Successful telephone fundraising for nonprofits is an art form. You want to raise as much money as you can, but you don’t want to be pushy with the customer or misrepresent the nonprofit that you’re fundraising for. If you make the wrong move in your fundraising campaign you could risk losing a donor or hurting your organization’s reputation. Read up on these 5 mistakes to avoid in your telemarketing fundraising campaigns to make sure that you can keep both your nonprofit and the donor happy.
1. Don’t Call The Same Person At The Same Time Every Day
The first rule of telephone fundraising is also the golden rule: treat others the way that you would like to be treated. You wouldn’t want someone to call you at the same time every single day. So, when it comes to making your calls, practice some empathy. There is no shame in being persistent with your fundraising efforts, but it’s important to know when enough is enough. Switch up the time of day that you’re calling, and when you get a definitive no, move on.
2. Don’t Use A Bland Telephone Fundraising Script
We’ve all been on the other end of a call with a telemarketer who is clearly running through a script that is not engaging or persuasive. These phone calls are boring, and you work to end them as soon as possible. The most powerful telemarketers are able to strike a note of authenticity with their callers. You want to make it clear that you are a human on the other end of the phone, not a listless telemarketer methodically working through a dry script. This is why our team at Aria preaches the importance of personalized phone calls to each and every customer. When you adapt your tone and message to match the donor you are trying to reach, you are more likely to form a connection with the person you’re speaking with, which might just earn you a donation.
3. Don’t Forget To Tell Them Exactly What Their Money Will Be Doing
“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” This phrase comes from a famous Simon Sinek TED Talk and marketers have used it as their dogma for years. The same principle applies towards nonprofit fundraising.
When people give you their money, they want to know not just what they’re helping, but why and how. Even if your fundraising request is accurate and straightforward, it won’t be persuasive if it lacks the how and why.
“Donating $1 a day will help kids in Africa get clean water.”
This isn’t a compelling pitch. What will you be doing with the money? Who will you be helping? How will it happen?
“Donating $1 a day can help us deliver daily shipments of water bottles to villages in Africa that aren’t near clean water. Currently, 40% of people in the southern region of Africa don’t have access to clean water. By delivering these shipments, we are vastly improving these people’s daily lives and health.
Adding details to a pitch can make a real difference. It adds legitimacy and explains your motivation to your callers. To deliver a successful telephone fundraising campaign, provide context when you’re on the phone.
4. Don’t Only Ask For Money
When people choose to donate to an organization, it’s because they care about the cause and the work that your team is doing. However, if you only contact them to ask for money, you could risk disenchanting them.
Instead, create a sense of community with your donors. You’re all working towards making the world a better place somehow. Come up with some events or talking points from your industry that your donors might find interesting. Keeping people up-to-date with the “big picture” can help them understand just how valuable their donation is to the cause and will help them see that they really did make a difference. Your donors want to know that they’re being viewed as people, not just wallets. Tell them about success stories, update them on the organization, and most importantly…
5. Don’t Forget To Thank Them
Everybody likes to feel appreciated. Many telemarketers will take donations without sending a follow-up note to say thank you, which means that if you take the time to show your gratitude, you’ll stand out by a mile. While it may be easier to say a quick “thank you” on the phone, we’d recommend taking a more personal approach.
In a world of emails, tweets, and instant messages, nothing really stands out like a personalized, handwritten letter. Handwritten mail shows your customers that you put effort into displaying your appreciation. This wasn’t just another transaction for you; this was the start of a new relationship. Teams like Aria Calls and Cards can help you craft thoughtful and unique messages to connect with your donors. When you send a thank you note, you can rest assured that your donors will look back on your organization fondly.
Asking for money is a bit like walking on eggshells. It’s a delicate process, and making mistakes can be the difference between receiving a donation or getting hung up on. By avoiding these five mistakes, you can put yourself in a better position to connect with your donors rather than pester them.
If you’d like to talk to the Aria Team, give us a call today!
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.