Telefundraising Challenges Facing Nonprofits and Educational Institutions

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The support that donors give to nonprofits is what fuels their operations. Getting the right individuals to pledge support and cultivating their loyalty is not always easy. In recent years, the nonprofit sector has experienced some tough times. The last economic recession left most people struggling to recover their financial footing. It is only now that the pace is picking up steadily. For that reason, charities are on the lookout for the most effective means of raising money.

Telefundraising and phonathons are alternatives that have dependably performed for nonprofit organizations. Making calls to donors has a personal touch to it, and that goes a long way when convincing people to give money to your cause. Telephone call campaigns are also an excellent complement to other communication forms such as email and direct mail. Fundraising professionals and volunteers can call donors to follow up on an email message or direct mail piece to give it an added layer of donor-cause intimacy.

To get the most out of telefundraising nonprofits need to be aware of certain obstacles and difficulties facing their paid or volunteer callers. These are situations you can work around when performing telefundraising to contact donors and acquisition lists.

Sticking to “Free” Processes

Obviously, a nonprofit doesn’t want an extravagant and expensive campaign software solution for its fundraising campaigns. That’s why so many nonprofits and alumni associations stick with low-cost or free solutions: paper, a spreadsheet, home-grown databases, etc. If your campaign is small, this may work fine. However, as your donor base grows, your approach must scale with it. What you once managed just fine on paper or a simple spreadsheet gets time consuming and confusing when you increase your target population of donors. It’s a recipe for negative ROI or, at the very least, a less successful campaign than you could have had if you selected the right solution.

As your donor base grows, your #telefundraising approach must scale with it. #phonathon Click To Tweet

Evaluate your process. How much time are you spending compiling call sheets or spreadsheets? How much time do callers spend on manually filling out forms or looking up donors? Do a time study then compare that to the time your team takes with a telefundraising solution, such as VanillaSoft. (You can take a free trial to test it against the status quo.) If your callers are dialing more potential donors and raising more money, it may be a great investment for your organization.

Failing to Pay Attention to Scripts

Almost every institution out there has a script they use for callers to use. For smaller organizations, it’s tempting to copy the successful scripts of other organizations. When doing your research on successful scripts, keep in mind that you should look for insights only. Your organization has its own mission and values that you should reflect in your fundraising appeals. Copying a script from another organization may water down (or worse, confuse) your message with potential donors. Write your own script or contact a local marketing or public relations firm that does pro bono work to get a compelling, mission-specific script.

Another consideration when thinking about call scripts has to do with implementation. Training and role playing using the script with team members certainly helps to educate your fundraising team. However, a software platform that includes logical branch scripting will make it even easier for your volunteers. Logical branch scripting keeps your callers on message, put objections and rebuttals at their fingertips, and help them quickly gather information and responses.

Not Using Auto Dialing and Next-Best Donor Logic

If your team has hundreds or thousands of people to call, manual dialing is just going to limit your ability to reach donors quickly. Progressive auto dialing, coupled with next-best donor calling logic, will increase your contact rates and ensure you are reaching out to the highest-value donors first.

Not Perfecting the Voicemail Message

Many times fundraisers do a lot of great work to perfect the call script, but they forget to perfect the voicemail message script. A voicemail message is an important part of the message you want your donors to hear. If your volunteer’s message is confusing or rambling, you probably won’t get a call back and the donor may still screen your calls. Check out The Top Performer’s Voicemail Playbook. It’s written for inside sales reps, but many of those tips are applicable to fundraisers, too.

Are You Ready for Your Next Telefundraising Campaign?

Technology has provided numerous avenues for nonprofits and educational institutions to raise funds. Phone calls, however, offer a chance to create one-to-one relationships with donors that can be hard to accomplish any other way. Short of face-to-face communication, phone calls are the next best thing when you want to appeal to a donor. If you’re looking for a way to increase your call rates, consider giving VanillaSoft a try. With a free trial, you can get a sense of how productivity increases can improve your fundraising initiatives.