Telemarketing Do’s & Don’ts

In recent years “telemarketing” has lost favour with fundraisers and donors alike.  However, the once popular acquisition and engagement technique is experiencing a resurgence thanks to COVID-19.

Restrictions on events and face-to-face solicitation, has caused fundraisers to revisit the telemarketing as a way to connect with current and prospective supporters.  Paul Weis from Wesley Mission QLD sung the praises picking up the phone in the 2020 Fundraising Time Capsule recently released by OKP in partnership with Giving Trends.

“We are phoning more and emailing less – it’s been awesome to know our donors in a greater way.”

Fundraisers like Paul, who have turned to phoning during the global pandemic are starting to see that when approached correctly, telemarketing can be an extremely effective way to grow support for their cause. Speaking with donors and prospects on the phone provides the opportunity to build connections, uncover motivations and address any barriers to giving.  It gives your organisation a human face and a point of difference in cluttered and competitive marketplace.

Here are our top Do’s and Don’ts for a successful telemarketing campaign…

Do be prepared…Know what you are going to say and who you are going to talk to.  It may help to have a script or notes to work off, so you can stay on message but also be prepared to go naturally where the conversation takes you. Also make sure you have read any relevant information about each donor or person listed (their past donations, preferences, involvement etc).  This will help you make conversation and ensure donors/volunteers are appropriate acknowledged for their past support.

Do have a genuine and compelling reason to call…It is important that you have a compelling reason to call and that you can convey that reason succinctly within the first few seconds of the conversation.  Telemarketing isn’t only for soliciting donations.  In fact, calling for a reason other than money can make recipients more receptive to your call and increase the likelihood of a donation at a later date.  Phone to thank them for their past support, wish them a Merry Christmas, invite them to participate in something, share important news or ask them to complete a survey.  If appropriate, a donation could be suggested at the end of the call as long as it doesn’t come across as an underhanded.

Do choose your callers carefully…The best people to call are your staff.  They have the knowledge and passion to engage prospective donors in conversation and respond to any questions or objections they may have.  For the same reason, you may also like to consider using volunteers or past donors to do the calling.  When an external resource is your only option, using an Australian based telemarketing service is preferable.  Be detailed in your brief and arm callers with as much information as possible.  Warn them about any issues they are likely to encounter so they are not on the back-foot if challenged.

Don’t be too pushy…Always make sure you ask the person you are calling if it is a good time to talk and offer to call them back at a more convenient time.  If they refuse whatever request you are making, be polite, understanding, and respectful of their decision.  Handled appropriately, a “no” can become a “not now” instead of a “never” and will leave the door open for future support.

Don’t break privacy law…If a called ask to be removed from your call or mail list, you must respect their wishes and record their request in a way that will ensure you comply.

Don’t waste time…It is important you keep the conversation on-track so you don’t waste the time of the person you are calling, or the time you have available to make calls.  Have an exit strategy to politely wrap up any calls with people who love a chat or who are clearly not interested in talking.

For those who are still apprehensive about the effectiveness of telemarketing in today’s fundraising environment, OKP Philanthropy & Marketing offers a range of services and support including strategy development, coaching and the creation or resources. Please get in touch to find out more on 1300 721 799.

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