Fundraising news, ideas and inspiration for professional charity fundraisers

Is the telephone in fundraising dead?

Is the telephone in fundraising dead?

The telephone is a wonderful tool for communicating with donors, and enhancing the donor experience.

A good caller will acknowledge the donor’s involvement with the charity. Stress that she is known. Thank her for the difference she has made to the beneficiaries of the charity. Inform her about work that she, and other donors, have made possible. Answer her questions. And, yes, from time to time, give her the opportunity to increase her direct debit, or give an additional gift. And feel good about it. She will feel better after the call than before it.

This level of personal engagement would not be possible in a letter, or an email. It is unique.

This good caller should be paid as much as any fundraiser working for the charity.

On Tuesday, Joel Voysey posted on ‘fundraising chat’ that he had received an:

“Outstanding DD upgrade call from Sarah at NTT on behalf of Amnesty International. Doubled my (modest) monthly gift.”

How good that some people are doing it right Joel is an excellent example of a delighted donor. Doubling his monthly gift. And feeling good about it.

On the same day, UK Fundraising announced that Jane Cunningham’s Personal Telephone Fundraising had ceased trading.

Because of some rogue operators, not given enough supervision by their charity employers, the baby has been thrown out with the bathwater.

CEOs and trustees should be aware of this.

By the time things get back to normal, there won’t be any agencies, and we will have to start from scratch.

What a waste.

If only the Commission on the Donor Experience can get a hold on this.


Photo: scissors cutting telephone cord by Anaken2012 on


As Appeals Director of NSPCC at 29, Giles set up the Centenary Appeal which was a record at the time. Giles grew NSPCC’s voluntary income from No. 15 in the CAF table to No. 3. The FULL STOP Appeal raised £274,000,000. This remains a record.   Giles was vice-chair of the Commission on the Donor Experience, an initiative aimed at transforming fundraising, to change the culture to a truly consistent donor-based approach to raising money. He is now working to implement its recommendations. He has also re-launched himself as a consultant. Giles was ‘UK Professional Fundraiser of the Year 1994’ and received the ‘Lifetime Achievement in Fundraising’ award in 2002.

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