Telephone Fundraising Part 2: How to use the phone in fundraising

So in part one we looked at why the phone is a great fundraising tool. Today we’ll look at how the phone can be used to drive performance of all sorts of different fundraising programs – from Donor Acquisition through to Legacy.

Part 2: How to use the phone across different fundraising programs

The phone can be used to enhance any fundraising program. Major Donor and corporate fundraisers have used the phone to build personal one-to-one relationships for years, and agencies like Pell & Bales have been used to reach larger audiences, most commonly within Individual Giving. The channel benefits from the ability to explain and ‘sell’ more complicated giving products so has traditionally been used to explain and drive Regular Giving, Covenants & Gift Aid as well as Legacy giving. In more recent years the phone is also being used to build engagement, commitment and loyalty and we are seeing rapid growth in the phone being used for Event Fundraising and Loyalty Programs. Here is my overview of campaigns every charity should consider;

Upgrading Existing regular Giving Donors: Asking donors to increase the value of their gift – An opportunity not just to raise money but to make contact with your regular giving donors to update them on how their gift is helping, the impact it has.

Regular Giver Reactivation: Lapsed regular givers should be asked why they lapsed so the fundraiser can deal with any dissatisfaction or concerns, often bringing the supporter back on board at a lower amount than they were giving previously. Reactivation and Upgrade activity will deliver some of the strongest response rates and ROIs of all telemarketing [TM] activity.

Legacy : Moving donors to legators cannot be done in a single conversation – talk with your legacy prospects regularly, over a period of time  to guide them through the decision-making process. Consider ‘Enquirer Generation’ activity in order to ‘sow the seed’ and inspire the donor, or ‘Intender/Considerer Stewardship’ activity in order to check in with your legacy prospects, answer their questions or concerns and provide any additional information they may want.

Gift Aid: Quickly increase Gift Aid penetration of your file with a short phone call. The phone is particularly good for targeting those who seem to ignore the Gift Aid ask on donation forms (those that actively avoid thinking about ‘scary and complicated’ tax affairs). I would also recommend calling ‘non-taxpayers’ on your database to see if their situation has changed, and to clarify that they definitely don’t pay any form of income tax.

Event Fundraising: Use the phone to 1. Approach donors and prospects with the registration ask to increase event participant numbers 2. Steward those that have already registered with ‘support calls’ to encourage and support their fundraising efforts and increase average sponsorship values and 3. Deliver post event calls to ‘non-returners’ to increase the number of donors returning a sponsorship donation.

Cold: Cold TM is tough, and an area in decline. For those with a strong brand and happy to wait several years for activity to break even it is still a viable option, though availability of quality data lists at volume is still a challenge.

Two stage recruitment: The limited availability of cold data (along with a decline in performance of other acquisition channels over the years) has led charities to develop two stage strategies, first building their own prospect pools of ‘hand-raisers’ and secondly phoning them with the conversion ask. SMS micro giving, street prospecting and campaigning are all proven tactics for growing prospect pools. More recently technology allows charities to harvest their web visitors too.

Database Names: Before embarking on any cold activity I would urge you to first audit your database and determine what prospects and supporters you already have sitting on your file. This data is free, and pre-disposed to supporting your cuase, so perfect for calling with a conversion ask. Most charities are sitting on a goldmine of data, whether its traders, campaigners, info requesters, event participants, Just Giving sponsors…

Cash conversion: The phone is commonly used to approach new, active and lapsed cash donors with a conversion to regular giving ask – use expert fundraisers to explain to your supporters just why regular gifts are so valuable.

Loyalty & Stewardship: Structure a conversation around the known drivers of commitment and loyalty and see significant improvement in retention rates, or use the phone to deliver satisfaction surveys which will drive your communications and loyalty programs going forward.

Regular Giving through Mobile Phones: A very exciting growth area and the next best thing since the Direct Debit!  At Pell & Bales we work with Cymba to deliver Connected – a platform that allows supporters to take control of their monthly SMS gift direct from their mobile phone and delivers engaging content to that very same hand-set.

Cash Appeals: Mid-High value and Capital Appeals can work well on the phone. A lower value  cash ask can struggle to break even however, so at Pell & Bales tend to combine the phone with mail when targeting lower value donors (allowing for a much shorter phone call and therefore a lower call cost) – A great way to give your fundraising a fast and significant cash injection (therfore popular at year-end and in emergencies).

Emergency Fundraising: The phone can’t be beaten when a rapid response is needed. At Pell & Bales we work with several disaster relief organisations and have several ‘on the shelf’ campaigns that are ready to call within hours of disaster striking.

Phew! That completes my whistle-stop tour of campaign types. There is so much more to say about each and every one of these fundraising areas,  and with a promise to deliver more on each in the future why not leave a comment and let us know which campaign type you would most like us to provide more case studies, theory and practical advise on. And look out for the third and final part of the series next week: the basics of designing and executing a telephone campaign.

Until then, enjoy the New Year celebrations.

2 thoughts on “Telephone Fundraising Part 2: How to use the phone in fundraising

  1. Pingback: Telephone Fundraising Part 3- Designing and Delivering a Campaign « Pell & Bales

  2. Pingback: Recommended Fundraising Reading | changefundraising

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