There comes a time in both the private and non-profit sector where you will be asked to pick up the phone and find future investors. Whether this is a future partner to help financially push your future endeavors or various donors to support a life changing cause, you will find quickly that fundraising on phone is not the easy thing to accomplish. Let’s be honest, the vast majority of the public are hesitate in parting ways with their hard earn cash. So how do you do it? How can you make the impossible dream a reality?
The reasons come down to two entities: The first is the overall preparation and knowledge of your cause and or product. The second is your awareness of who you are talking to. In person, this can be a very different story. There you can often charm a person through your personality and image. On the phone, you are faced with a variety of obstacles where your pitch and your communicative skills are the sole determiners for gaining a donor.
So how is it done?
First and foremost, make sure you are calling at an appropriate time. Anyone who has ever used the phone knows that timing is everything. Most people are at work from at least 9 am to 5 pm. Any calls during that time can be conflicting. Same thing goes for any call after 8 pm in which people are usually at dinner with their families. Be cognizant of these issues. This can save you an ear full from a potential-donor. In addition, be mindful of time zones scheduling. If you are on the east coast and you are calling someone in California, the same concept applies.
As for the pitch itself, never start off by asking for money. Show how that person can make the difference. Whenever you are talking to a donor, you want to be upfront about how the donation will directly benefit your cause. Nobody wants to get a phone call from a stranger asking them to part ways with their hard earn money. Instead, begin with a simple introduction and talk about your cause. Discuss its history, its background, and its need and what they can do to make that transformative impact. Doing so will help sell your cause and gain you the necessary attention you need to close the sale.
When you are talking to the person, try and make the experience organic and authentic. People are smart. They know when you are reading off of a standardized script. When talking to a potential donor, make the experience natural. Use both professional and genuine conversational content that can help engage potential donors into a casual conversation.
Now while you are in this conversation, do not forget your goal in mind. Below the surface, fundraising is not about what a donor can do for you, it is about what you can do for the donor. To accomplish this, ask them a variety of questions and bounce various questions of your own. Try and gauge what they are interested in so that you can leverage that in pushing for a stronger donation. This often takes a lot of practice before it can be naturally and effectively executed. After every call, evaluate how each call went and what you can do to improve it.
Last but not least, stay organized. For phone donations, you want the overall process to be smooth and straightforward. Having any trough with the system can often compromise a potential donor. That being said, get acquainted with your system. Know how it works and understand what you can improve so that the logistics work in your favor.