Contact person is a person who acts as a connection between an NGO and a donor. Your personal contact information is a small but important part of the application that often gets overlooked. You want to make sure the donor is able to contact you back, but with so many modes of communication these days it can often be confusing what to include or not include.
Most commonly, the contact information will contain:
- One personal contact (name and position)
- Office email of personal contact
- Office phone number and extension to personal contact
- Organization’s physical address
- Organization’s website and social media
This section is fairly straightforward, but some NGOs make the mistake of providing either too few or too many modes of communication. Here we give you 8 dos and don’ts to remember when contacting a donor.
DO include the name of ONE personal contact
The contact person should be someone who is knowledgeable about the project, knowledgeable about the donor, and easily accessible. Include their full name and position, but only include the title if relevant. It is generally advisable not to include a title like Dr. or PhD, since they can mean different things in different contexts. Also, in some cultures including a title can come off as bragging. Similarly, do not include credentials (i.e. accounting certification, education, etc.) unless requested or deemed relevant.
DON’T include more than one personal contact
Having multiple names can cause confusion and lead to miscommunication. An exception to this rule is if you know the main contact person may be out of office for a time and so a second person needs to be in the loop. Yet even in cases like this, it would be better to include only one name in the application but cc another name in the email containing the proposal to the donor.
DO include a personal email
Email has become the most important communication tool in the professional sphere today. If you could only provide one contact option, it should probably be an email. The provided email should look like a personal and professional email. Do not include an “info@…….” or other generic emails if you can avoid it.
DO include a physical address
Even though donors often prefer not to pay for rent, having a physical office shows the donor that you have invested in this NGO and are not just some fly-by-night organization. Even if you do not yet have an office, showing your home address or even a P.O. box is better than nothing (just make sure you are able to check your mail regularly). Also, remember to include your country in your address- even if it seems obvious to you, donors nowadays receive applications from all over the world and it is not always immediately clear where the organization is based.
DO include one phone number
Include one phone number that you regularly answer. Remember to include your country code and make sure to note if the number is a business line or mobile. You can choose to provide the organizational phone number or the number/ extension for the contact person but avoid providing multiple phone numbers unless necessary. FAX numbers are still quite common to include, although rarely used anymore.
DO include a link to your website or other main online presence
This could be your website or your main social media presence or wherever else donors can go to learn more about your organization. Having some kind of online presence is becoming increasingly important, so have something ready! Make sure this link is presentable and contains what you want potential donors to see.
DON’T include ALL your organization’s social media links
There is limited real estate in a proposal, so do not waste it listing every site your organization is active on. If you believe your social media information is relevant, still only include the one or two profiles your regularly check and that the donor is active on as well.
DON’T include your personal social media links
The application period is not a good time to ask a donor to friend you on Facebook. Also, it can become very confusing which social media links are personal and which are organizational. Some individuals have personal professional accounts, but generally, it is unprofessional to include this information. Even Skype, LinkedIn, etc. can be too much unless specifically requested.