FundClass February 1999 Opening Message
Phone Campaigns: full opening messageFull opening message of FundClass Topic #15, February 1999
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Our facilitator for this FundClass topic is Art Horne. In addition to this Opening Message are also some Volunteer Training Materials.
As in any fund raising effort, first determine why you need money. Is there a project, equipment, building, or person for which you need funds in order to help accomplish the mission by which you exist? Then be able to state it succinctly. When speaking by phone, there is not a lot of time available for lengthy, obtuse discussions. So ready the reason you want your donors to give in a sentence or two. Your Board, or phone campaign committee could help you design your case.
After you determine the reason you want donations, then begin building your structure. There are specific areas that need attention:
- Facility- you need phones and a lot of them! The campaigns I have led needed at least 40 phones. Your local banks may be a good place to begin. Our local banks were happy to "donate" their phones for an evening. It is good to have all your callers in one place, working at the same time. Camaraderie and competition help add to the fun of the evening. There is also a need for a food preparation area and a place to gather for training.
- People- are one key in successful fund raising by phone. Enlist 7 to 10 "captains". There is no magic number, the more you can enlist the more money you will receive. Captains are to enlist 7 team members. You must pay attention to this detail. Set deadlines for team completion and follow up.
- Prospects- obtained by captains and their team members. Each volunteer is to develop a call list of 30 people. These people are to be individuals with whom the caller has an existing relationship. Important! The callers need to be comfortable. The persons being called need to know the callers and like them! ( Another important detail. Be sure you develop a form on which to make your call lists. Include name, address, phone numbers and amount asked for and received. (see the Volunteer Training Materials for a call list form).
- Gather/Collate Call Lists- Correct duplication. No one likes to be called several times on the same evening. Once the lists have been clarified, they will be returned to the callers the evening of the event. Collecting good lists is important to the success of your campaign, getting new prospects and donors and developing your donor base.
- Solicit door prizes for your volunteers. This evening is fun! Massages, gift shop gifts, free dining gift certificates, as door prizes are wonderful. These are given at random throughout the evening. Also plan good gifts for the team or individual making the most contacts, and/or raising the most money.
- Set your financial goal. Calculate average gift then multiply the average projected number of gifts received.
- Solicit donations pre-campaign. It is always good to insure success by obtaining large gifts before the campaign begins. (Your team needs not to know about your work behind the scenes!). (Ask banks, individuals for larger donations to accomplish the goal to raise the money for your project. (Remember your case – "why do you want the money?"). Try for at least 20 – 30% of your goal to be earned prior to the event.
- Food- heavy hors devoirs are great for your callers. Board members are happy to provide treats for the volunteers.
- Goodie bags – simple give away items, i.e. Mugs, pens, calendars, etc make great expressions of thanks for your callers. Give these to each caller toward the close of the evening.
- Media – be sure to publicize in whatever media is available about your preparation for the phone campaign. Explain your case in an article, take a picture of the first donation, or take a picture of a "phone call" between one of your callers and a donor for your local paper.
Some people have sent postcards to their call lists prior to the event to alert them to the reason the money is being raised. Forms for training, accounting of money, envelopes for mailing, donor packages (including return envelopes for their donation), call lists all must be developed and ready for use. Decorations are not necessary but may add to the festive ambience of the event.
Remember you are in this business to raise money, not spend it! ( Try to get everything donated for use in your event.) My campaigns have been entirely underwritten. If you can’t do this event without any cost or at least for a small amount of expense, then this phone campaign may not be right for you.
Focus! Don’t try to accomplish all your fundraising objectives for the year in one night. Work simply. Do the important. This is especially important in the training you give your callers. Don’t try to make them into CFRE candidates in one evening! Limit what you ask them to do. I have found that the training manual I have developed is about twice as large as is needed. Try to encourage, comfort and show how easy this job can be.
Think. It is important to visualize the process and the evening event. Try to spend a quiet time to think. Make sure your details are finished.
Pay attention to details. Getting the right number of captains, team members, completed call lists are vital for success.
Have fun! This isn’t brain surgery! Have a sense of humor and help your volunteers to feel appreciated and to enjoy their involvement with you.
Magnolia Hospital Foundation
Art Horne is the founder and Executive Vice President of the Magnolia Hospital Foundation in Magnolia, Arkansas. He has planned, designed, and implemented several fundraising campaigns which have consistently exceeded their goals while minimizing costs. Phone campaigns are only one of the tools in his fundraising arsenal, although he has been unusually effective with them.
Art is a member of the Association of Healthcare Philanthropy and serves as membership chair on the Regional Cabinet. Art has served churches as an ordained minister since age 17 in various capacities. He is currently studying to earn a CFRE.
This opening message was originally posted on February 1, 1999