Fundraising over the phone may be key to your nonprofit’s ability to serve. Here’s how to get those donations rolling in.
If you work or volunteer for a nonprofit organization, you’re probably familiar with fundraising over the phone. From environmental nonprofits to universities to social service organizations, fundraising is a vital part of keeping things moving.
There are multiple avenues for fundraising. Grants, galas, and silent auctions can bring in large and necessary sums. Email and snail mail work, too. But fundraising over the phone gives you an opportunity to talk directly to so many of the people who support your mission.
What’s the best way to get those donations when you call? Here are a few ideas that may help your fundraising efforts make more of an impact.
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10 Ways your fundraising over the phone can be more effective
1. Call early and often. Simply put, if the only time you ever get in touch with your supporters is when you ask for donations, you’re not going to have the same success as if you keep in contact regularly. One fantastic tip is to call your supporters about four to six weeks after a fundraising drive and thank them for their last donation. It plants that seed of emotional attachment, so later, when you’re fundraising over the phone, the person on the other end of the line will think, “Hey! This is the organization that called to thank me. They really do appreciate my donation. I should continue supporting them.”
2. Know the person you’re calling. This may not be as easy with cold calling, but if you’re calling supporters and previous donors, it’s helpful to have a short history of your interactions with the person. This is easy with software like Call Logic, which gives you a small pop-up screen with a call history and notes for your contact.
3. Have facts and stats at the ready. The reason people support your organization is that they believe in your mission. People also want to know their money will be effective in helping you with that mission. So it’s helpful to have some numbers to share. For example, “Last year, donations allowed us to provide X different after-school programs for 15,000 students in the city’s schools.”
4. Offer alternative payment methods. Even your most ardent supporters may be hesitant to give out their credit card or banking information. Make it as easy as possible for these supporters to contribute to you. Add a user-friendly donation section to your website, and make sure you have a physical address to share with people in case they want to send a check.
5. Use a script, but leave room for “real” conversation. Scripts are incredibly helpful for any sales or fundraising over the phone. They can help you stay on track, ensure you cover the material you need to, and give you support when you have those moments of forgetfulness. But fundraising is a little different than sales. Especially for volunteers who have personal experience with the organization, it may be helpful to share some personal anecdotes or reasons why they volunteer. Call it social selling or social proof; the point is that these stories give your supporters a specific point of connection.
6. Always say thank you. Whether your contact donates or not, always thank them for supporting your mission in whatever way they can and thank them for taking the time to talk with you. And don’t write them off. Just because someone doesn’t contribute to this campaign doesn’t mean they won’t contribute in the future.
There are some additional tips that can help, however, these tips don’t apply only to fundraising calls. Any sales or business call can benefit from a few simple factors.
7. Know your ask. What are you asking for on the call? Whether it’s setting up a meeting, asking for donations, or selling business insurance to new companies, you need to know what your ask is before you pick up the phone. If you aren’t clear on what you hope to achieve in a conversation, how can the person you’re speaking to have any idea why you’re calling?
8. Stand up. This isn’t always an option, but if it is, go for it. Standing changes the energy in your body. You can’t slouch and put your feet up when you’re standing. Your breath is more open, and you can even move around if you want (and have the space and equipment to do so).
9. Smile. Though it may sound like it’s coming from some corporate training video with bad sound and poor acting, smiling actually does come across in your tone of voice. You don’t have to overdo it or be fake, but even a little can help.
10. Always leave a message. There’s no harm in leaving a message, especially if that means you get a reply!
Fundraising over the phone can give you a great return on your volunteer and staff energy. Add these tips to your strategy and you may find that your ROI is better than ever.
Call Logic’s auto-dialer and call management software offers dozens of helpful tools to increase your success and simplify your daily tasks. Call for your free consultation today to learn more!