Don’t be afraid to ask again

September 8, 2014       The NonProfit Times      

Greenpeace isn’t afraid to ask supporters more than once. The organization calls monthly sustaining donors after the third payment to ask if they’re interested in upgrading, and on those calls, callers are coached to ask donors three times.

Greenpeace found that only a small percentage say yes the first time while the majority agree to an upgrade the third time they are asked, according to Heino Nielsson, global telemarketing manager at Greenpeace Denmark. He presented as part of a panel titled, “Christmas in August: Year-End Giving Tips You Can Use” during the DMA Nonprofit Federation’s New York City conference at the Grand Hyatt.

Some 85 percent of Greenpeace’s 3 million global donors give on a monthly basis with about 460,000 one-time donors. Donors who say yes after being asked once likely would upgrade anyway but the majority of people actually are saying yes after the third time they’re asked. Upgrading donors can have an exponential impact on income growth, Nielsson said, especially if an upgrade takes effect the first month and continues through the year.

That’s why Greenpeace’s monthly sustainers receive a call after their third payment to inquire whether they are interested in upgrading. The next upgrade call after that is after six months. Greenpeace found that no matter whether donors are called one or two times per year, the same percentage of donors decide to upgrade. Globally, 27 percent of donors reached upgrade, with average uplift in annual gift of 67 percent.