- Fri, March 23 2007
- Filed under: Fundraising essentials
What’s the role of the phone call in your marketing?
In the NonProfit Times last month, this is what one telemarketer said in a story on telemarketing. (I’d link but I can’t find their story online anywhere, I only have it in their print publication.)
In the story, John Kiminecz, director of marketing strategy for a telemarketer called InfoCision, says you have to include some kind of shock in your appeals. He is quoted thusly:
We let people know what their money is being spent for. ‘Mr. Jones, if we don’t raise $185 million, children are going to starve. Mr Jones, $10 will feed a family of five for a week. Can you feed two families of five with your $20?’... We don’t spare the adjectives when painting the picture. ‘Mr. Jones, children in Ethiopia are going out into the rain and eating cakes of mud and grass just to feel full.’ You’ve got to take 75 to 100 words and pack as much power in them as possible. But choose your words carefully. If you shock someone too much, it can work against you.
I think that’s okay dialing-for-dollars advice EXCEPT for the ‘children are going to starve’ blackmail line.
But shouldn’t the phone be about more than dialing for dollars? What amazes me is the whole story in the NonProfit Times is about how to ask for money. What if the phone were also about shocking donors with something else?
I lead a workshop earlier this week in Fort Lauderdale at the Community Foundation of Broward County, and a wonderful fundraiser there told a story of how he had one donor who always gave $1,000 in December. Then he noticed that the donation went up to $5,000. So he picked up the phone to personally THANK the donor and to find out how he was doing—as well as what his nonprofit was doing right, since the gift had increased. It turned out the donor was terminally ill. He so appreciated the call, and the fact someone cared enough to thank him and ask him about his life, that he ended up leaving the bulk of his $2 million estate to the nonprofit when he died. All because of one call. Now that’s how to use a phone.
OK, so you can’t call everyone just to say thank you. But what if you—you, not a telemarketing firm—picked up the phone and called three random donors who’d been good supporters just to say thank you.
That’s a way to shock them that is truly unusual.