The Problem With the Phone

The Problem With the Phone


In every webinar about communications, I talk about the importance of using the telephone.

It truly is a wonderful invention because it allows us to speak with our lovely donors for not a lot of cost.

But, in many of those webinars and in a recent LinkedIn thread, people bring up a problem.


Quite often we simply can’t get through to the donor we want to. What can we do about this?

One solution is to use a phone agency, like Pareto Phone in Australia and New Zealand / Social Call in Austria and Netherlands and Listen in the UK.  In USA, start with Rich Fox who will help you find the right agency.

It is well known that agencies like these are used widely for lower value donors especially for monthly giving calls) but these organisations can also help build relationships with mid to high value and legacy prospect donors too.

Using these agencies is usually cheaper than making the calls yourself when you factor in the costs of your time preparing, failing to get through, having the conversation and typing up the notes for the database.

One of the secrets of success for phone agencies is ‘penetration’. They have systems and processes to make sure that they can get through to as many people as possible.  Even then, penetration can vary from 40% to 65%: Unfortunately, no technology exists to allow you to get through to everyone.

However, not all charities can use these agencies.  Perhaps your volume is not high enough to prove good value for you, or no appropriate agency has capacity to take you on in time.  So what then?

The key is to take a leaf out of the agencies’ (phone) book.  They understand that it is about numbers, so that’s where you should start.

Let’s say you want to get through to 50 donors to invite to an event.

Firstly, you are probably going to have to attempt to call them an average of five times.  And even then you may only get through to say one in three.

So to get your 50 invites, you’d need to try to call 150 people on average five times each.  That is dialling 750 times!  Sorry, this is just reality.

Calling donors is good and wonderful thing to do.  Just make sure you have the resources (people and budget) and the patience.

Now, when you get through to them, what to say? Sorry, but I’ll share more about that another article…

If you’re interested in learning more about making the big ask – you might want to sign up for my next webinar!

Click here if you haven’t already registered for

Top Tips For The Conversation That Gets The BIG Gift From The Mid Value Donor. 

Live on Thurs 27th and Fri 28th October (depending on your time zone), and the recording and slides available for all who register – even if you can’t make the date.

Looking forward to seeing you there,


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