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Nonprofit Strategies

Why fundraising scripts are obsolete (and 3 things to do instead)

Rather than cold calling and reading off the same fundraising script, try these three fresh methods for engaging your supporters and getting new donors.

Kylie Davis
April 7, 2022
Nerd Mr Butter

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When it comes to building relationships with your supporter base, cold calling might not be the best route.

For starters, many donors might find unwanted calls rude, invasive, or even downright annoying. Secondly, cold calling isn’t fun for your staff members or volunteers, either. In fact, research shows that nearly half of trained sales people are terrified to make a cold call (and that’s people who are actually trained to pick up the phone and dial).

Finally, cold calling is, quite frankly, becoming an outdated outreach tool.

Cold calling was the go-to sales tool before texting, email, or social media came into existence. Now, over half of all American households don’t even have a landline. Today, there are far more quick and efficient ways to get in touch with potential donors without the disturbance of making a phone call.

Below, we have several modern tools to help reach out to potential donors. Plus, we’ll focus on why you should move beyond the traditional fundraising scripts and cold calls to solicit donations, instead focusing on building relationships through personalized communication methods.

4 reasons why traditional fundraising scripts and cold calls may now be obsolete

Man using his shoe as a phone GIF

When reaching out to potential donors, remember this: Treat your supporters the way you would like to be treated.

Do you like spam cold calls on your phone? Do you like receiving a form letter that was clearly sent to hundreds (if not thousands!) of other people? Do you like when someone mispronounces your name?

If you answered no, nope, and absolutely not, then you understand why successful fundraising campaigns have moved beyond traditional cold calling. Cold calling and [most] generic fundraising scripts are impersonal and ineffective, which doesn’t help deepen a connection with your supporter base. (Which, frankly, is probably why sales experts state it takes 6-8 calls to have a successful conversation.)

Cold calling has a dismal success rate for these four reasons:

  1. It’s untrustworthy: Today, it’s very difficult to trust solicitors over the phone due to a frightening increase in spam. In fact, a major phone carrier states that scam attempts increased 116% in 2021, and over 700 spam calls are blocked every second (again, by one carrier!).
  2. It’s impersonal: Cold call scripts are often written to solicit thousands of supporters, without any regard for their donor or volunteer history, income level, or other demographic traits. It’s usually very obvious to the recipient that the caller is reading from a script.
  3. It’s outdated: Every year, fewer people are speaking on the phone, making cold calling an inefficient technique for raising funds. In fact, studies show that 75% of millennials and Gen-Zers would prefer to text over actually speaking on the phone. That’s anyone in their early 40s and younger (yup, millennials aren’t college kids anymore).
  4. It’s not scalable: Cold calls reach precisely one donor at a time—therefore, it could take dozens of volunteers to reach just 100 donors. Other methods, like SMS and email, are marketing channels that can be leveraged at scale, thereby reaching more donors in less time.

So, if you’re not going to be placing fundraising calls, how should you solicit donors? Below, we explain how to modernize your outreach approach to deepen your connection to your supporter base.

3 tools to reach your supporters (none of which are phone calls)

As a nonprofit organization, fundraising will always be your top priority.

To hit your fundraising goal, you’ll need to ensure your outreach methods are scalable, modern, and personable.

To accomplish all of the above, try leveraging these channels:

1. Email automation 📬

Email automation allows you to build engaging, personalized campaigns at scale. With Givebutter’s donor engagement tools, you can build nurture campaigns to educate, inspire, and ultimately convert members of your audience into recurring donors.

In order to get the most from your email campaign, be sure to implement the following tactics:

  • Make it personal: Prospective donors don’t want to receive emails that were sent to hundreds of other recipients. Instead, personalize your message through merge fields, addressing the recipient by name or recognizing past contributions to your nonprofit.
  • Take your time: With cold calling, you know you might have to have multiple conversations before making your first ask—the same holds true for an email campaign. Create an email nurture campaign to educate individuals on your mission, values, and recent fundraising events before asking for a charitable contribution.
  • Segment your audience: Remember, a one-size-fits all approach to donor outreach rarely works. Instead, use Givebutter’s free nonprofit CRM platform to build segments of your audience. Then send tailored messaging to each segment.

2. Social media sharing 📈

With the right systems and technology at your disposal, you can use social media as an outreach tool rather than just a mass messaging platform.

Here are a few tools to help you get the most from social media:

  • One-click social sharing: If you want to get more traction online, make it as easy as possible for supporters to share your campaign on their respective platforms. Use the one-click social sharing tool via Givebutter to help loyal supporters quickly share progress on their channels.
  • Canva integration: Canva is a wonderful, easy-to-use online design tool that houses an entire library of customizable templates. Leverage the Canva integration on Givebutter to make the graphics in your campaign updates and emails match your social media graphics so supporters recognize the branding of your campaign across different platforms. 
  • Supporter feed: Social media is an effective medium for crowdfunding because it garners excitement for a cause. Bring that same level of excitement directly to your donation page, where supporters can like, comment, or even add GIFs or emojis to your supporter feed.

3. Text messaging 📲

Today, we rarely walk around without our phones. Therefore, the vast majority of your supporter base probably texts daily with friends and family members, making SMS a worthy channel for your campaign.

With SMS updates, you can quickly send short, effective messages to a large number of supporters in seconds. Here are just a few tools to help you develop a deep connection to supporters through text messaging:

  • Peer-to-peer texting: Let’s face it—people are more willing to give to organizations they trust. Leverage peer-to-peer texting so loyal supporters can invite friends and family to your campaign.
  • Modern payment gateways: Texting isn’t just useful to communicate with donors—it’s a great way to collect donations. Through Givebutter, supporters can contribute via text-to-donate, Venmo, Apple Pay, and other mobile-friendly options.
  • Text blasts: Want to keep supporters updated on your campaign? With text blasts, you can send personalized, targeted text messages to your supporters, including event reminders, thank yous, and other campaign updates.

Modernize your outreach strategy with the Givebutter platform

Fundraising script: Call Back Later GIF

For decades, cold calling and fundraising scripts were the most widely used outreach methods in the nonprofit sector.

However, with new tools and technology available, cold calling is quickly becoming obsolete.

Instead of cold calling, reach supporters through SMS, social media sharing, and email—all through the Givebutter platform. Givebutter is the modern, always-free fundraising platform built with donors in mind. With Givebutter, you get 130+ fundraising tools, a CRM platform, and marketing automation, all in one place.

Ready to see how Givebutter can help deepen connections with your supporter base? Take a tour to get started.

Get started
Set up your peer-to-peer fundraiser for free in just a few minutes →

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