Tips for Increasing Phone Contacts
One of the biggest challenges to telefundraising is making contact with the people you’re calling. But Jim Chmielewski, vice president of client services for telemarketing firm Public Interest Communications, says it’s worth the effort.
For one thing, you can get immediate feedback from the person you’re contacting, whereas with direct mail, it takes time to receive feedback -- if you get any at all. So if an organization is looking to test a new case statement or issue, the telephone is great for that because it can get immediate feedback from its members.
The telephone also works well when trying to convert online leads, upgrading current donors to a monthly giving program and feeling out planned-giving prospects.
“The phone works wonderfully to explain the program and lift the results and acquire new givers,” Chmielewski says.
And for organizations that integrate telefundraising with a direct-mail package, Chmielewski says even if people contacted over the phone say no to donating over the phone, the phone call lifts the next direct-mail piece the organization sends out.
One way to improve contact rates to create a killer telefundraising program that best leverages these benefits is by trying different times of day. And, just as in direct mail, the more accurate the numbers are, the more people you’ll contact, cutting down on the number of wrong numbers and disconnects you get during the calling program.
A common standard practice, but something Chmielewski says people who haven’t done telemarketing don’t necessarily know about, is to telematch or computer number search the file right before calling it. He recommends doing this within a week before doing a telefundraising program.
“A lot of people turn their nose down to telemarketing because nobody likes to, quite frankly, get a telemarketing call. But the organizations would not do it if it was not effective. It does lift response rates across the board,” Chmielewski says. “Those who, basically, have a good concept of the overall fundraising scheme know that the telephone is an essential part of the plan.”