Doodz! I needz your helpz!

I am in a bit of a conundrum, and I think the views of the lovely people who read this blog can help.

My workplace is making calls to people who have donated in the past to see how they are doing and if they know about the changes we’ve made to this organization. Really we’re calling them to remind them that we exist, since our summer donations were pretty sad because everyone in North Vancouver seems to dissapear off the face of the earth in the summer. Anyhow, I find that most people like to hang up on someone when they are kind of doing a really *soft* ask for a donation. Not that we’re asking for a bazillion dollars, but there are a LOT of people on the north shore here, and if they all donated like a DOLLAR, that would be super.

Anyhow, since I am sure some of you have had calls like this (myself included), I am wondering what you think would be sort of a good way to tell someone about a nonprofit while making a really inconspicuous ask for money. I mean, yes, we’re asking for money, and not everyone will say yes, but do you think there’s a particularly nice, or polite way to ask for money, without saying, “hey, can you donate some money to us???” I kind of get stuck on this because I have received calls like this, but I am also on the other side of things where I see the real need of the people we’re trying to help. Basically if this organization goes away, we’re looking at around 8,000 people who are in desperate need and have nowhere to go for help.

Is there even an effective way to ask for money? I find it’s much easier to ask for money for organizations involving animals, because people will readily donate to causes to save animals, and tend not to give to causes that will save people. I think this is because animals are more helpless in that they can’t actually ask for help, and people can. People also abuse the system, which makes people aprehensive to donate.

Yes, we have measures in place to kick people off our system who are just abusing our resources, but you aren’t donating to them. You are donating to people who are in need. Families who have nowhere to turn and have run out of the resources to function. Imagine if you didn’t have the money to buy your dogs the food they need because you ran into unexpected costs like hospital emergencies or emergency repairs to your home. You realize that you’re pretty close to having no money left, but if you could just get to that next paycheque, you’d be okay. Or maybe you are suffering from an addiction but you are getting help, and you want to go out and get a job, but you don’t have a printer to print off a resume. Maybe you don’t have something to wear other than the clothing on your back because you are spending all of your money on food to live. These are the people we are helping.

Is there really a way that is even effective to ask people over the phone to consider donating???

12 Responses to “Doodz! I needz your helpz!”


  1. 1 Hollie September 19, 2007 at 7:26 pm

    I worked in a call center for 3 weeks (2 weeks training) and had to leave because I felt horrable every day, but I was doing a hard sell

    The hard sell: repeat your request 3 times! Will you buy this (no) will you buy this (no) awe come on… buy it (well… ok….) thats how it was supposed to go.

    Now I know a hired telamarketer is calling because they ask 3 times, so I would avoid it because its REALLY annoying.

    Other things to avoid saying:
    If its a young voice never say “can I speak to your mom or dad?” because 29 year old girls sometimes sound like teenagers on the phone = Instant loss
    Could I please speak to the man of the house/ your husband (if its a girl… or a guy too I guess) lots of people out there are not married

    I also don’t like it when a non-profit tells me they are going to send me a pre-written bill thingee AFTER I tell them I am too poor to donate atm (which is true)

    Is there any way you could have a fundraiser? That way you could call all past donators and say, ‘were having a fundraiser and you are invited’ or send them an invite in the mail, or both.
    My fiancee works for a nonprofit in Calgary and the 2 fundraisers he had that were the most successful were a desert party on valentines day and an art auction.

    The keys to a good art auction are:
    Get the art donated by artists, possibly give them a % of the cut
    Have a theme to the art donated (the artist makes something along the lines of the theme) but don’t be too strict about it, whatever art donated is good
    Have your employees submit their own art
    MOST IMPORTANT: get a professional auctioneer! they know how to get people to spend their $$

    Sorry this is long, but I hope this gives you ideas!

  2. 2 LMizzle September 19, 2007 at 7:58 pm

    I totally get what you’re saying. I can’t stand calling people and just outright asking them for money. Really, I would rather host something and then have a really good speech or something.

    We’re having an auction at the end of Oct. and we’re currently selling tickets to the little party, but we’re in a bit of a tight spot because we really need the money like…yesterday. Bah! So tough!

    I like the desert idea, that’s really genius, and I think we’ve got some art in the october auction as well! Good ideas!

  3. 3 Goodboy Norman Featherstone September 19, 2007 at 9:10 pm

    Woman always donates when the people start right into a sob story. She can’t take the guilt! This is how it goes down … The telemarketer states the organization they are from in a very friendly tone, and before even letting Woman respond, they immediately go into a sob story using a sort of accusatory tone that sounds like – “if you had donated last year, maybe this wouldn’t have happened.” For example, Woman always donates to the Childhood Leukemia Foundation, because the telemarketers make it sound like ALL children EVERYWHERE will die w/o $75 from our household. Seriously. Woman NEVER donates if the person wastes her time with small talk – how are you today, it’s a lovely time of year, are you enjoying your summer, etc … Those people get the hang up. She’s really sorry if she’s ever hung up on youπŸ™‚

  4. 4 LMizzle September 19, 2007 at 9:17 pm

    Haha, I’m sure she hasn’t! We’re only in North Vancouver, so we’re too little to make mass calls!

  5. 5 tjam September 19, 2007 at 10:34 pm

    I have a hard time saying no to the in person solicitation. If you can get me to answer the door, you got my cash.

  6. 6 Christine & Giggs September 20, 2007 at 6:57 am

    Maybe start in by introducing the organization and asking if they’ve heard of it/are aware of the services you provide in the community, etc. Once people realize what a valuable role the organization fills, then they will be more likely to donate to it?

    We like to donate to organizations that we know work right in our community (like the food bank and local homeless shelter).

    I’m a wimp and can suckered into anything on the phone. I once had regular weekly conversations with a lady (belonging to a certain church, trying to recruit?) that sometimes lasted a good hour because I can’t hang up on people or tell them to go away. So maybe I’m not the right person to ask.

  7. 7 Katy September 20, 2007 at 7:17 pm

    I suck at asking for things, so I can’t offer you any help here. I hate even asking someone for like, change for a dollar. I’m such a wuss.

    Good luck! I hope you guys raise a lot more money!πŸ™‚

  8. 8 LMizzle September 20, 2007 at 8:04 pm

    I’m not sure what it is, but a lot of people will either just hang up, or they just give you a big “TAKE ME OFF YOUR CALLING LIST” thing. It’s pretty sad. The list of people we’re calling are even people who have donated before, but they just don’t want to donate, it’s really bizarre.

  9. 9 Hollie September 20, 2007 at 10:23 pm

    I hate to say this, but I’ve never given to an organization over the phone, even ones that I’ve donated to before, and there are quite a few. I’m not rude but I don’t like the idea of giving money to someone I cannot see, and its not on my terms. I give most of my donations over christmas.

    I agree with what has been said above about going to their doors, It makes a difference to see the fundraisers, see they are real people who are doing it because they are pationate about their organization

  10. 10 LMizzle September 20, 2007 at 10:34 pm

    Hmm, that’s an interesting note. I wouldn’t give to someone over the phone either, even though we are kind of being asked to ask people over the phone by the big boss man.

    I think that we could get people to go door to door though…that’s a pretty sweet idea.

  11. 11 Ultra Toast Mosha God September 21, 2007 at 10:46 am

    I used to go door-to-door for the WA Disabled Sports association when I worked in Aus. It was hellish, but I got the odd donation.

    Over the phone? Hmm. I guess just saying who you are, what you do and explaining why you need the money without sounding needy, I guess.

    An event sounds like a good idea.

  12. 12 lepug September 21, 2007 at 2:30 pm

    Tell people what your organization does and where their donations would go so they don’t feel their hard earned money will be going towards administrative fees rather than really helping people. Tell them some statistics on your mission so they understand how serious it is and the impact it has.


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