Telemarketing … the ‘Necessary Evil’
First, let me apologize to all of my friends and colleagues in the telemarketing industry for the above headline.
In fact, many of the telemarketers I know are some of the best and most ethical marketers in the business. However, I used this headline because too many nonprofit organizations view telemarketing as an untactful medium that should be avoided at all costs. A couple of donor complaints about dinner-time calls and a few jokes from late-night comedians usually are all it takes to turn a development officer against the use of phoning in his or her solicitation programs.
To those opposed to telemarketing, I have to defend this medium as a “necessary evil.”
The selective use of telemarketing is an essential element in getting the most out of any fundraising program. No other medium, including direct mail and the Internet, can achieve the same results as telemarketing in many key areas.
In building monthly giving programs, no other medium can successfully and quickly recruit as many donors as telemarketing. Nor can any other medium recruit as many higher-value monthly donors — those who give by credit card or electronic funds transfer.
Telemarketing also is the most effective medium in upgrading donors. The “give-and-take” that ensues between a telemarketer and a donor provides an excellent opportunity to better gauge a donor’s giving potential and his or her commitment to the organization.
And telemarketing is second only to e-marketing in generating the quickest response to a major event. Those organizations that have established telemarketing programs usually can react in a matter of hours to events that affect their purpose, such as hurricanes and tsunamis for relief organizations, or political events for advocacy organizations, political parties and candidates.
Telemarketing also has proven to be an incredibly effective bed-fellow of the newest direct-response medium: e-marketing. There’s no better way to gain the e-mail addresses of current donors, nor is there a better way to convert e-mail activists into contributing supporters.