In the nonprofit world, fundraising is necessary to keep the gears moving at an organization and ensure that your team has the resources to reach its goals. If you have experience in giving, you are likely accustomed to telemarketing. However, how do you ask for donations over the phone so you get real results? Do it wrong once, you might get a wobbly promise to call back later. Mess up multiple times, you might just get blocked.
Effective fundraising requires practice. Read our collection of cold calling tips for nonprofits to learn how to master the art of telemarketing fundraising, start to build relationships with your donors, and get the funds your organization needs.
#1 Ask if it’s a good time to talk
When a donor picks up your call, take a second to ask if you can speak with “your donor’s name” and if now is a good time to talk – “I’ll be brief.” If you immediately launch into your spiel, you could end up delivering a polished, persuasive speech to the wrong person or annoy an individual who is dashing around trying to meet their busy schedule. This simple “ask” shows that you respect their time and ensures that you are speaking with someone who wants to engage.
If the person you’re calling can’t talk, be specific and assert that you will give them a call again later today or tomorrow. Don’t leave it open-ended.
#2: Approach the call with guidelines instead of a script
In other words, be genuine. While using a script to ask for donations is a common and useful tactic, it doesn’t give you much flexibility to have an authentic conversation with someone or respond to a surprising question. You need to be ready and willing to improvise in the moment.
We’d recommend pinning down some talking points or general guidelines to follow before the call. Bring up their history with the organization if applicable or share exciting changes happening at the nonprofit. Use your notes as tools, but remember that you have a better chance of connecting with a donor if you take your eyes away from the script and really listen to what they’re saying.
#3 Keep it conversational – 40% you, 60% them
Telemarketers often forget that a fundraising call should be a two-way conversation. You will be doing a large share of the talking — discussing your nonprofit, it’s recent challenges and successes, fundraising goals, etc. However, donors are more likely to engage with you if they also have a chance to speak. In addition, if you ask questions you can gain donor insights that will help you succeed on future calls.
What other organizations do they support? What kind of work do they care about most? If they’ve donated to your nonprofit before, why did they first decide to donate? What can your organization do better? These are all questions you can use to keep the conversation moving.
#4 Send a thank you note
Show gratitude. Be timely. It’s that simple.
Telemarketing fundraising can be a powerful tool for nonprofits, if done the right way. If you follow these tips, you’re sure to make an excellent impression on potential donors and maximize your fundraising efforts.
If all else fails, call in the professionals. Trained telemarketing fundraisers, like the team at Aria Calls and Cards, have the experience and know-how to bring your fundraising to the next level.
Interested in learning more telemarketing fundraising best practices? Contact our team at Aria Calls and Cards!
Tiffany is our Director of Client Services. She’s highly driven and motivated to deliver top results for all of her clients. She has an M.S. in Strategic Communications and a B.S. in Business Marketing. A lifelong learner, she enjoys getting lost in a good book, copious amounts of coffee, traveling and spending time with her family and friends.