Give the donor what he needs …
… not what you want to sell him.
Sounds so easy, you wouldn´t think twice about it. Yet the opposite happens all of the time. Just count the number of times you´re watching the tele at home, nice and cosy with the kids. And these adverts come on, telling your offspring they should collect these Bagukan action figures of those brand new BeyBlades. And there you find yourself again in the Toys`r´us wondering how the hell you got yourself talked into this, shopping for stuff you don´t want, your kids don´t need, but some marketeer who knows all about ´share of wallet` needs to sell.
And it´s about that feeling “how the hell?” that I want to talk to you, in relation to fundraising of course. Recently I spoke to a guy I know quite well, who has done a lot in fundraising, especially telemarketing. He gave me his opinion on this and I must admit he hit a nerve.
His point? “We should stop going on this path that we are all walking on, get out of our comfort zone where we´re again and again trying to find new ways to convince people how great we are; all the time thinking how to outsmart our (potential) donors.” The whole idea is that you should not convince anyone via telemarketing to support you. Instead, you should try to find out what he really needs, what he thinks, what he feels and offer him a solution to the problem that’s been nagging him “what can I do about these feelings?”
Just compare it with a call from this bank, that you have been getting products from for quite some time now. They try to convince you that they have this great mortgage scheme and that they would really like to tell you all about it. But you don’t need a new mortgage, you’re happy where you are. What you do need is information on some savings product that will help you secure your son’s study. And lo and behold, they happen to have that exact product! But they don’t know you need it and you don’t know they have it. Just imagine that the call would be completely different, asking you how you are, are there any financial related things on your mind and maybe they can help you? Much better, right?
Now back to that nerve. I, as a fundraiser, have also been searching for the right addresses to call year in year out. So we do lead generation, collect addresses, do telemarketing and are thrilled when we bring ‘em in! Without even the slightest thought of what these addresses want, what they need, because it’s not addresses, it’s people. People with thoughts, feelings and needs, that we have no clue of.
Imagine having a real conversation with one of the addresses people. What is he thinking about, what moves him, what does he need. Wouldn´t the choice to support your cause be much more well thought of? And more lasting? We’ve all have the experience of talking to a donor once in a while, more often than not calling you with a complaint. But in the end, these conversations often turn out to be very worthwhile and the donor is more than happy to stay. Because you listened and the two of you talked. We were given two ears and one mouth, which must mean something.
Of course these TM calls will be longer, but your communication with the (potential) donor is now actually a conversation, you’re no longer trying to score. It needs a shift in thinking, but instead of scoring you’re talking. Having real talks.
I really think this friend of mine is right. It’s just that simple, we don’t stop to realize it.