to have a group call, try and keep the numbers down and prep your team beforehand. Take five minutes to discuss who will lead the call, and how you will deal with questions. It will make it much easier to navigate group dynamics in action.
  • Log on early: If you are using a virtual tool, make sure to log-on early. Technology is never 100% reliable and this will give you time to trouble-shoot before your donor arrives. Check your sound, check your video, and screen share options (if you need them).

Lights… Camera… Action…

The link is working, your video is on and the sound is perfect. It doesn’t stop there. These next four tips are all about making your meeting go with a swing.

  • Minimize your video: Is that a grey hair? Now is not the time to investigate. Reduce the temptation, minimize your own video and focus on the person in front of you. While we’re at it, close your emails, the YouTube videos, and put your phone on silent. If you cannot be physically present, you need to be mentally present. Make sure your donors have 100% of your attention.
  • Embrace small talk: Do not be so bound by your meeting agenda that you forget to be human. Take time for small talk. Use the first few minutes of your meeting to check in on how your donor is feeling, how the situation is affecting them, their family and/or business. Relationships are at the heart of all fundraising. Believe it or not, the COVID crisis is a great chance to build yours.
  • Take tea (or coffee): It might sound silly, but if you were meeting in an office you would probably make a cup of tea or coffee, right? There is absolutely no reason you cannot do this in a virtual scenario. It will give you something to do with your hands. It will also make it feel more like a ‘normal’ meeting – you know, like the ones before we lived in a science fiction film.
  • Roll with the interruptions:We are all human, and a lot of us will be sharing out space with children, families, and pets. Interruptions happen. Do not ignore them when they do. Embrace it and show your human self! They can be a great talking point on both sides and can help you get to know each other on a whole new level.

And finally…

It does not matter if you are meeting virtually or face-to-face. Make sure you have a clear purpose and know the discussion points. The joy of virtual is that you can keep your notes nearby (but out of sight!) while you are on the call. Resist the temptation to keep looking at them but take comfort from the fact they are there if you need them. And that brings us to our final point:

  • Relax and enjoy it: The virtual world might seem daunting and unfamiliar, but you’ve got this. Take a deep breath, smile, and relax. Enjoy the conversation. Tell stories. Share impact, challenges, and successes. This is your chance to talk about your work with someone who wants to be part of it. Take it.

We might live in a virtual world, but if you follow these 10 steps there is no reason your natural enthusiasm cannot shine through.

thankQ CRM can help you keep track of all your donor calls. Contact us to see how. Set up your personalized demo today.