Find out how to make telefundraising one of your biggest sources of donations and make your next fund drive a success.
If you work in the nonprofit sector, or you’re working on behalf of a nonprofit organization, there’s a good chance you have to fundraise. One easy way to reach supporters is through telefundraising. It’s one of the most efficient ways to reach a lot of people. Plus, your supporters can put a voice to the organization. You aren’t just some random email looking for donations.
Telefundraising also requires a good strategy. You can’t just pick up the phone and ask random people for money. So, what is that strategy? What are some do’s and don’ts? And perhaps, most importantly, how can you use a phone call to bring in donations?
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Discover the 10 secrets to a successful telefundraising campaign
1. Start before you start. Don’t worry. This isn’t about time travel or a multiverse. It just means that if it’s at all possible, don’t make fundraising time the only time you reach out to supporters. Contact them throughout the year with thank-you calls, newsletter updates in the mail, or events.
2. Create your call list. There is a time for cold calling, but you’ll find your biggest telefundraising successes come from people who already support your organization. That includes people who have donated in the past and people that have not, but are connected to the organization through a mailing list or some other avenue.
3. Craft an excellent opener. It’s true that telefundraising means reaching out to people who support your organization. Even so, your opener needs to be sharp. Right up front, state your name and the organization’s name. Then go on to share your reason for calling.
4. Offer the Why. Why are you fundraising? More specificity often leads to better results. For instance, there’s no sense of urgency if you’re just telefundraising to bring in operational resources. However, if you’re trying to raise $25,000 to fund a specific program, move to a new location, or really for any reason, share that. People feel more connected and involved when they know they are donating for a specific result.
5. Review previous donations. If you have the ability to see what a supporter has donated in the past, that could help shape your ask.
6. Be specific. Sort of. There’s an advantage to leaving the initial ask open-ended. You never know what someone might donate. That said, if you find reluctance or hesitation, sometimes offering a specific number can help move people to donate. For example, “Most of our donations are between $50 and $100, or there’s a sustaining member contribution of $5 or $10 per month. Do any of those sound like something you would be comfortable with?” Remember, we’re trying to work with donor and supporters as partners to accomplish a goal.
7. Be prepared with a mailing address. No matter how good your relationship is, some people will never be comfortable donating over the phone. That’s okay. Offer them a mailing address, and they can send a check.
8. Don’t limit yourself to cash donations. Not everyone who supports your organization will be able to donate money. However, there are other pathways to support. Can they volunteer in the telefundraising campaign? Do they know two people you could call and ask for support? Do they have a product or service they could contribute to a silent auction?
9. Craft your follow-up email. Some people take in information more easily when they can see it written down in front of them. For this reason, ensure you have an email template in your dialing system that’s ready to roll. Then your call center agents just have to enter the details and send it off.
10. Call to say thank you. Once your telefundraising campaign is over, call your donors to say thank you. Remind them where their money is going or how it’s already been used to implement a program. Tell them how helpful their support is. This might even be one of the most important steps in your fundraising efforts. Why? Because when you call next time to ask for support, your donors will remember that you care enough to call and say thank you. You could even say this is the very beginning of your next fundraiser.
A successful telefundraising campaign can bring in the funds your organization needs to achieve its mission. Put a winning strategy in place, and you’ll be well on your way to accomplishing your goal.
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