How to Boost Nonprofit Donations with Outbound Calling Campaigns

Sean Lund-Brown

In the nonprofit sector, donations are the bread and butter of the operations for many. Getting those donations, of course, is sometimes nothing short of a miracle. Believe it or not, even though it’s the 21st century and we live in a very Internet-based world, there are plenty of people who still prefer to receive communications over the phone, including nonprofit donation solicitations. 

A while ago, an organization known as the Thistle Foundation tried a unique test, of sorts, to see if telephone fundraising can still be effective. They selected two groups of monthly donors, separated into 1000 donors apiece. Courtesy calls were made to one group—courtesy calls, not sales calls—and no fundraising ask was involved. And still, most of those donors actually updated their monthly giving amount without the ask. 

Those were just courtesy calls. Imagine what you could do if you took to fundraising with a full-fledged outbound calling campaign. Why do you need to have a calling strategy for fundraising? Consider the benefits below, and then we’ll talk more about how to actually utilize these campaigns to improve donations across the board. 

The benefits of outbound calling for fundraising

There are a lot of reasons to consider outbound calling campaigns as a strategy for your nonprofit’s fundraising needs. The experts agree that when you do it right, the response rates and other perks are well worth the effort. 

Better retention and engagement

When it’s done right, donors are more than happy to get a call, even if you’re going to ask them for more money. It’s also a chance for you to reconnect with people and let them know how their donations are helping. You can increase retention and engagement by as much as 30% with welcome calls, and about 19% of donors said that they would donate again if called, even though they aren’t current donors.

Higher response rates 

According to studies, phone calls are 250 times more likely to get a response than emails. Even in the modern age of social media, people are still fond of phone calls because it gives them that personal connection and makes them feel valued. You took the time to call them—why shouldn’t they feel special? It also gives you the chance to connect to people on a personal level. 

Today, the mere fact that fewer people are using telemarketing and outbound calling as marketing methods is a reason to add it to your list—if you’ve got less competition and you’re still reaching out with that personal touch it will make a difference in the success of your fundraising. 

Positive impact for the future

Because of that increased retention and engagement, outbound calling to donors can impact what and how they give in the future, too. Research has shown that 1 in 4 donors would give more than the “typical” donation if they were contacted via phone as opposed to other methods. 

That means that if you’re trying to reach out to people and build lasting relationships with your donors, you’re going to want to keep that personal connection. Sometimes the phone is the best way to do that. 

How to use outbound calling campaigns to your advantage

When it comes to putting a plan together, there’s a lot to think about. You can’t just pick a list and start making calls. What are you going to say? How are you going to connect and create that personal connection? Here are a few things you should add to your list to consider:

  • Calling scripts, so that your team can convey the same message and provide a professional interaction. Don’t focus on memorizing scripts exactly—use them as loose guides to steer your conversations in the right direction. 
  • Outbound calling software that integrates with your CRM and other tools so that you’re able to streamline the process. 
  • Campaign objectives and goals that will help you define and develop your strategy. It should answer all the hard questions and make sure that you’re covering all the aspects involved here. 
  • A list of contacts that may be capable of donating more, including past donors who have lapsed, existing donors, event attendees, and even volunteers and subscribers. If you’ve purchased contact lists or exchanged leads, put those here too. 

There’s something to be said for taking the time to plan an effective outbound calling campaign to boost your nonprofit donations. One of the best ways to succeed is to enlist the help of a third-party service like the team at Smith.ai that can make the calls for you and streamline the entire strategy, as well as the donation process. 

Imagine being able to have a team to help create the strategy, execute the calls, and even take donations and collect payments from various callers who want to contribute. All the while, you can focus on running your nonprofit organization and working on the things that require your attention. 

Of course, it’s not that fundraising doesn’t require your attention. It should be a large part of your focus. However, since you’ve streamlined and outsourced it, your attention is capable of being focused elsewhere. Take advantage of that. 

Partner with Smith.ai for outbound calling campaigns and more

The dedicated virtual receptionists at Smith.ai know how to handle all kinds of inbound and outbound calling needs, including outbound calling campaigns to assist you in boosting donations for your nonprofit. We also offer outbound sales and support teams, assistance with appointment scheduling and lead intake, payment collection, and so much more. Plus, our team is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to deliver the solutions that you need. 

To learn more, schedule a consultation to discuss what the virtual receptionists at Smith.ai can do to improve your telephone fundraising and more. You’ll also find us at hello@smith.ai or (650) 727-6484. 

Sean Lund-Brown

Sean Lund-Brown is a current Marketing Assistant for Smith.ai. A graduate from Metropolitan State University of Denver, Sean graduated with a BA in Music and an individualized degree in Teaching Vocal Pedagogy.

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