Fundraising Permission

04/08/2016 at 22:18 Leave a comment

Clay BuckI am fortunate to have a friend in fundraising and life – His name is Clay Buck and we go back. I asked him for some advice on donor outreach – and I think it applies to a donor call centre or meeting a new donor. May I say, Clay ran one of the most successful donor call centres in fundraising. So there! Check out his blog Annual Fund Lab.
Clay wrote about getting a donor/prospects permission…..

  1. Start by introducing yourself . . . . suggest/train the callers that the phone is like the door to your house.  When a stranger knocks on the door, what do we do?  Peek through the peek hole to see who it is – that’s Caller ID.  If we are comfortable talking with them, how do we open the door?  With the chain still latched or the door blocked until we know who they are . . . that’s the Introduction.  It’s only when we’re completely comfortable with the person and we trust them that we invite them in, put on a kettle and have some cookies, er, biscuits.  Whatever.  😉

So , then, the Introduction – very energetic, warm/fuzzy, they have five seconds to make this work or the call is over.  It’s THE most important part of the call:

“Hi, my name is Clay Buck and I’m a 4th Year at the University; may I please speak to Jack Spratt?”   [Never, never, never ask “How are you?” Always introduce yourself first.  If you start with, “May I speak to Jack Spratt?” before they know who you are, they’re on guard and hesitant.  Would you let a stranger into your house?”]  (Maybe this is an American thing, but EVERY telemarketer asks “how are you?”  Immediate turn-off because it’s SO over-used.”)

“This is Jack.”

“Jack, I’m so glad to have reached you!  As I said, I’m a 4th year at the University studying Wombat Wrestling and I am really fortunate to get to talk to alumni like you!  I’m calling tonight to make sure that we have your information correct in our records and share a few updates from campus . . . “

  1. Relationship Building

Read the fantastic networking book Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazi . . . he says,

“People want to talk about three things:  their work, their kids/family, their personal passions.”  

Get the alum talking about themselves and they’ll talk themselves into a gift.

“Jack, if you don’t mind my asking [asking permission to open the door a little further], what have you been doing since graduation?”  (obviously tailor that to the age of the alum – since graduation, since you were last on campus, in your career, etc. etc. etc.)

“Jack, I understand that you and Jill live in Alice Springs now.  What took you to Alice Springs?”

“Jack, I see that you studied Wombat Wrestling – I’m a Wombat Wrestler, too, do you have any advice for me as I go about searching for a job after graduation?”

  1. Move into the details

“Jack, since I’ve got you on the phone, I want to be sure we have your correct information so we can keep you updated with the alumni magazine and other information . . . are you still receiving email at”  And is your address still xxxxxxx?”

The reason I suggest doing the relationship building before confirming details is that it’s much harder to recover a transactional call . . .i.e. we’ve covered data and now we’ve got to move to rapport building and only the very skilled conversationalist can do that.  The goal is to get Jack talking – the 80/20 rule applies here.  Jack should talk 80% of the time, the fundraiser only 20% . . . or less!  Discussing demographic data makes it more difficult to get to the donor’s interest or passions. I did get a call from a student who did it VERY successfully by confirming my address and then getting me to talk about living in Las Vegas.  Stupid, I fell for it and was out $100 by the end of seven minutes.

Once the demographics are confirmed, move into the discussion of what’s happening on campus, thanking them for the gift, etc.  One last thing is that I’d really encourage you to find a story . . . . SOME story, ANY story about a student who was helped or something positive happened, e.g.,

“Jack, I’d like to tell you about one of my friends here on campus, Humpty.  See, Humpty had a terrible, terrible fall.  Do you remember that wall right by the student union?  Yeah, Humpty fell off of it.  He’s ok!  But only because our students were able to help him.  And they were only able to do so because of the generous help of our fellow alumni.”

From here you have opened the door more to allow for a deeper discussion about the donor/alumni/prospects passions and interests – to determine what they may be interested in giving to.

Entry filed under: Fundraising. Tags: , , , .

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