Two Important Ways Contact Center Services Help Raise Non-Profit Awareness

Today, “contact center services” can refer to a multitude of communications options besides telecommunications. In fact, best-in-class contact centers are capable of providing multichannel marketing services to satisfy a wealth of needs in a variety of industries. Take the nonprofit space, for example; a multichannel fundraising campaign can help recruit a great reach of donors through the use of a combination of telephony and digital channels.

In fact, nonprofit organizations should focus on boosting their fundraising awareness by adding more channels to their campaigns. But, creating an effective multichannel fundraising program is no simple task. Recent research compiled by Blackbaud stands to substantiate this claim as many nonprofits aren’t utilizing digital channel optimally. For instance, 37 percent of nonprofits do not send emails to potential donors after signing up.

Optimizing your digital channels—through email marketing, for instance—is a surefire way for nonprofits to acquire more recognition and expand their audience reach. As such, nonprofits must come to realize that outsourcing their marketing and fundraising to a third party, like a contact center, is in their best interest.

Contact center services can help raise awareness and recruit more donors through:

  • Email marketing: Email marketing adds a different dimension to a fundraising campaign, as recruiting donors via standard phone may not be suitable for certain demographics. In addition, a contact center that is proven to succeed in this marketing channel can really hone in on its voice, tone and style, ensuring its messaging will be targeted and consistent.
  • Using technology: Business Intelligence tools used by contact centers can help a nonprofit’s fundraising success as well through capturing relevant insights from donor data—like preference, response rates etc. In addition, demographic scripting can help fine-tune the messaging that encompasses the urgency and core competencies of a nonprofit’s value proposition.

There are more ways for nonprofits to make their voices heard and attract a greater donor base, all you need to do it ask!

Steve Brubaker began his career at InfoCision in 1985. In his current role as Chief of Staff and as a member of the Executive Team, he is responsible for HR, internal and external communications, and manages the company’s legal and compliance departments. Brubaker is a member of a number of professional organizations, including the DMA and PACE. He also donates his time to serve on several university boards, including the Executive Advisory Board for The Taylor Institute for Direct Marketing at The University of Akron and The University of Akron Foundation Board. He has also been honored with a number of awards and recognitions for his contributions to the call center industry, including the ATA’s highest honor, the prestigious Fulcrum Award.

Stretching Nonprofit Resources with a Multichannel Marketing Partner

For nonprofit organizations, rarely a day goes by without worrying about resource allocation. In its most recent annual survey, the Nonprofit Finance Fund found that 56 percent of nonprofits were unable to meet demand for services in 2013—the highest number on record. Additionally, these organizations identified long-term financial stability as the greatest challenge they currently face.

The simple fact is that nonprofits rely heavily on donations and the combination of a sluggish economy, and increased competition makes those donor dollars more difficult to secure. In many cases, the natural reaction for these organizations is to make cuts to services, staff and a variety of other areas. It may seem prudent to reduce marketing budgets as well but, in fact, that tact is likely to do more harm than good.

For fundraising, the old adage that “you have to spend money to make money” is fitting. Sure, these organizations could save a few dollars here and there on donor outreach, but that strategy is penny wise and pound foolish, because the small savings upfront will cost the nonprofit significantly more down the line.

Let’s look at a real-world example. Say a nonprofit organization is gearing up for its annual gala dinner, its single biggest fundraising event of the year. In an effort to save cash it enlists volunteers to create and mail print invitations, craft email invites and make reminder phone calls to its donor base. All of the work gets done, but the invitations have an amateur feel and the volunteers making the outbound calls are not effective because they aren’t immersed in the organization’s mission statement and don’t have a script.

When the donations are tabulated in the days after the event, the organization finds that the total is five percent off from last year. Even factoring in the savings from using mostly volunteers, the event raised less than the year before, meaning the next 12 months will require even more fiscal belt-tightening.

Now imagine this same organization had partnered with a company offering multichannel marketing solutions. By making an upfront investment and outsourcing part of the planning, the nonprofit optimized its marketing efforts for the event. Instead of hastily designed, one-size-fits-all invitations it leveraged the partner’s print capabilities to create professional custom mailings. Rather than using volunteers with no outbound calling experience the organization had highly-trained Communicators read directly from a custom script it helped write.

In the aftermath of the event, the organization finds that it attracted more guests to the gala this year and raised significantly more money as a result. The cost of teaming with a marketing partner is more than offset and the next fiscal year looks a little brighter.

There is no shortage of other real-life examples of how a multichannel marketing partner can help boost a nonprofit’s operations, from adding Web self-service for donations to improving outreach with information gathered using business intelligence.

The bottom line is that most nonprofits need some assistance from time to time. A partner that truly understands the landscape can make the difference between a fiscally successful year and a difficult one. Which would your organization rather have?

Three Tips for Nonprofits to Open the Donor Floodgates

Anyone who has worked at a Nonprofit understands the anxiety-inducing process of searching for funding. It’s not uncommon to see even a fairly large organization’s development department made up of just a handful of people tasked with bringing in millions of dollars every year to continue their mission.

One of the biggest obstacles to fundraising is donor fatigue—no matter how wonderful your cause and how dedicated your supporters, bringing in new donors is always at a premium. With that in mind, here are a few of the most effective ways Nonprofits can expand their constituencies, establish meaningful connections and make a lasting impact:

1.       Marry Demographic Data with Multichannel Marketing Solutions

Chances are a 70-year-old prospect and a 28-year-old potential donor will prefer getting information in different ways. But as a younger generation gives rise—one where laptops and smartphones are the norm—newer channels are inevitably becoming an important part of fundraising and donor management. In fact, according to the 2013 Blackbaud Charitable Giving Report, online charitable giving grew 13.5 percent in 2013, far outpacing overall growth of 4.9 percent. Therefore, organizations need to target demographic groups through many different channels—from traditional outbound telephone calls to social media—in whichever way their data suggests will be most effective. In many cases the most effective way to collect and analyze that data may be by partnering with a strategic multichannel partner.

2.       Take a Personal Approach

People want to feel a personal connection to an organization when donating to a cause they feel particularly passionately about. Think about what has prompted you to click the “donate” button. In fact, 50 percent of donors say that a personalized “thank you” is more meaningful to them than a fast one. But if you have 500 notes to send to 500 different people at the end of a major campaign, the idea of customizing each one can seem unbelievably daunting. Nonprofits without this time or manpower can thankfully partner with companies that offer mail and print solutions designed specifically for this scenario, helping give your campaign that necessary personalized touch that inspires change and sets a great precedent.

3.       Go Beyond the “Ask”

Whether reaching out to existing donors or new prospects, Nonprofits should mix in fresh forms of content with donation requests. This way, supporters stay engaged in the organization’s work and don’t feel as though they are only being contacted for money. Recent research shows that 63 percent of donors want to know their donations are well spent, so feel-good stories, yearly or monthly recaps and general updates are always welcome. There is absolutely nothing wrong with asking for money—that is how Nonprofits stay afloat and continue to do great work. But nobody likes the feeling of only being pressed for cash, no matter who is asking.

For more information about solutions InfoCision can provide your Nonprofit, click here.

More information helps donors make more educated decisions

I highly suggest everyone read the article by Dan Pallotta, Why Can’t We Sell Charity Like We Sell Perfume? published in The Wall Street Journal, September 15, 2012. It provides a compelling look at nonprofit organizations and why there is a need to change how the public thinks about charity. Here’s a short except from the article: “In short, we are asking nonprofit groups to deal with social problems whose scale is beyond easy comprehension, while denying those groups the tools they need to build any meaningful scale themselves”…The conventional wisdom is that low costs serve the higher good. But this view is killing the ability of nonprofits to make progress against our most pressing problems. Long-term solutions require investment in things that don’t show results in the short term.”

Dan’s thoughts in many ways echo InfoCision’s sentiments and we thank him for the wonderful job he is doing in helping to educate consumers. The important fact is that all nonprofit organizations need to raise money, which is essential to their success and their ability to accomplish their mission. InfoCision is proud to partner with the nation’s most trusted and reputable charities. We provide a much needed service by helping them reach out to people on a much larger scale than they’d be able to do on their own. Without telephone acquisition bringing on new donors and volunteers, their mission could not be accomplished. Nonprofit organizations are managed by professionals and if the calls we make for them were unsuccessful and, if they were unhappy, we would not be able to continue representing them, nor would they want us to.

If you’d like to learn more, Dan is also the author of “Charity Case, How the Nonprofit Community Can Stand Up for Itself and Really Change the World” and he has also been published in many other media outlets including this opinion piece in the Chronicle of Philanthropy.

The media must provide both sides on issues so consumers can make informed decisions. Please feel free to comment…

Fundraising Part 3: Compliance and Nonprofit Fundraising

So far in the first two posts in our fundraising series, I’ve covered some different ways professional fundraisers help nonprofits to raise funds, through acquisition campaigns and by enhancing long-term donor value.  These approaches require a great deal of strategy and creativity in getting the right message to the right donor at the right time through the right channel.

However, there is another service professional fundraisers provide for nonprofits, without which all those things I listed above would not matter; I’m talking about regulatory compliance.

Regulatory compliance in the direct marketing industry is complex, but highly important

A successful long-term direct marketing strategy is built on the foundation of adherence to the myriad of laws and regulations put in place by the applicable government entities.  All of us are familiar with Do Not Call laws and the emergency of teleservices guidelines over the last ten years, but it’s much more than that.  The federal government and each individual state has very specific regulations for every kind of direct marketing campaign, including traditional mail, phone calls, email, text messaging, etc.

Nonprofit organizations focus on raising funds with the best intentions to make a tremendously positive difference for our world.  However, the fundraising campaign must be implemented in tune with federal and state regulations.  There is no room for error and regulators are not sympathetic to misunderstandings of statutory requirements.  Given the tremendous scope of regulatory issues that must be managed, staying compliant can be a daunting task for any organization.

As a marketing partner to Nonprofit organizations, InfoCision has invested millions of dollars in technology aimed at preventing compliance failures, and dedicated practitioners whose only job is to stay updated with regulatory issues and keeping our clients protected.

This can be a huge burden off the shoulders of nonprofits, and it’s yet another part of the reason that so many choose to partner with dedicated professionals to contact their donors.

Another aspect of compliance that a professional marketing partner like InfoCision should handle is the filing of information with the government agencies – and this information becomes part of reports that are public record.  In my final post in this series, I will discuss how consumers can read this information to make good decisions with their fundraising dollars and avoid confusion over what the numbers mean.


Click here for Fundraising Part 1: How Nonprofits and Professional Fundraisers Partner to make a Difference

Click here for Fundraising Part 2: The Professional Fundraiser and Nonprofit Relationship

Click here for Fundraising Part 4: Using Information to Make an Informed Choice as a Donor

Fundraising Part 2: The Professional Fundraiser and Nonprofit Relationship

Last week I shared how certain teleservices campaigns are designed as new donor acquisition campaigns where the primary purpose is to identify and engage as many new donors as possible; and raising funds is a secondary goal.  This is why some campaigns may appear to be less successful in terms of the funds generated, but are actually very successful and vital to nonprofits, allowing them to build and supplement their donor base.  This week, I’d like to talk more about why it’s important to build relationships with donors, and how professional fundraisers help to cultivate those relationships.

Professional fundraisers help build and create long-term donor value; the lifeblood of nonprofit organizations

Donors are the lifeblood for Nonprofit organizations.  They provide the necessary funding for the organization to be able to further its mission.  But the goal when reaching out to donors should not be just to ask for funds, but also to create a real connection between the donor and the organization.  A donor who becomes engaged with the organization will likely give again and again because they not only believe in the organization, but become personally involved in its mission.

Once a new donor is brought on, the real work to build that relationship begins.  In fundraising it has been proven that donors who give a second gift within 90 days of their initial gift are more likely to become sustainers to the organization.  Involving them initially in a multifaceted communication and engagement cycle is key.  Typically, new donor conversion strategies include a thank you call, welcome kit, or email to convey the organization’s appreciation for their generosity and to show how their dollars will be put to work.  Even after the receipt of a second gift donation, the Nonprofit should continue fostering the relationship through retention campaigns which keep donors informed and active by providing opportunities for involvement, such as volunteering.

What is truly most important to successful retention campaigns is the value of the customer experience.  High quality call centers are uniquely positioned to provide a wide array of services to help better manage donor relationships.  Business Intelligence, real-time analytics and reporting, variable script-on-screen, targeted call routing, online fundraising services all work together to increase the level of personalization and thus provide an exceptional donor experience.  When a donor walks away, after making a donation, feeling good about their gift and recognizing they are a critical component of the organization’s mission, they are more likely to give again the next time the organization calls, sends a letter or email request.

As with a business customer, it’s more cost effective to maintain a current donor than it is to find a new one.  However donor attrition requires constant vigilance toward replenishing your active donor base as an ongoing part of raising funds.  But you can positively impact your attrition rate by building solid relationships with donors by making every interaction with the organization a positive experience.  This is why it is so vitally important to work with a fundraising partner that is a true extension of your organization and has fundraising experts on the phones who work hard to make each and every phone call count.

The one thing I didn’t mention is how the professional fundraiser also manages the myriad of state and federal fundraising regulations.  I’ll discuss this in my next post as well as shed some light on the government reports professional fundraisers are required to submit, and how consumers can make good decisions on spending their fundraising dollars.  Be sure check back next week to read more.

Click here for Fundraising Part 1: How Nonprofits and Professional Fundraisers Partner to make a Difference

Click here for Fundraising Part 3: Compliance and Nonprofit Fundraising

Click here for Fundraising Part 4: Using Information to Make an Informed Choice as a Donor