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#86 We need to talk about phone

The team at Fundraising Partners couldn’t be happier, or more grateful, for the support we’ve received as part of the Irregular Giving Project. The insights, enthusiasm and encouragement has buoyed our hopes in a brighter fundraising future.

For those unfamiliar with the Irregular Giving Project, it sprang from the realisation that face to face fundraising in Australia was in danger of becoming unviable within the foreseeable future. The project was launched to investigate whether things were as bad as they seemed, why this was and most importantly, how we could do better.

On the 13th of July 2020, the Irregular Giving Project released its white paper (which is available to all members of the Irregular Giving Project). The paper summarised the key issues currently facing the sector and proposed recommendations for how we might effectively overcome these issues. One key recommendation was to expand the scope of the Irregular Giving Project to include telephone fundraising. This was based on consistent feedback and data demonstrating that many of the problems we are seeing in face to face are also present in tele-fundraising. It has become clear that we need to address ‘regular giving’ problems rather than just ‘face to face’ problems.

As described in a previous article, there has been a tendency in the fundraising sector to pay less attention to the long-term performance of regular donors acquired via tele-fundraising than those acquired via face to face. There are several reasons for this, including the widely held belief that tele-fundraising simply produces ‘stickier’ regular giving donors than face to face (it should be highlighted that this is not necessarily the case). As such, best practice in the acquisition of high-quality regular donors through tele-fundraising is generally not well-understood.

The Covid-19 induced shutdown of face to face has caused many charities to pivot to tele-fundraising as an alternate source of regular giving revenue. As evidenced in the Irregular Giving Project’s white paper, the demand for volume in face to face has played a key role in driving negative industry trends. Although quantity and quality are not mutually exclusive, they can quickly go separate ways when pressure is applied.

As demand increases, there is no better time to shine a spotlight on regular giving acquisition via tele-fundraising. We must ensure we are finding, engaging, and keeping the best donors possible. Accordingly, the Irregular Giving Project is expanding its scope. As with face to face, we are looking to identify and understand the key issues presently facing tele-fundraising (with a specific focus on regular giving acquisition). We are also looking to formulate recommendations and strategies that can be leveraged to drive improvements in the sector. As we have said from day one, the purpose of the Irregular Giving Project is not just to discuss problems. The purpose is to discover ways to fix them, together.

If you would like to get involved, please register with the Irregular Giving Project on our website and join the conversation through our Facebook group. We are quickly building a community of sector-wide tele-fundraising stakeholders who are invested in the integrity and sustainability of the channel. Won’t you join us?

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