Most of us have experience telephone fundraising and have been on the end of a call from a charity representative. For one reason or another we will most likely have dismissed this phone call as a possibility with regards to our own charitable giving, however fundraising by telephone has proved to be a lucrative fundraising method employed by savvy charities.
Telephone fundraising is for all intent purposes a telemarketing campaign. In a not dissimilar way to how telemarketing sales are made by means of a pitch, telephone fund raising is used to obtain charitable donations. Even though you are asking for a charitable donation, you still have to effectively sell yourself as an individual and indeed sell your “product” – the charity.
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Telephone Fundraising: Essential to Any Charitable Fundraising Campaign
There are of course ways and means of managing an effective campaign using telephone cold calling, some of which are as follows:
Ensure that all volunteers are well versed with regards to the charity’s purpose, how they help and their general mission statement, as this is what they are selling. It shouldn’t be too hard as most people are essentially reading off a same script;
Put yourself in the shoes of the donor. No individual likes to be asked outright for money. People do not like to give away money as a general rule. On this basis you should establish the fact that the individual will be “helping” your cause by making a donation. The vast majority of individuals like to be asked to help, it makes them feel valued and worthy;
Logically persuade the individual to donate by asking if specific concerns are important to them. This in itself makes it harder for the individual not to make a donation, as not only have you established a rapport, but also common ground with them. In addition, it makes dealing with objections a lot easier;
It is wise to mention a small set amount and ask whether such a donation is indeed feasible. On this basis you are more likely to get someone to commit to making a small charitable donation now which can be upgraded later on
Different donors respond better to different methods of fundraising, and this is key when considering all fundraising activities and not just telephone fundraising;
You should ensure that your volunteers have actually donated to the said cause. Even if it is just a token gesture, it shows that they are committed to the cause, and are more likely to be taken seriously by potential donors. In addition, you may find that by having donated themselves they are more enthusiastic when talking about the said cause
It is of the uppermost importance that you keep morale as high as possible. You will find that some individuals truly are unable to donate any money. In addition, you will find that a lot of people are not at home when you call; and
It may be prudent to use paid staff as they will be used to receiving and dealing with not getting a “sale” so to speak. Although this will for all intent purposes eat into your profits, you may in turn receive a higher level of donations.
The above points are more relevant to a fundraising campaign by means of outbound cold calling. Telephone fundraising can also take place by means of inbound calls, although this is more often than not used by the larger televised charitable campaigns. Regardless of whether your charity’s approach is by means of inbound or outbound telephone fundraising calls, your volunteers and/or paid staff will essentially require the same specific training.
Personal phone fundraising can be the key to ensuring the success of any charitable fundraising campaign. It is relatively easy to make a larger number of telephone calls within a short space of time. However, do not expect miracles overnight. Take comfort from the fact that each and every new donor is a step in the right direction! Telemarketing fundraising really is essential to any charitable fundraising campaign and should be considered in the first instance as a means of securing additional donations.
Howard Lake is a digital fundraising entrepreneur. Publisher of UK Fundraising, the world's first web resource for professional fundraisers, since 1994. Trainer and consultant in digital fundraising. Founder of Fundraising Camp.