February 19, 2024
Nonprofit Technology & Fundraising Blog
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This week I received a call from a breast cancer charity. The organization was new to me. And clearly I was an unknown to them as well.
Within the first fifteen seconds, the professional paid solicitor asked if I would make a pledge. She said that they would follow up with a pledge card so I could send in my donation. Since I wasn’t prepared to make a commitment without knowing more about the organization, I suggested that they send me the information so I could give it some consideration.
So what happened? I was informed that they would not send information unless I made a pledge.
That’s right. To learn more, I would need to give. I had to conform to their rules or I couldn’t give. Take that!>
One thing is certain: This paid solicitation firm is highly efficient. They were “churning and burning,” as the sales people say, or cold calling and pitching within seconds, then politely tossing away any lead that wasn’t an immediate close.
Of course, this is the worst kind of selling. Why?
How could this be better and still efficient? By asking a series of triage questions, noting the responses in the calling software and acting according to those preferences. These steps would be as important to a museum or a blood bank as to a breast cancer charity and could include the following:
What these questions lack in efficiency they make up for in showing a genuine interest in the prospective contributor, determining interest in the cause and organization, gathering important information for future contacts and establishing preferences for follow up cultivation and solicitation.
For many donors, “no” could easily mean “not now” or “not this way.” For this organization and their professional phone solicitor, “not now” means “never.”
This is just one more for the growing mountain of stories I hear every day as people grow weary of what is delivered in the mailbox, what passes for charitable solicitation on the phone, what is “blasted” into our increasingly ignored email accounts and what flows through our twitter stream. They all have one thing in common: They treat prospective donors all as expendable.
They say give because the organization has a need. But of course that’s not why people give at all.
Why do we give? We give because it makes OUR lives meaningful.
When a charity calls and says “my way or the highway” they are really saying they couldn’t care less about our feelings. If they are going to take that tactic, best that they not bother asking at all.