First responders need training

Nonprofits utilize volunteers in a multitude of ways, including first responders who handle initial contacts for organizations. Handling a life-or-death situation, as crucial as it is, is not the same as dealing with a potential donor during a telefundraising campaign.

It isn’t life or death in quite the same way.

Randall Anderson, chief operating officer of Listen Up Espanol, maintains that there are four basic elements involved in training volunteers who man the phone for telephone campaigns. They are:

  • Written tests, which include knowledge and retention of competitors, scripting, etc.
  • Observation, which involves taking practice calls and receiving personal coaching.
  • Verification, which includes skills, knowledge, empathy, convincing and all items that need to be checked off by a certified trainer.
  • The relationship between the telefundraiser and the nonprofit. This is the most overlooked but very important.

With all that in mind, Anderson says there are three critical points of the telefunder-nonprofit relationship that affect education, training and testing.

Those three points are: Make the responder a stakeholder. Communicating the mission, purpose and campaign appeal to the people who are talking to the donors in a way they can understand is crucial; Analyze the data. There should be a process by which telefundraisers can capture donor insights, trends and other information that key executives should know; and, Calibrate regularly. The campaign should always be open to recalibration relative to feedback and monitoring results.