Don't be afraid of telephone outreach: a necessity in the successful fundraiser's toolbox


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Learn why telephone outreach gets a bad rap, how to best use telephone outreach in your fundraising program, and how to choose a great telephone outreach vendor.

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Don't be afraid of telephone outreach: a necessity in the successful fundraiser's toolbox

  1. 1. Don’t be afraid of telephone outreachA necessity in the successful fundraiser’s toolbox
  2. 2. During this session we’ll discuss… •  Why telephone outreach gets a bad rap •  The best use of telephone outreach •  What to look for in a potential telephone outreach vendor •  Tomé’s top telephone tips2
  3. 3. The best telephone call I ever received… •  6 PM / weekday •  The caller was positive, passionate, and genuine •  The script was succinct •  The ask was compelling •  They needed my help to fix X, Y, and Z •  Time was of the essence, could I help now? •  The caller tried to up-sell me3
  4. 4. The best telephone call I ever received… •  Within the hour, I received a follow-up email from the charity thanking me for my gift and providing opportunities for me to learn more about the campaign (or donate again) •  I received a tax receipt for my gift in one week4
  5. 5. Why is telephone outreach hated?5
  6. 6. Contributing factors Fear Lack of Bad timing preparation Poor audience selection Terrible caller6
  7. 7. Secret to success
  8. 8. The secret formula to telefundraising success is… 30% 30% Caller Offer + + 30% 10% Audience Script + (Creative)8
  9. 9. Measuring success
  10. 10. Success metrics •  Contact rate •  Completed calls (regardless of outcome) answered by a human or machine divided by the total number of calls •  Response rate •  Number of gifts (paid and pledged) divided by the number of completed calls •  Average gift •  Gross revenue (paid and pledged) divided by the number of gifts •  Return on investment •  Net revenue divided by total cost10
  11. 11. The case for telephone outreach
  12. 12. The best use of telephone outreach •  Stewardship •  Welcome to our family! •  Thank you for donating, volunteering, signing up for our newsletter, et cetera •  Tell us how we can improve •  Sharing information (good or bad) •  Soliciting donations in an emergency situation or for urgent needs •  Lapsed donor reactivation •  “We haven’t heard from you in a while… Can we share with you…”12
  13. 13. The best use of telephone outreach •  Monthly gift conversion •  Contact donors who demonstrate frequent giving behaviour. Sell your monthly giving program •  Upgrading •  Contact existing monthly donors and ask if they would consider an additional $X/month to help with the rising costs of program delivery •  Multi-channel support •  The true “pre-call,” consider calling your top 100 donors prior to them receiving your direct mail. Tell them to be on the look out for an important letter from the Executive Director of the Mission13
  14. 14. For your consideration… Telephone outreach It’s an effective way to engage donors Stewardship calls make Donors can relate to a voice donors feel valued Real time interactions can uncover valuable information14
  15. 15. For your consideration… Telephone outreach It’s a great way to convert single gift donors to your monthly giving program… • If done properly, telephone outreach can be your organization’s most effective tool to inspire support for and commitment to your monthly giving program It’s a versatile channel • When we mail or email donors, it’s impossible to change our ask, but a skilled caller can hear various cues during conversations with donors and adapt accordingly15
  16. 16. Outsourcing advice
  17. 17. When looking for a telephone outreach vendor •  Ask other local charities or charities in your vertical who they’ve used in the past •  Ask the vendor to provide audio file examples of calls made on behalf of charities. Evaluate the quality of the calls •  Ask for an experienced agent to lead your campaign. The agent should have a minimum two years of fundraising experience •  Better agent = better results •  Ask the vendor about agent turnover. If the average agent tenure is less than 9 months, politely end the conversation and keep looking…18
  18. 18. When looking for a telephone outreach vendor •  Ask the vendor if you can assist with the training of agents •  Offer a tour of office or bring stories to the agents. If the vendor or its agents aren’t interested, look elsewhere. Your organization needs a vendor who: • Will value the life-changing and life-saving work you do every day • Will hold your donors in the highest regard – treating them with respect and care •  Ensure the vendor executes an internal testing phase. Strong vendors work out the kinks of a script before the first donor is called •  Compatible data format19
  19. 19. Tips to improve your in-house telephone outreach20
  20. 20. Tomé’s top telephone tips 1.  Invest the time, effort, and resources necessary to find the best caller(s) •  If it’s a volunteer, great! •  If it’s paid staff – don’t worry, they could raise 10x their salary! 2.  The delivery of a script is more important than the script itself •  Enthusiasm, passion, integrity, emotion, belief •  The caller has less than three seconds to make a positive impression 3.  Have donors’ information on screen. Be prepared! 4.  Think of telephone outreach as an invitation to join your organization – not to beg for money 5.  Don’t be afraid21
  21. 21. Thank you!Philip Tomé, Account DirectorRuss | 416-970-5975