“I love #FollowUpFriday. Thank you for this push.”

Charity Tyler

Executive Director, Cedar Rapids Public Library Foundation

“Thanks for your emails. They push me to stay focused and follow through with my plans and goals. You are very appreciated!”

Linda Turner

Volunteer, Crohn's and Colitis Foundation

Successful leaders are consistently good at following up. But even the best leaders need reminders. So we began sending out Follow Up Friday! emails.

They were immediately popular. People were tweeting and emailing posting about the success they were having as a result of these #FollowUpFriday emails.

The secret is in the follow up

The popularity took us a bit by surprise. But it probably shouldn’t have. After all, the “secret” to success is following up. In fact, following up is the secret to much of life.

It takes courage. It takes discipline. And tenacity to follow up. And a pleasant disposition to follow up well!

#FollowUpFriday

So we’ve declared every Friday #FollowUpFriday!

If you’re in need of #FollowUpFriday inspiration, read the growing list of comments on this page.

And to get your own free #FollowUpFriday reminder emails, just enter your first name and email here:

“I have been participating weekly in Follow Up Friday since the start and it has made a world of difference in helping me stay on top of relationships and projects that I could easily push aside. I actually look forward to Fridays now and map out at least 3 individuals at the beginning of the week I want to connect with. My office is now even getting involved. Thanks for the inspiration!”

Danielle Marshall

Executive Director, Playworks Maryland

92 Comments

  1. Ron van der A

    I am afraid of this Follow Up Friday because it is Friday the 13th ! but the rest of the year TGIF !

    Reply
  2. liftdisability

    Following up on advertising team creating yearend campaign for matching gift of $25,000.

    Reply
  3. Grant Edkins

    Following up with Baby Boomers in Howick (god’s waiting room in South Africa) has been my goal this last week…there are 3 key donors all past 70 who require gentle and wise follow up….learning to be patient and build relationships of trust and love before asking for big bucks to make a difference! Thanks for this best practice of following up…

    Reply
  4. Anne Delaney

    Our Advisory Board met the week before Thanksgiving so my follow up Friday involved Thanking them for their time and support and to really let them know how valuable they are to our development team…. N
    ext on the docket;.. following up with our donors who just received our holiday appeal; just to say thank you.

    Reply
    • Marc A. Pitman

      YAY! What a great #FollowUpFriday activity!

      Reply
  5. Mary

    My take on follow-up is ‘try again’. When you receive a reply to a begging letter that reads: “It is not something that we would be interested in funding”. To get over the disappointment I want to write to them again putting my case with a different slant.

    Reply
    • Marc A. Pitman

      Mary: So many things in your comment set off red flags. I’m sure you didn’t mean it this way.

      For example, we’re NEVER begging. So we’d never send a begging letter.
      http://fundraisingcoach.com/2007/09/25/fundraising-secret-4-youre-not-begging/

      And immediately going back to a funder with the same ask, just a “different slant,” sounds more disrespectful than relationship building. If they say “no,” they do generally mean “not now.” But that doesn’t mean to “hit them up” immediately again. I know in selling knives you’re supposed to stop only after 5 no’s. But fundraising isn’t selling knives.

      Given what I said here, am I right to assume I’m mistaking what you meant?

      Reply
  6. D C Dreger, ACFRE

    I’m reading John Grisham’s book, Sycamore Row, in which the protagonist faces what he calls “fish Friday.” These are contacts and calls that have been sitting around for a while so, like fish, they are beginning to stink. He sets aside time that day to make the contacts and calls so that his Monday is a fresh start.

    Marc, you’re right on track. Let’s tie up loose ends, follow-ups, the “nasties” today, and start fresh with new and better things on Monday. Thanks for this concept.

    DC

    Reply
    • Marc A. Pitman

      Nice! I like that take on it. (And I’ve heard good things about this latest book.)

      Glad you’re on to it too, DC! Have fun finishing up the “nasties.” 🙂

      Reply
  7. Madeline

    I just sent out hand written holiday wishes to my top 20 accounts I am currently working with…some are in a stall pattern, some I’m waiting for their “committee” to make their end of year funding decisions. Who doesn’t like to get a hand written card?

    Reply
  8. Patricia

    What a great idea. You are so right about being accountable to our friends in the nonprofit world. I working on finishing sending out my newsletters and getting christmas gifts to my sponsors ready, 27 total. Blog post is the next job to be tackled.

    Reply
    • Marc A. Pitman

      You’re so right, Patricia!

      What a robust list you have!

      Reply
  9. bcsspenticton

    I thanked on Facebook staff and volunteers for all their help to run our society!

    Reply
  10. Susan

    Today I am following up with some training opportunities. I am from an education background, and continuing education is SO important. Today I am reaching out to colleagues that are working on hosting training/seminar opportunities and following up with some e-mails I have already received about course offerings. This all ties in to my final budget proposal which needs followed up on today as well.

    Reply
    • Marc A. Pitman

      All wonderful #followupfriday activities!!

      Reply
  11. rob Silbaugh

    Marc,
    Thank you for the “follow up Friday” note. I spent the this morning, sending out a note to every client — just thanking them for their business and wishing them a blessed Christmas. I then made a reviewed the year with the successes and opportunities that I had for this year. I am happy to say that I had more successes than opportunities.
    Have a blessed Christmas in your new home.
    Rob

    Reply
    • Marc A. Pitman

      Woo-hoo! What an inspiring and productive morning you’ve had!

      Reply
  12. bcsspenticton

    I have put a note on my calendar to call a supporter to go for coffee in the New Year. She called to thank us for a new calendar. This is a city councilor who has a deep appreciation for our work with families when a person has a mental illness.

    Reply
    • Marc A. Pitman

      Great! Perhaps you could drop her a couple lines in a note thanking her and wishing her a happy New Year too!

      Reply
  13. Jill Dalager Brunner

    Today I am following up on proposals submitted to potential clients. #FollowUpFriday it is!

    Reply
  14. Susan Walterhouse

    This will make your day Marc…After following up with my Director, I am following up on my training for the year and JUST SIGNED UP FOR THE NONPROFIT ACADEMY!! Best follow up Friday this year! 🙂

    Reply
  15. Katie Kellett

    Following up with potential event sponsors with a handwritten note and an easy response method.

    Reply
  16. JB

    I’m following up on some business items. (Turning in my reimbursements for fiscal year closing, for one; getting my computer backup issues resolved for another!) Too often we get caught up in the urgent and the mundane (but necessary!) gets pushed to the side. Thanks for the Friday reminders!!

    Reply
    • Marc A. Pitman

      JB – those are awesome. Sometimes the most important follow up items are more “internal” than “external.” Great reminder!

      Reply
  17. Anne Delaney

    Following up with a local group who may be a great source of funding for us in the future! And….always, saying and writing THANK YOU to those who support our mission. TGIFF!!

    Reply
  18. Dennis Fischman

    The local community development corporation and I have been saying “We must talk,” for months. Last week, we did, and this week, I sent them a proposal to consult with them on developing a communications strategy they can actually put into practice.

    Reply
  19. Liz Zima

    Following up today on securing some raffle prizes for our annual event! Thanks for the motivation!

    Reply
  20. Becky Carlino-Madigan

    Following up with our donor heroes with personal notes and thank you cards. It felt good too! I hope they feel good knowing they supported a great cause!

    Reply
    • Marc A. Pitman

      It does feel good, doesn’t it? Well done!

      Reply
  21. Ron van der A

    Yesterday was a great follow up Friday : My wife was wellwilling to dirve me to sponsor and in the meanwhile I took my agenda and was calling a part of teh alphabet. Peolpe I haven’t spoken for quite a while, raise some money for our foundation and extending our network. TGIF

    Reply
    • Marc A. Pitman

      WONDERFUL, Ron! Congratulations! TGIF indeed. : )8

      Reply
  22. Rachel Dattilio Wheatley

    I participated in #FollowUpFriday by writing a handwritten note to our staff in the Engineering department who always go above and beyond for us. I also wrote a handwritten note to a Foundation that just awarded us a grant! It’s so much fun to push aside all the admin tasks I get wrapped up in and do this instead. Thank you Marc for the reminder!

    Reply
    • Marc A. Pitman

      Rachel, these are so inspiring! Thank YOU for making the time to thank people like the Engineering Department!

      Reply
  23. David

    Every other #followupfriday I send out a report to our board development committee to update them on what we’ve been working working on and where our mission is being met by our supporters! So fun to send these encouraging reports!

    Reply
  24. Karen

    I sent a “Tax week survival kit” to a couple of our donors who are CPA’s this week. It included things like 5 hour energy, Tums, aspirin, and all kinds of snacks, soups, coffee, & sweets. They loved it and it was such an inexpensive and fun way to let them know we appreciate them.

    Reply
  25. Erin

    I had sent a letter to the widow of a favorite board member who passed unexpectedly last month. She emailed me back sharing that the offer to have paver made in his memory was a very thoughtful gesture. I emailed her back and let her know I would contact her when the paver was ready to be installed so she and her daughter could come to the shelter. I had also enclosed some pictures of him in my initial letter and she appreciated that too.

    Reply
  26. Jan Halliday

    i have a list of 40 donors and am making a commitment to meet with each of them for coffee over the next year. After a few years in development, I’m now on firm enough ground to do this. My local mentor is a former insurance salesman, now in his 80s, who quietly spearheaded most of the things that make our town a great place to live. The best thing you can do, he said, is ask for their advice, then shut up and listen.

    Reply
  27. D.C. Dreger

    Follow-up Friday? Huh. I’m not going to do anything!

    …for at least half an hour. I’m working to discipline myself to let my most productive computer (brain) sort through all of the important activities and rabbit trails that I’ve focused on and been distracted by in recent days. My purpose is to extract and elevate the urgent & important from the melange of “stuff” in my head while subjugating the urgent & unimportant. This allows me to focus on priority items and creates a major part of my work plan for next week.

    I get to enjoy a small pool of peace and quiet. And, I sometimes can’t help but also reflect on things accomplished…I changed my overdue wiper blades two days ago!

    Reply
    • Marc A. Pitman

      DC: I love it! Enjoy your “at least half an hour”!

      Reply
  28. Anne Delaney

    Finally organizing my July ‘to do and thank lists’ so I can pitch the post its and reminders I’ve scibbled during the past few weeks. We recently sent an appeal to lapsed and non-donors.. I’m also making phone calls to thank them for coming on board with us!! TGIF!!

    Reply
  29. Rebecca Henderson

    Although not donor related, a follow-up email to a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend (I think I got that right) at UNC-Chapel Hill resulted in her using my book as on of the required readings for her public policy class for the fall semester.

    Reply
  30. Susan Walterhouse

    Embracing my Adult ADHD and ordering a new vitamin pack…my focus at this job the last year has been a little off because of the very relaxed environment…which I love and appreciate…but also messes with my “best under pressure” work ethic. Research and knowing how I work have led me to a different type of vitamin pack…so here goes! Trying to make the most of the type of person I am, how God created me and how best to focus and concentrate on donors!

    Reply
  31. Anne Delaney

    Sending thanks to donors in support of our one and only fundraising benefit on Sept. 18 (and general daily giving). We looked at our demographics and alumni base and reached out to those on our database who had never given, hoping for a response. So far, so good. We can only see the results of our work after the event. Also have volunteers who help put this together with my staff, who are the heroes for our organization. I don’t know what I’d do without them all. #follow-up-friday #tgif Can I have another cup of coffee, please?

    Reply
    • Marc A. Pitman

      What a fruitful morning! Maybe TWO cups of coffee? 🙂

      Reply
  32. Carol Bridges

    I was once called tenacious by a prospective donor. I took it as a compliment because they ended up donating $20,000! That’s what you get for following up!

    Reply
    • Marc A. Pitman

      Carol: That is AWESOME! Thanks for sharing such a great story!

      Reply
  33. Carol Bridges

    #Followupfriday today I am contacting each of our Board Members to thank them for their work and ask them to help me connect with their business contacts to help me reach our very lofty sponsorship goals for our 2017 season! They asked me to increase our sponsorship dollars by 80% next year!

    Reply
    • Marc A. Pitman

      Good for you. And holy cow! 80% increase?!

      Reply
      • Carol Bridges

        Yes! An 80% increase in corporate sponsors which is my main responsibility! I am 43% there and am hoping to get most of it by the end of January!!

        Reply
  34. Molly

    Our Development Staff has made #FollowUpFriday a household name after just a few weeks of jumping on board with the idea. We now spend a few minutes each Friday morning planning who and how to contact each donor. Thank you for the encouragement!

    Reply
    • Marc A. Pitman

      Wonderful! I’m so glad to hear this is a new “normal” for your staff!

      Reply
  35. Pixie, (Ligonier Ministries)

    Thanks for this great tip, I will implement it today!

    Reply
  36. Jory Barrad (@Barrad)

    Marc, this past Friday I created an email to go out today (better than sending on a Friday) to our board members reminding them about all donating a bottle of their favorite (moderately priced) wine for a “board select wine basket” to be used in our silent auction for our upcoming fundraising event in May.

    Reply
  37. Anne Delaney

    It’s St. Patrick’s Day and follow up Friday… a great combo! I met with one of our best volunteers and donors today who brought us corned beef, boiled potatoes and cabbage from his favorite restaurants! Our Sisters and staff enjoyed it so much, we are all going to follow up with a BiG thank you to this outstanding Irishman!

    Reply
  38. Kelley Unger

    Friday is always a good time to follow-up with administrative/support staff to make sure you know where they are at on the mundane things (processing donations, acknowledgement, donor care mailings, etc.) and know how to prioritize work in the coming week.

    Reply
  39. Chalmer Harper

    #FollowUpFriday has become an idea that is vital to my fundraising efforts and personal growth. Marc, I am grateful that you shared this revolutionary idea…Recently, one of my co-workers placed a note on my door that said, ‘Do Not Disturb. Chalmer is making phone call to raise money so you can have a paycheck!’ …it worked! New #FollowUpFriday Do Not Disturb signs are in the works.

    Reply
    • Marc A. Pitman

      Ha! That helps clarify what you do! 🙂

      Reply
  40. Ron Skenes

    Spent most of the afternoon Wednesday (I know that’s not Friday) on the phone following up with about 20 donors. Left lots of messages but had some awesome conversations with supporters who were blown away by getting a simple phone call. Reminded me that It’s always worth the time and effort to follow up!

    Reply
    • Marc A. Pitman

      Love it! It’s always amazing how powerful a simple phone call can be!

      Reply
  41. Susan Walterhouse

    Today I followed up on e-mails! We had overseas staff training with us this past week, and my e-mail inbox was piled high! One e-mail in particular was from a very successful CEO/Business owner to me regarding a collaborative project. When I read his e-mail, it prompted a question and I sent him an e-mail asking for some more detailed information. He told me he does not keep e-mails longer than 3 days in any of his folders if it is something he passes on to someone else, which was what happened. He suggested I reach out to that third party. His success comes from handing off as much as he can to trusted others. What a great follow up lesson – when we trust those we work with to handle tasks, our follow up will be short, sweet and complete!

    Reply
  42. Tim Wright

    Friday is now my day set aside to the 75 people I am committed to connecting to. It helps me focus my creativity and makes Friday my most nurturing and intentional time of the week. This idea has been a great blessing. Thanks Mark for this inspiration

    Reply
    • Marc A. Pitman

      What a great way to use that time! I love that it’s nurturing too. 🙂

      Reply
  43. Debi Frock

    With the storm quickly approaching Florida, I am getting out all of the thank you notes to donors who participated in our book drive for Ghana. The 108 children in our Reading Camps wrote thank you notes and I am sending them with photos to donors today.

    Reply
    • Marc A. Pitman

      Great idea and I hope you’re alright!

      Reply

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