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Blog | Donor Services Group

Apples to Oranges…

For those of you old enough to remember television’s “Thirty Something,” the lead characters worked together as creative directors in a cool Advertising Agency in San Francisco.  Soaring ceilings, exposed brick and a pool table in the CEO’s office. As I look out from my office at our 40 foot bowtruss ceilings, exposed beams, weathered brick interior walls, shimmering hardwood floors, paneling from the 1930’s combined with freshly painted graffiti art and the old Hollywood Reporter neon sign left by a previous owner in our space, I am reminded of that Ad Agency.  Our offices are 20,000 square feet of coolness.  We even have the pool table, though not in my office.  But, what resonates most about our space is that it embodies who we are, and perhaps, who we are not. The Donor Services Group is not another telefundraising company….a vendor, hired to make the requisite 2 minute calls at dinner time.  We are creative strategists, who have spent the last twelve years incorporating donor cultivation techniques into telefundraising.  We are pioneers trailblazing inventive programs that offer highly personal and interactive calls to the masses of current and previous non-profit contributors.  We are the ones who routinely receive gifts of $100,000 over the phone on a credit card and who a few months ago, received a commitment for an 8 figure gift from a donor we were unable to reach by phone but to whom we took the time to write a personal handwritten note on behalf of our client. The Donor Services Group is not a telefundraising vendor at all.  We are a fundraising agency whose products...

A peek behind the veil……

So, you say you hate telemarketing calls, the ones that seem to come in bunches all day long.  You know it’s those blasted telemarketers because you can see those strange area codes show up on your caller ID one after another, adding up, until eventually there might be fifteen calls from the same area code over a week’s time.  Sure, it’s not always the exact same number but it’s always that same foreign area code from places you know you don’t have any friends or relatives. Well, as the CEO of one of those firms you love to hate, let me tell you how to make those calls stop.     You may ask yourself why am I telling you how not to receive these calls?   Well, the answer is simple.  At my company at least, we really don’t have any interest in bothering those of you who genuinely don’t want to receive calls on behalf of a favorite charity.   So here is all you need to do to get these calls to stop: 1.      Answer the phone.  Yes, I know it sounds counter-intuitive but if you ignore these calls or just let them go to voicemail, you are inadvertently inviting even more calls. You see, the telefundraising industry does not generally get your name out of the phone book. Rather, they are provided with your name by an organization you support.  But as a result, there are usually a limited number of supporters to reach to achieve the goals the organization has set for the firm.  Reaching as many of you as possible becomes imperative.   To reach even half of the names provided, often requires attempting that person once or twice...

Don’t Be a Hater……..

If asked you’d be hard pressed to find anyone willing to admit to liking telemarketing even when the call you pick up is on behalf of a favorite charity. Even those of us who do telephone fundraising rarely admit what we do in public.   In front of the mirror in our bathrooms, we cite statistics about the value of using the telephone to renew support from contributors whose support has lapsed.  We remind ourselves that donors who say no to a telephone solicitation are more than 50% more likely to respond positively to the next direct mail letter they receive.  We bolster ourselves and stand a little straighter with the knowledge that the telephone is the single most effective way to build a successful monthly giving program and we might even quietly pride ourselves on the fact that we’ve used the phone to identify numerous million dollar bequests and been able to engage in conversations that resulted in a significant number of five and six figure charitable gifts.  Yes, I did say six figure donations secured exclusively over the phone.r Perhaps even more than you, we get angry thinking about those telephone fundraising companies giving the reputable ones a bad name with their shoddy, aggressive calls made by poorly trained, poorly paid callers who don’t know how to dialogue with contributors, who only read a script that concludes with three rote asks for money.  We know, perhaps better than most, that when the phone is used badly it can be terribly destructive to an organization’s relationship with its donors, alienating supporters and undermining all the hard work an organization might do to engage contributors in...