It fills my heart to read and hear people talking about #donorlove this Valentine’s Day. Hugs and high fives to you beautiful people who are planning spontaneous phone calls and organizing thank-a-thons.
As my man Simon Scriver says, using the phone for #donorlove is effective, cheap and makes everyone feel good.
I’m here with 2 things NOT to do, and one crucial thing TO do, as you’re planning your calls.
I’ve heard people—smart people, consultant people, presenting at conferences—say this:
“When you call and say ‘I’M NOT CALLING TO ASK FOR MONEY’ people don’t believe you, they freak out a bit and then they are soooo happy!”
Please, don’t ever start any conversation with any human being with, “I’M NOT CALLING YOU ABOUT…” And once you think about it like that, you realize that it sounds ridiculous. And you’re planting the seed in your donors mind that you are fueled by money and not by people. I already care less about what you’re going to say next. It’s immediately less genuine, personal and interesting.
“I’m calling to say thank you for your kindness and generosity.”
And here’s the second thing NOT to say:
“We’re calling all our donors just to say thank you for your support.”
Why would you do this? Why would you tell them that you’re calling everyone. Sure, you are calling lots of people but remember that this is probably the only call like this that your donor will get. Saying you’re calling everyone only makes them feel like no one. As Simon says, “I’m not phoning all our supporters today, I came in to work and decided to check in with you.”
“I’m so happy to be able to reach you today and just express my gratitude. You make amazing things possible here every single day. I came across your name and decided to pick up the phone and just say thank you.”
I totally understand that you’ll have staff and volunteers who might want a ‘script’. For the record, I think of phone scripts much like an ‘elevator pitch’. Who wants to be pitched? No one. Who wants to have a conversation? That’s more like it!
If you can, provide some simple guidelines, like the examples above. Or if you must have a script, try this:
“Hi. It’s Jen Love calling from Agents of Good. And I’m calling today to say thank you for your kindness and generosity.”
Now, here’s the most important thing. It’s a conversation. So, listen. They might say something too! Like: “Really? How nice!” Or “oh, I appreciate the call.” Or “wow, this has never happened to me before.” Or (my personal favourite) “you’re welcome!”
Then you can continue with:
Mrs. Donor, I’m so happy to be able to reach you today and just express my gratitude. You make amazing things possible here every single day. I came across your name and decided to pick up the phone and just say thank you.”
Now what? LISTEN! It’s not a pitch. It’s not a script. It’s a conversation.
So, how can you be a good #donorlover this Valentine’s Day? The same way you can be a good lover in your real life. LISTEN!
By the way, you can also read more about using the phone in your fundraising by reading Simon’s awesome blog. <3