How to Coach Tele-Fundraising Volunteers for Your Nonprofit

Telemarketing can be an excellent board or volunteer group effort. If someone involved with your nonprofit organization works in an office that has multiple telephone lines, see whether you can borrow the office for an evening. Early evening (6:00 to 8:30 p.m.) on weeknights is generally considered the best time to call, but telemarketers now frequently call during the day and on weekends as well.

Gather your volunteer team an hour before beginning. Feed them a good meal and give them a pep talk. Building camaraderie among the callers can relax anyone who’s nervous. Setting a group goal for the evening and mapping it on a big chart can build morale.

Inform callers that they must deliver the message in a clear, and friendly voice. They shouldn’t rush, but they also shouldn’t leave holes in the conversation that the call recipient can close before the caller can ask for a contribution. They should ask for a specific contribution and confirm the amount. They also should tell potential donors that they’re volunteers; this may make call recipients more likely to pay attention.

Provide your callers with information about each household they’re calling, including a recommended gift request. You base your request on the potential donor’s past contributions to your organization and others. Sometimes you’re just guessing. That’s okay so long as your callers are good listeners and deftly adjust the amount they’re requesting in response to what they hear.

If, after a gift is pledged, you feel that you asked for too little money, don’t despair. You can ask the donor to upgrade his gift next time.

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