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The unrivaled influence and effectiveness of telefundraising call centers is in their ability to coerce money from constituents who cannot afford to contribute. This cannot be overemphasized, especially with retired elderly adults on a fixed income. Relying on sheer volume of calls, these centers are sure to secure contributions purely based off of how many contacts one individual caller can make per hour. Despite this proven mantra of contacting as many potential contributors as possible, ceaselessly and without mercy, the true hook of their efforts lies in the targeted, scripted pitch and the competency of the trained professional fundraiser’s ability to refocus the person on the end of line towards what the issues are they are calling about and why donating is critical and urgent to the receivers life and interests in particular.

These call centers fail time and time again in their overt attempt to overwhelm the person being called with non-personal, albeit persuasive, scripted dialogue. If they say they can’t talk, the fundraiser will quite often still launch into their script. The most effective telephone fundraisers utilize empathy when necessary and passion and vigor when required to respond in kind to their reservations and then refocus the listener, prodding them with simple questions, and manipulating the called towards getting habituated to saying ‘yes’ and coming to their own realization that these are efforts and initiatives they support and would like to fund.

Essential notes for telephone fundraising efforts:

  • Always say your first and last name.
  • When addressing potential contributors always use Mr. or Mrs. + FULL NAME when obtainable. ‘Hi there, is Mr. John Smith available?’
  • If at all feasible, call from a local number the person you are calling will recognize as local and want to pick-up.
  • Even if they are a ‘No’, ALWAYS THANK THEM for taking the time to speak with you and be courteous and gracious upon introduction and conclusion.
  • You never get a second chance to make a first impression. Smile through the phone and bring your own excitement to the conversation to keep them listening.