Getting Telefundraising in Gear
Another key to success is outreach. Though federal do-not-call legislation doesn't really affect nonprofits -- only requiring them to keep track of and respect prospects' and donors' wishes to not be solicited by phone -- there's a negative perception of telemarketing and telefundraising that has to be overcome and makes it even harder to reach potential donors. "It takes more energy, more times dialing that phone than it ever has before to reach the maximum percentage of your population," Pavelka says. Organizations have to respond to this challenge by doing the math and finding ways to reach the maximum percentage of their population, she adds.
"Figure out how many hours you need to reach your population, how many calls per hour you can make, etc., and then make sure that you are staffing properly, whether that be with paid students or volunteers," Pavelka says.
And like a personal solicitation or direct mail, make sure your telefundraising calls have a clear ask and ask level. Don't get nervous about being clear in your expectations of prospects, Pavelka says. "[Nonprofits] have a tendency to get kind of vague and not be clear on their expectations, and that doesn't end up serving anybody in the end. The clearer they can be in their expectations, I think the better for the institution," she adds.
Kathleen E. Pavelka can be reached via http://www.telecomp.org