Blog

Stewardship v. Telemarketing

by | Jan 25, 2024

“It already is the end of the year, ma’am,” said the aggravated gentleman on the other end of the line. It was around December 20th last year.

He was replying to my comment that I planned to do all my year-end giving online next week. I sit down and take care of giving to all the nonprofits I support at one time. It’s like a Christmas present to myself. It feels great — it’s become a little tradition of mine.

This guy was pushing for a gift. Right now. He just had to get me in this brand-new car! That’s what it felt like.

Also: gross. It made me agitated and he kept pushing. I did make a gift, but the bad feeling lingers …

I know most organizations hire fundraising calls out to telemarketing firms. But these people are representing your group. Sometimes it’s the only time a donor will speak to a human about donating to your nonprofit. You need to make it count.

Some things to think about when developing scripts for telemarketing fundraising firms calling on behalf your nonprofit:

Beware of the long list. My surly telemarketing friend steamrolled me by droning on about everything the nonprofit “got done” this year. He wouldn’t let me interject. Whatever accomplishments may have been mentioned were lost on me because it just sounded like the teacher from Charlie Brown after a while. Build in instructions that say “pause to get feedback” or some note that indicates a break. You can’t count on a telemarketer being intuitive enough to do that for you.

Have instructions for tone. It should go without saying. But indicating that you want the person calling on behalf of your organization to sound “helpful”, “cheerful”, “upbeat”, etc. is important. I’ve even included instructions for breathing (deep breaths before the call and breathing from the belly during the call) and smiling (ALWAYS smile as you’re dialing/connecting — gets your head right).

Be explicit about what you DON’T want. I guess the shortest version of this is “Don’t be an asshole.” But you can’t really say that to someone, can you? But maybe you can say: “Avoid sounding transactional/salesy.” Or “Avoid pushing for a gift if someone indicates a pledge or plan to give at a later time.”

They’re seemingly small distinctions. But they go a long way toward making calls on behalf of your nonprofit to benefit your donor stewardship plans instead of tanking them.

 

 

 

Recent Blog Posts

Standout Year End Strategies that Still Work

Being someone who develops nonprofit communications, it’s interesting to sit on the other side of the table … to be the recipient of appeals. My mailbox runneth over in December. Here’s what stood out for me and compelled me to take action. Personal touches. A little...

Five R’s for Limbo Week—Dec 26 Through Jan 2

The week between Christmas and the New Year always seems to go one of two ways...and go hard. It's either a time warp where you forget you're employed, time doesn't exist and the re-entry to your regular, human life is brutal. Or, you have a ton of things to do and...

M&C Doggos & Cattos—Minerva (Minnie)

Minerva is a singular and unique calico lady. Simultaneously aloof and snuggly, life is lived on her terms and she is not shy about letting you know she wants to be alone...she wants to play...she would like dinner...really, whatever she wants whenever she wants it....

M&C Doggos & Cattos—Maxwell

This is Maxwell. My black lab mix and work from home supervisor. He's the spoiled child of two millennials, and has the run of the household. Maxwell - Owned by Colin Bennett Loves: Bananas, carrots, peanut butter, belly scratches, playing ball at the park, anything...

What Do You Do With That?

THE FIRST IN A SERIES OF BLOGS ON HOW A HUMANITIES DEGREE QUALIFIES YOU FOR ALL KINDS OF AMAZING JOBS UPON GRADUATION. I majored in art history in college, which meant I was asked regularly, “what do you do with that?” A lot, as it turns out. As a student, eager to...

LIKE OUR POSTS? SUBSCRIBE!

A monthly recap of Insights & Ideas from the M&C team will be delivered to your inbox.

"*" indicates required fields

Subscribe
Name*
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.