Don’t just answer the immediate question

How often do you get asked, or how often have you made an enquiry to an organisation or business about the services they provide and how you can help them or they help you – only to get a stock answer, nothing specific and nothing that actually invites you to want to ‘do business’.

By only answering the immediate query there’s a chance that an opportunity for more dialogue to be lost; there’s often something deeper to why people ask questions, it could be that they want to do business, that they need your help or that they want to help you.

Unless all communications include the opportunity for further discussion – the door is closed, don’t be the one closing the door.

If you have a potential supporter contact you about the work you do, don’t just answer that question – answer it, then add additional information that may not be immediately available, perhaps you’ve recently done something that you could share – if so do it.

You should also be giving the person more reason as to why their support is important – do you have a new project that you could tell them about?

Before hitting send and signing off the response – STOP – have you asked them if there’s anything you can do to help them make the decision, the commitment to support you?

Don’t leave it for them to have to do all the work, you have to put your thinking cap on and find a way to keep engaging with them, to build the environment for them to decide you’re the right fit for the support they would like to give an organisation.

Do you answer only the immediate questions, if so why – and will you look at changing how you handle all enquiries?

Automated Charity Calls – Good or Bad?

When you receive an automated call from a charity, how does it make you feel? Some may say it’s ok, that it’s good use of technology, others may say it’s icky.

Having missed several calls from the same charity using an automated system, I listened carefully to the message that was left “You have previously shown interested in XYZ, if you no longer wish to receive calls from us, please press 1.”

Ok, that seems like a fair thing for an automated message system; but, how many people are “unsubscribing” who would otherwise continue to support, simply because the only options are to either ignore the message and do nothing or, take the easy way and press 1?

I’m sure there is a high risk that this, and any other charities using this system will find that they are losing valued donors.

I didn’t notice anything in the call that said how I could press an alternative number to make a donation; an option I think would make sense to have.

When this charity phoned the next time, the person wasn’t aware of the automated system, which I felt sure they would. The callers for any charity are typically on the front line, they are the people who donors have the most contact with; so surely it would make sense for them to have knowledge of what systems were being used.

Are you a charity who uses this type of system, is it beneficial or are you noticing that you’re losing donors though its use?

If you donate to charities, what reaction would you have to automated calls?

What Drives Business Sponsorship?

When approaching any business for support, it pays to know why business supports charity. Without this knowledge you don’t have the market intelligence to enable you to form the right “pitch”.

Businesses don’t always give because it’s the right thing to do, they have other motivators, often what fundraisers think is the reason isn’t.

Some reasons why business may sponsor:

  • Brand Image
  • Attract Business
  • Building connections/communities
  • Client Entertainment
  • Social Responsibility

We all hope that business support is because they want to make a difference, and yes, many do. But not all give because it’s right thing to do.

Knowing why a business may support you is important, if you know why you can pitch them in their language, their reason for why they should support you.

If you know a business is likely to support because they’ll have the opportunity to entertain clients, maybe you can weave this into your pitch. If they may give because of the types of others who will be at an event, then use this to your advantage.

Don’t lose sight of the fact that you are asking for charitable reasons and that you need their help – not the other way around.

Some companies may support solely for the PR standpoint, are these the types of business you want supporting you? Or, would you sooner have a business support you for what you stand for, for what you do?

Can business sponsorship be more than simply monetary?

What types of business do you prefer to have support you – those who write out a cheque, or those who will also roll up their sleeves and help out?

What’s some of the main reasons you’re finding businesses are supporting your cause?

What’s some of the strangest requests you’ve had from business sponsors?

What’s Working, Do You Monitor?

Often non-profits are so focused on what they’re doing that they don’t always know what’s happening in the sector as a whole.

But, it can be beneficial to an organisation to know what others are doing, how they’re doing it and what results they are getting.

Market intelligence can be a silver bullet for an organisation, it could be all that’s needed to help re-focus where, when and how they do something.

Someone in the organisation should be charged with the responsibility of “sector research” and report any findings to the board or senior management; so as they have a handle on what is happening.

Research could include; subscribing to newsletters, updates from other organisations, setting up alerts to see what others are doing when it comes to web activity.

You could find with this research that others are using language different to that you’re currently using and gaining better results; it could be that you’ll find that it’s the timing of communications that have a better response.

Without market intelligence you could simply be running blind and could well be missing opportunities and of course much needed funds.

Are you monitoring what others in the sector are doing?
Have you changed the way you do things as a result of what you’ve learned?