I’ve been working in the call center industry for nearly 30 years. Oftentimes when I meet someone – either socially or professionally – and tell them that what I do involves fundraising for nonprofits, I inevitably get asked questions about how it all works. Several questions come up routinely, and after having one such conversation last week, I decided that I should use The Right Call as a forum to provide much needed information on how professional fundraising works. Fundraising is multifaceted and over the next few weeks I hope to impart additional knowledge and answer some common questions.
Do professional fundraisers keep a percentage of the money that is raised?
One of the most common questions I get is people wondering if professional fundraisers keep a percentage of money they raise before it goes to the nonprofit organization. The answer is generally no. Reputable teleservices companies like InfoCision are not actually paid in terms of the percentage of funds they raise. InfoCision is paid per completed call based on a set rate as detailed in our contract with the nonprofit client. The client pays InfoCision according to their fundraising budget.
Many times, folks will say they’ve read about a nonprofit organization generating just a small net gain from a specific tele-fundraising program. Some campaigns are designed as “acquisition campaigns.” In these campaigns, finding and engaging new donors is the primary goal. It is common and expected for an acquisition campaign – when looked at in a nutshell – to breakeven or be only slightly profitable. But when you look at the big picture, these acquisition campaigns identify new donors who are likely to begin a strong, life-long relationship with the nonprofit. The long-term opportunities these new relationships provide the organization are incredibly valuable.
Here’s a similar example: A national health-based nonprofit, through direct mail acquisition programs, recently was able to increase its donor base by more than ten times over a five year period. It’s likely that when you consider the cost of creating, printing and mailing the direct mail piece, the campaign may not have generated enough funds to cover those initial costs. But what it did do was bring in many new donors to the organization, who will give again and again over a period of time. This is what is called Long-term Donor Value. It works the same way with tele-fundraising.
Check back next week for when I will break down the importance of long-term donors for nonprofits, and how tele-fundraisers help to build and cultivate these long-lasting relationships. I hope you have found this information helpful.