Call Them Today—Structuring an Effective Check-in Call with Your Best Givers

It is quite likely that the Pareto Principle is at work in your church or ministry where 80% of your gifts come from 20% of givers. It may not be exactly 80/20, but you probably receive the majority of your gift dollars from the minority of your givers. Our recommendation is that you make personal contact with as many of those partners as you possibly can. What follows is a plan to structure an effective check-in call.


  • This is the true ministry of fundraising—checking in is pastoral and a ministry to your givers.
  • Your call must be made from a heart that is genuine, honest, and sincere.
  • Your call is not about asking for a gift—it is about expressing your appreciation and learning if you can do anything to help them.
  • Listen, listen, listen. This really is a “two ears and one mouth” scenario.
  • You should be ready to answer questions like those you will be asking—be prepared.
  • You may also be asked questions about the church/ministry mission, operations, finances, and giving.


  1. Do some quick research on the individual/family to be called.
    1. Who are the members of the family?
    2. What is their involvement with the church?
    3. Do you have any personal connections with them?
    4. How do they earn their living?
  2. If you are calling an individual at their work or place of business, be prepared to tell the receptionist or administrative assistant exactly who you are and the purpose of your call.
    1. These professionals are trained to run interference for their boss—you will need to give them enough information to determine that the boss would, of course, want to talk to you.
    2. Be prepared to leave your number in case the individual is not available.
  3. Prepare your questions in a logical order—but listen carefully and adjust accordingly. Possible questions include but are by no means limited to:
    1. How are you (and spouse and family)?
    2. Are you physically well?
    3. Are you able to work? (if applicable)
    4. How about the children? (extended family)
    5. Are things OK in your neighborhood?
    6. How are you spending your time at home?
    7. Do you need anything specific that we can provide?
    8. Have you found anything that people in your area (neighborhood, employer, etc.) need?
    9. Have you been able to participate in any online services/resources/etc.?
    10. Do you have any advice or recommendations for me during this time?
  4. If appropriate, confirm/double-check/acquire important contact information such as email addresses and/or mobile phones.
  5. Recognize that this call might be quite lengthy, but it might also be quite brief. Be flexible, and if you sense the need to end or extend, be willing.
  6. If appropriate (and if the individual is not hurrying to get off the call), offer to pray for the individual and family—ask for specifics.


To wrap this up, your best givers are your best givers for a reason. Their reason likely centers around their love of and trust in your church/ministry—and in you personally. Give them a call and do it today—you’ll not be disappointed.


David Duncan


Mobile: 417-437-4774