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i-fund News: Using Phones to Unlock Donor Potential

November, 2010

Amergent I-Fund

 By Will Swan

We have talked a lot about integrating direct mail with online fundraising, but we need to point out that carefully crafted phone calls to donors can make the difference between an average donor and a donor that becomes a Friend for Life.

i-fund telemarketer 11.29.10I say carefully crafted because that’s what today’s best telemarketing is – a personal phone call targeted to donors that are interested in making another gift or a pledge. They may want to support you with a monthly sustainer contribution. It’s all about identifying the right donors and talking with them in a way that brings them closer to the “core” of the organization.

Nick Stavarz, principal of Synergy Direct Marketing Solutions and an Amergent partner, puts it this way, “We help our clients to move donors from outside the loyal core into the center of it and up the loyalty ladder, increasing their value to the organization every step of the way.”

Here are some of the ways that Amergent uses telemarketing as part of an integrated strategy to increase donor loyalty:

  • Calling new direct mail donors to get a second gift: New donors are impressionable and want to do the right thing for the nonprofit that they have decided to support. Calling new donors to get a second gift within 5-7 months of their first gift has generated fulfilled response rates as high as 22% and increases new, one-time donor conversion rates often by 10% or more.
  • Converting online advocacy names to donors: These are donors that have signed an online petition or completed some form of non-financial action. It can take some work to change these people’s advocacy mindset to one where they consider a gift. That’s why phones work so well here because the caller has time to have a dialog with the person and answer any questions they have. Telephone programs to non-donor advocacy names can produce fulfilled response rates of 5-10% and Synergy Direct Marketing Solutions has a break-even guarantee, so there is no financial risk to the client.
  • Reactivating high-value long lapsed donors: It can be a challenge to get the attention of donors that haven’t given you a gift for a while. Many lapsed donors are still willing and able to continue supporting the organization, but the message simply isn’t getting through anymore. Targeted phone calls to donors that haven’t made a gift for several years are a good way to remind the lapsed donor how important their support has been and to update them on the latest developments. While these calls generate a 20% fulfilled response rate to the call, the majority of the total gifts after the call are made to direct mail.
  • Converting donors to monthly sustainers: There are many reasons why it’s good for a donor to consider supporting an organization on a monthly basis. While it represents predictable revenue for the organization, it also makes giving easier for donors who often give multiple gifts per year. A direct mail package can only go so far in establishing a rationale for monthly giving. This is why phones are so successful in converting donors to sustainers, because all of the benefits for the particular donor can be presented and discussed in one phone call. The telephone drives high response rates, which is why phone programs typically generate monthly pledge rates of 7%-12% with 10% of those on credit card.

Amergent believes in using telephones in a targeted way as an important part of a multi-channel communications plan. We know the best ways to use this channel – in ways that specific segments of donors understand, and welcome. The goal is to establish another way for donors to connect with you, and to deepen their commitment to your cause.

Do you want to know more about the best way to use telemarketing with your donors?
Email us or call us at (800) 370-7500 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              (800) 370-7500      end_of_the_skype_highlighting.

Amergent Resources

  • What are the questions to consider when composing the year-end appeals?
    Read Jack Doyle's thoughts on making your year-end a success.

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