Stop! Read part one here first.
The art of thank you
So what does a thank you call actually look like? There are a few important things to keep in mind to get it right.
“It’s really important to get in upfront that we’re not asking for a donation,” says Webb. “You need to quickly establish that this call is not about money, and get to the thank you. The call is about the donor, not the organisation, and you need to set that tone straight off the bat.”
“Many donors literally let out a sigh of relief when we establish we’re not asking for money,”adds Nixon. “It’s obvious that so many people feel overwhelmed by the volume of donation requests, and they immediately let their guard down when they hear we’re not asking for money.”
That sets up a more relaxed call from the outset, and while it’s vital to use the actual words – thank you – quickly and sincerely, that’s not the end of the call.
“We want the donor to really understand the value of their support and how their money is being used to make a difference,” says Webb. “If we can demonstrate the reasons the charity is grateful to them, it puts a lot of sincerity behind the thank you. They are not just empty words with an obvious agenda behind them.
“Then we’ll encourage the donor to share their personal connection with the charity, and give them the opportunity to ask questions, share their feedback and express any frustrations they may have.”
Nixon says this is all part of getting to know the donors and building a genuine human connection that is difficult to replicate in any other medium.
“The phone is a great tool for building rapport. It’s very different to a form letter, email or social media post. People share very personal experiences with us. They might tell us about a family member who battled a disease the charity is fighting, or how the charity has impacted their lives on a very personal level. I don’t see how you can make connections like that with an email or a letter.”
Revealing valuable insights
In addition to building donor relationships, thank you campaigns also give not-for-profit organisations valuable insights into what their donor base is thinking and feeling. All our tele-agents note donor feedback given during thank you calls, and this information is fed back to the charity.
“The software we use allows us to note down things like what inspired the donor to begin supporting the charity along with any general feedback or frustrations they may have,”explains Nixon. “This information is sent back to the organisation and is a really effective way for them to get to know their donors.”
These insights can help to drive personalisation through proper donor segmentation – or, in other words, understanding your donors ’preferences so you can better communicate with them on their own terms.
“We see that in things like how and when they prefer to be contacted, and whether they prefer single gift-giving based on specific campaigns, or are open to giving ongoing monthly donations,”says Nixon. “That knowledge can really help us to get the delicate balance right between gently pushing and knowing when to pull back.”
Webb – at 26 years old – is part of the SMS generation, yet she has become a firm convert to the effectiveness of voice calls when it comes to building human connections.
“Picking up the phone puts a human voice to the charity,”she says. “Text or email can feel quite cold in comparison – they don’t really give you the space to just have a chat and get to know someone.
“That’s part of what I love about OURTEL. We are given permission to actually talk to people. It’s not just about reciting scripts. Saying thank you is just so powerful and so many people are really happy to share their stories with us. It’s quite a privilege.”
“When you think about it, saying thank you is basic manners,”concludes Nixon. “We teach our kids to do it, so why shouldn’t we be doing it in the fundraising sector? It shows respect for people, and helps us connect as human beings.”
That’s the real power of saying thank you. Donors feel respected, valued, listened to and are given an opportunity to vent any frustrations they may have. And they remember that the next time we call seeking more support.
Find out more about how OURTEL Fundraising Solutions can help you improve your next fundraising campaign results and contact us now.