rotary telephone

by Annie Spratt, Unsplash

As most Millennials will tell you, phone calls can be a source of anxiety and stress. While asking for donations over the phone can be a daunting task, it is an essential part of any successful fundraising campaign. With the rise of digital fundraising, it may seem like phone fundraising is becoming obsolete, but the truth is that it is still a valuable tool for reaching donors and securing donations.

In this article, we will discuss the best practices for asking for donations over the phone and how to make the most out of this fundraising method.

Why Phone Fundraising is Still Relevant

Personal Connection

man at desk on the phone

by Berkeley Communications, Unsplash

One of the main advantages of phone fundraising is the personal connection it allows you to make with potential donors. Unlike email or social media, a phone call allows for a two-way conversation where you can build rapport and establish a personal connection with the donor.

Immediate Response

Another benefit of phone fundraising is the immediate response it can elicit. With digital fundraising, donors may take their time to respond or may even forget to donate altogether. But with a phone call, you can get an immediate answer and potentially secure a donation on the spot.

Reaching Older Donors

While digital fundraising may be more popular among younger generations, phone fundraising is still an effective way to reach older donors who may not be as tech-savvy. This demographic often has more disposable income and may be more likely to donate over the phone.

Preparing for the Call

Before you start making phone calls, it is important to have a plan in place. Here are some steps you can take to prepare for your phone fundraising campaign.

Set a Goal

Before you start making calls, it is important to set a goal for your fundraising campaign. This will give you a target to work towards and help you measure the success of your efforts.

Create a Script

neon sign that asks "What is your story?"

by Etienne Girardet, Unsplash

While you don’t want to sound robotic or scripted, having a general outline of what you want to say can help you stay on track during the call. Your script should include an introduction, a brief explanation of your cause, and a clear ask for a donation. 

You may even want to practice saying things out loud before you dial anyone. Practice speaking slowly and clearly. It will help you feel less tongue-tied during your conversation. However, try not to read from the script while you’re on the phone. This always sounds robotic to listeners.

Make sure you have different scripts for people you know have donated in the past versus new potential donors.

Train Your Team

If you have a team of volunteers or staff members making calls, it is important to train them on how to effectively ask for donations over the phone. This can include practicing the script, discussing common objections, and providing tips for building rapport with potential donors.

Have a Follow-Up Plan

Not all calls will result in a donation, but that doesn’t mean the conversation is over. Have a plan in place for following up with potential donors who may need more time to consider or may want to donate at a later date. Tell them about other ways to donate if they’re not comfortable handing out financial information over the phone. You may want to have information on hand about volunteer opportunities, too, if they say that they care about your organization, but cannot donate in the moment.

Making the Call

Now that you have a plan in place, it’s time to start making calls. Here are some tips for making the most out of your phone fundraising efforts.

Be Polite and Professional

When making a fundraising call, it is important to be polite and professional. Remember that you are representing your organization and want to make a good impression on potential donors.

Introduce Yourself and Your Cause

Start the call by introducing yourself and your organization. With so many spam and scam calls these days, you want to assure potential donors that you and your organization are legitimate.

Give a brief overview of your cause and why it is important to you. This will help establish a personal connection with the donor and make them more likely to listen to your ask.

Explain How Donations Will Be Used

Donors want to know how their money will be used and the impact it will have. Be prepared to explain how donations will be used to further your cause and make a difference.

Make a Clear Ask

red ask sign brett jordan unsplash

Don’t beat around the bush when it comes to asking for a donation. Be direct and make a clear ask, usually for a specific amount. This will make it easier for the donor to make a decision and will increase the chances of securing a donation.

If you’re calling previous donors, you may want to leave the amount a little bit open-ended. This way if someone is willing to donate a much higher amount, they can suggest it themselves rather than agreeing to the $25-$50 you’re asking first-time donors for. 

Handle Objections Gracefully

Not all calls will result in a donation, and that’s okay. Be prepared to handle objections gracefully and have responses ready for common objections. This will show the donor that you are prepared and knowledgeable about your cause.

Thank the Donor

Whether the call results in a donation or not, always thank the donor for their time and consideration. This will leave a positive impression and may make them more likely to donate in the future.

Measuring Success

happy man on the phone

by Good Faces, Unsplash

After your phone fundraising campaign, it is important to measure its success. This will help you determine what worked well and what can be improved for future campaigns. Here are some metrics you can use to measure the success of your phone fundraising efforts.

Number of Calls Made

The number of calls made is a simple metric to track, but it can give you an idea of the reach of your campaign. This can also help you determine the success of your call list and if you need to make any adjustments for future campaigns.

Number of Donations Secured

The ultimate goal of phone fundraising is to secure donations. Keep track of the number of donations secured to measure the success of your campaign. This will also help you determine the average donation amount and the overall impact of your efforts.

Conversion Rate

The conversion rate is the percentage of calls that resulted in a donation. This metric can help you determine the effectiveness of your call script and the overall success of your campaign.

Average Call Duration

The average call duration can give you an idea of how engaged potential donors were during the call. A longer call duration may indicate that the donor was interested in your cause and may be more likely to donate in the future.

The Fundraising Center Phone Number

phone in woman's hand

by Priscilla du Preez, Unsplash

If you are looking to start a phone fundraising campaign, you may be wondering if you need a specific phone number for your fundraising center. While having a dedicated phone number can make it easier to track calls and donations, it is not necessary.

You can use your organization’s main phone number for fundraising calls, or you can use a virtual phone number that can be forwarded to any phone line. This can be a cost-effective option for smaller organizations.

Calling All Fundraisers

Phone fundraising may not be as popular as digital fundraising these days, but it is still a valuable tool for reaching donors and securing donations. By following best practices and making the most out of your calls, you can make phone fundraising a successful part of your fundraising strategy. Remember to always be polite and professional, make a clear ask, and thank the donor for their time. With the right approach, you can make a big impact with phone fundraising.