Using call centres to back up fundraising campaigns is an increasingly popular option for charities looking for a cost-effective solution to managing donor contact at peak times. Here are some typical scenarios and a look at when it makes sense to outsource a charity’s call handling function.
In a challenging economic climate for charities with fewer people giving, smaller average donations and some charities even fighting for survival, charities are having to be savvier than ever in their fundraising, and donor retention has never been more critical.
Call centres are increasingly being used in the third sector armoury – both for individual fundraising campaigns or as part of a charity's more comprehensive marketing and income generation strategy. By working with outsourced partners, who act as a back-up to internal teams, charities can more effectively manage the variable volume of inbound calls generated from fundraising and marketing promotions, thereby providing the very best "customer" service.
With charities trying to maximise revenues from all forms of advertising, and many still opting for a traditional mass marketing approach, there are invariably resource issues. These issues are heightened when call volumes “spike”, in other words, when there are a large number of calls coming in that need to be handled in a short period.
How We Can Help
- Incoming Calls: A charity may not have the in-house skills, staff or volunteers to run an active fundraising call centre, especially at peak periods such as Christmas. Those who do run a call line may require the option of diverting calls to an outsourced partner. We can work with a charity to typically complete donation line or supporter services work
- Donation Handlers: When an individual decides to give, a charity has to have "donation line" people on hand to capture the call at that golden moment in time. Our contact centre staff can up-sell on inbound calls too, including converting one-off donations to regular donations, ideally direct debits, and uplifting the value of regular donations.
- Replicating your Brand: Understanding the "headspace" of callers is very important. We are very adaptable and can align ourselves to your charity. Having trust in an outsourced partner is vital, and we like to think we are an extension of your brand.
- Empathy: Empathy with callers while being able to respond to general questions and potentially signpost people back to the charity directly for more specific calls is so important along with working collaboratively with the charity itself so that we can keep aware of all new initiatives and marketing activity by our charity clients.
Charities will see other additional benefits in using a call centre. By reducing the time people spend waiting on hold, the system can improve the overall donating experience for supporters. Having the flexibility to "dip in" and "dip out" of the service to coincide with marketing campaigns also means there is no disturbance to internal staff doing their day job in spite of high volume calls during targeted promotions.
Call monitoring helps improve customer service and is useful for training, while the transparency of cost makes budgeting easier. In addition, detailed management information (MI) and reporting will assist with future campaign planning, providing vital feedback and performance information.