5 Tactics For Boosting Phonathon Contact Rates

Posted on 08/13/2017

Running a phonathon program isn’t cheap. Recruiting and training a staff of quality callers (not to mention maintaining the hardware and software in your call center) requires a lot of time, a lot of effort, and a lot of money. Fortunately, phonathons have a lot of benefits. They have higher conversion rates than direct mail and email appeals, they’re an effective way to acquire new donors and upgrade current donors, and they’re the most efficient way to engage a lot of prospects in a personal way. But you can’t take advantage of any of these if your prospects don’t pick up the phone.

Here are five ways to boost your phonathon’s contact rates and ensure that your callers talk to as many prospects as possible.

  1. Give them a heads up – Let prospects know you’ll be calling with some advance notice. Mail them a pre-call post card, send them a pre-call email, or even run a targeted pre-call ad on your facebook page.
  2. Target “phone-friendly” prospects – Don’t spend too much time calling people who have only responded to direct mail or email appeals in the past. Focus first on prospects who have responded to your phone calls in the past. For non-donor segments, try to identify those who share characteristics with your past phonathon responders.
  3. Let tired lists rest – Keep your lists as fresh as possible. Avoid calling the same prospects over and over when they don’t answer. Give segments a break after you’ve attempted them 3 or 4 times within a period of a couple weeks. After that, you can try putting them back in the calling pool.
  4. Mobilize – As the landline phone makes its way onto the endangered species list, it’s increasingly important to maintain good mobile phone numbers on all of your prospects. Create incentives for prospects to provide you with their mobile phone numbers and consider investing in mobile phone append services.
  5. Leave messages – Don’t assume that just because someone doesn’t answer your call, they don’t see you calling. It’s very possible that they’re screening your calls because they don’t know who you are or why you’re calling. Leaving a voicemail can actually increase the likelihood that they’ll answer the next time you try. This is especially true for young alumni and parents.

Increasing your contact rates is key if you expect to raise more money and secure more donors through your phonathon. Remember, if you don’t hear “hello,” they’ll be nothing to show.

Want to learn more? CLICK HERE for AGN’s Webinar on Planning for Phonathon Success.