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So, they didn’t pick up.

What now?


{Dial Tone}

{Dial tone again}

{You've reached the voicemail box of...}

You’ve just called a donor. They didn’t pick up.

What do you do now?

So many possibilities. You could leave a voicemail. You could leave no voicemail, but call back later. You could try reaching them by email. By text. By whatsapp.

But what should you do?

Presenting: EXACT instructions for how to proceed when a donor or prospect misses your call.

Step 1: Leave a voicemail. Pointless, you think? Well, not when combined with your next two action steps.

Step 2: After you leave the voicemail, immediately text/email/whatsapp the donor. In your subject line, or in the first line of your text, write the following words: “Just left you a voicemail.”

What does that accomplish? It piques their interest. It makes them wonder - why did you leave them the voicemail? What did you say?

With that line topping your message, they’ll be more likely to open and read the rest of it.

And what should you put in the rest of it?

“Hi ____, just called for xyz reason. Could we speak this week?”

Of course, this second step doesn’t guarantee you a response either. In fact, it makes things more complicated.

Why? Because you’ve put the ball in the donor’s court. Now it’s their job to get back to you.

Never a smart move. According to social norms, you’ve restricted what you can do next. You won’t be able to pursue this donor further for the next few days. And what if he doesn’t respond on your next try either?

Behold the simple brilliance of Step 3: Add the following line to your text/email: “If it’s ok with you, I’ll call back at xyz time and day to follow up.”

Wherein lies the brilliance?

By asking, “If it’s okay with you…,” you shunt the ball back into your court. If they don’t want you to call back, they’ll tell you that it isn’t okay, that it doesn’t work for them. And then, at least, you aren’t left hanging, wondering what you should be doing next.

If they don’t respond at all, you’ve secured yourself permission to call back at the time you specified in your text. No social norms violated.

How about trying out this formula over the next week?

  1. Leave a message
  2. Email/text/whatsapp, leading with “Just left you a voicemail.”
  3. End your message with “If it’s okay with you, I’ll…”

Hatzlacha Raba!


© Avraham Lewis & Co.