5 Things to Never Do on Your Telefundraising Calls
When compiling a list of the “don’ts” of telephone fundraising, people’s immediate suggestion for No. 1 might be, “Don’t pick up the phone — it might be a telemarketer!”
But since the goal of making such a list would be to help telephone fundraisers rather than hurt them, maybe that’s not such a good idea.
In Stephen’s book, “Effective Telephone Fundraising,” he suggests plenty of “do’s” — things you can do to make effective telephone fundraising calls. But the “don’ts” are often just as important — if not more so. Here are five situations to avoid:
1. Don’t neglect to ask permission to speak
In the cyber fundraising world, they call this “opt in” or “opt out.” In telephone fundraising, it’s simply asking the prospect to speak with you. A range of nuance is available to the fundraiser — from the interrogative, “Is now a good time?” to the declarative, “I’d like to speak with you a few moments about XYZ Charity, if that’s OK” — to give the prospect the opportunity to opt out. It’s simple courtesy.
The telephone is an interruptive medium. Your call is either coming into the prospect’s home, office or even automobile. You’re interrupting her time, mind and focus. Barging through by telephone is like a door–to-door brush salesman ringing your bell, and the moment you open the door, sticking his foot in the crack and proceeding to make a pitch. Rude!
What if the prospect chooses to opt out? You can try to arrange a more convenient time when he will opt in. If you can’t, chances are you wouldn’t receive a gift anyway, even by sticking your foot in the door.
2. Don’t fail to ask for a specific amount
This is one of the most difficult things for new fundraisers to overcome — the fear of steeling one’s self to make a proposal with a dollar tag attached. The maxim “ask and you shall receive” is indeed apt.