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Third Sector: Case Study

The Challenge

This charity had a large, young and extremely dynamic team of fundraisers. The challenge was that they had to raise the majority of the funding for their charity from individual donors. They had to find new potential donors and build and maintain relationships with existing donors – these being the people more likely to carry on giving and giving more based on the strength of the relationship.

This savvy team had built a strong social media presence and used Twitter, Facebook and Instagram regularly. They never, ever used the phone. Looking at the donor demographics, the typical donor was over the age of 40. Indeed the majority tended to be over the age of 50 – largely because of the purpose and overall objective of the charity itself.

The CEO recognised that some of the target audience of these lovely fundraisers were not really engaging with the social media output and so the relationships with these valuable donors were being ignored.

The Solution

Using elements from The Complete Communicator, Frances Tipper designed and delivered a one workshop on communication skills…..using the telephone. The average age of the fundraisers was 22 and, although all of them owned a phone, none of them actually used the phone to call people. Not even their Mum. Indeed, the hardest part of the course was for the fundraisers to understand why speaking to someone on the phone to thank them for their donation and engage in a conversation would help them meet their fundraising targets. Yet some of their older donors would love to hear a friendly voice on the phone and talk about their experiences and the reasons why they wanted to donate to the charity.

The course was filled with communication skills and techniques for developing strong relationships over the phone with their donors, using role plays and scenarios to work out what to say in different and sometimes incredibly sad situations. Frances helped them to develop new skills, recognise how to make their voices sound interesting, how to develop rapport and trust over the phone and, only when appropriate, ask the donor for their continued support. Each were given daily call targets to follow and also measure the call success rate.

Some of you reading this may find this business case surprising as talking on the phone may feel natural to you. For this particular age group, they were starting from scratch and really struggled to ask the right questions and maintain a conversation with an unknown person on the end of the phone. This was completely outside their comfort zone.

The Outcome

Following up with the CEO a few weeks later, the young team had kept to their call targets and were now having weekly meetings to discuss calls and replay the difficult ones so that everyone in the team carried on learning. And the results? Extremely happy and engaged donors, thrilled to bits to have someone new to talk to and someone who showed a genuine interest in them. Of course they wanted to continue to support the charity – they just hadn’t realized they were needed.