Off-Site Call Centers Can Pay Big Dividends for Non-Profit Groups

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Many non-profit organizations would like to incorporate a telefundraising component into the overall annual fund plan but may not have the resources for an in-house operation. Off-site call centers can offer a solution for those who do not have the staff or calling space needed for an on-site telefundraising campaign, or whose needs are better served by a computerized dialing system.

When searching for an off-site center, there are certain key factors to investigate. Look for a firm that specializes in telefundraising for non-profit organizations. Find out what services they offer in addition to calling. Check, for example, that it offers full-service campaigns, which include written, printed and mailed campaign materials in addition to telephone calls. Also make sure you get references and ask to monitor the calling they are currently conducting.

Also check whether they use a computerized system. Computerization of the calling process allows for up to three times as many contacts per hour as a manual campaign so callers can go through leads more quickly. This does not compromise the quality of the phone call, but simply eliminates the time a manual caller spends with dialing wrong numbers, busy signals and answering machines.

Another benefit is that callers can capture gift histories, important patron comments and other valuable information online. They may also change phone and address information directly into the system, enhancing efficiency. This information can be downloaded directly into client databases. Merging and purging of data can be done on an on-going basis and phone appending and verification services are provided. Detailed tracking of lead segments (contact rate, pledge and credit card rates and average gift) is reported daily.

With the proper technology in place, a call center can run a variety of campaigns successfully, including annual fundraising, membership, additional/special gift, acquisition and capital campaigns.

Research your selection carefully, and using an off-site call center can be a convenient and efficient telefundraising solution for all types of non-profit organizations.

barbara Schwan is vice president of marketing with Stephen Dunn & Associates, a telefundraising company specializing in non-profits, Venice, CA.

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