Converting activists to donors

Activists are good. Donors are good. What’s the difference between them? Not all activists are donors.

That can be changed, and telemarketing can help in doing it.

During a recent nonprofit marketing conference, Vicky Berrett-Putnam of the Sierra Club and Mark Mitchell of SD&A Teleservices discussed Sierra Club’s success persuading committed activists, those who spread email messages, to donate money in addition to helping spread the word.

The organization learned the following:
The organization could convert activists into donors by emailing them tasks.
It found success by making them part of prospect mailings.
It could convert them by inviting them to events.
People who sign five or more petitions do the best.
6% give one-time gifts, averaging $29.
A standard telemarketing script will not succeed.

Email activists are a different type of (potential) donor. They want what is current. Successful telemarketing firms go to the website daily and update callers on any new issues, press releases and headlines. Call-makers are then briefed and instructed to go with the daily message (i.e., Here is what is happening now).

Never give all of the organization’s telemarketing work to one vendor. Contract with several to move programs around based on performance. Find out when vendors need to work and send them a file they can call during slow periods.