As I was reading Jeff Brooks post on ‘How to treat your donors as heroes’ recently I had two thoughts: 1. It’s a great post and 2. If I was writing a piece on ‘How to treat your telephone Fundraisers as heroes’ the tips I would give wouldn’t be too different.
Here at Pell & Bales we talk about ‘championing your Fundraisers’ a lot, we talk about supporting them, inspiring them, engaging with them. The reasons are plentiful – it will drive better results, better conversations with your donors, and it will bring you closer to your fundraising and supporters by proxy.
See below my very slightly edited version of Jeff’s seven tips;
WRITE AND DESIGN FOR
Ok, the messaging is targeted at and tailored for the donor, but more than that, the telephone script is a tool. A tool for the Fundraiser. The best scripts are flexible, adaptable, and leave room for the fundraiser to personalise the story and the ask. They are written with the FR in mind – this is not ‘copy ‘this is a conversation ‘guide’, it needs be deliverable in a credible way, it needs to equip the fundraiser to deal questions and barriers to giving, it needs to be written in spoken language (this means it may not always be grammatically correct or be as heavily branded as much as the brand team would like)
We love stories. We use them all the time in our fundraising – just try shutting Charlie up about it! But stories also have a place when working with your fundraisers. Real fundraiser engagement with the cause and clever script writing allows the fundraiser to tell stories first hand rather than as the third person which can help hugely with the credibility of the call. A fundraiser that has recently visited the run down National Trust property or the local Marie Curie hospice can share their own views and observations e.g. “the thing that shocked me personally was to see..” or “I meet a patient recently that told me…”
INSPIRE, DONT EDUCTAE YOUR
One of the single biggest things to drive good calls is inspired and motivated fundraisers – quite simply, you can hear it in their voice. Never under estimate the impact of bringing in a beneficiary or service user into the campaign centre to share their story with your fundraisers.
This ties into the previously mentioned ‘flexibility of scripts’. But beyond this, the phone could be used in a much more sophisticated way that it is by the majority of charities right now. Your professionally trained fundraisers, and the flexible personalised medium that is the phone could be much better utilised to deliver real donor choice and donor led fundraising. As things stand, our fundraisers can usually offer supporters a Direct Debit, or…a Direct Debit!
Giving donors/fundraisers a choice is about listening too. Listening to what they want, what they need, their preferences and ideas. Meet with your fundraisers regularly – they speak to hundreds of your donors a week – charities have access to a free focus group but aren’t always utilising it.
ACKNOWLEDGE AND THANK IN MEANINGFUL WAYS
I’d love for charities to adopt ‘Fundraiser stewardship’ as a strategy in a similar way we do ‘donor stewardship’. We recruit people that are inspired to pick up the phone and change the world and its our job (we P&B and you the charity) to keep that inspiration alive. It can be a tough and thankless job at times, so regular demonstrations of appreciation go a long way. We’ve even had celebrity videos of thanks in the past, but a humble hand written thank you note or Christmas card from the charity can be equally impactful.
CLOSE THE LOOP
Tied to acknowledgment and thanking, reporting back to fundraisers on what you were able to accomplish through their fundraising is key. Closing the loop builds trust and makes your fundraisers feel good – so the more you do it the more they will want to fundraise for you.
CREATE A GREAT
GIVING FUNDRAISING EXPERIENCE
A great conversation for your fundraiser means a great conversation for your supporter. Provide the tools, appreciation and support as outlined above and it’s win win. I implore charities to treat their agency fundraisers as an extension of their own internal team: to support and engage with all fundraisers as you would your DM Officer, Marketing Exec. or Community Fundraiser that’s recruited directly by the charity. Make it your job to ensure they love their job!