Nine Cold Prospects

There are a number of different theories on cold calling. Very rarely will you meet someone who enjoys cold calling but if it works 1 time out of 10, then you are bound to try it again. One theory on cold calling is that it is a great tool to reach into new markets where you do not have any connections. If you do not know people in a specific neighborhood, then one of the only ways to reach out to them is through a cold call.

Another theory on cold calling is that if you call 10 people and have 1 success then you have turned off 9 people to your organization. Most people do not enjoy receiving cold calls much more than we enjoy giving them. As a result, a cold call can leave a bad impression on the individuals who were not receptive.

What do you think? Are you for or against cold calling? Is it a great way to develop new opportunities in untapped areas? Or, does a cold call turn off a majority of people to your organization?

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8 Responses to Nine Cold Prospects

  1. I think, in the fundraising area, you never have to cold call. If you have a list of volunteers, donors and supporters you do not know personally, but who have been engaged with your organziation, that is a “warm call.” You can call them to thank them for their support and ask them about their experiences with your group.

    Reaching out to networks of people around your board members and other donors is also a “warm call.” I think all of us have more resources and treasure in our own backyard then we truly realize!

  2. Brian Saber says:

    I agree – I virtually NEVER cold-called in 25 years. Absolutely not worth it for any sort of individual gift fundraising beyond, I guess, telemarketing and such. I’ve always found that there are endless prospects within the reach of an organization and no need to go beyond except in rare, targeted cases where there is a well-known match between the organization’s mission and a philanthropist who is aligned with that mission..

  3. Jason Dick says:

    Great feedback and that is in line with a lot of what I’ve been thinking. I’m amazed at how many organizations don’t tap into the “usual suspects” and closest friends of the organization. But in support of the cold call conversation a couple of months ago I made about 90 cold calls to organizations in my area. I had one business tell me they had been waiting for my organization to contact them and after a few additional conversations they gave $15,000. Another individual that I connected with ended up donation in-kind services of his business to the organization.

    I do not like making a true cold-call but when I have a success if makes it really hard for me to completely write off the process. Thoughts?

    The strategy I have been using is to tap into the “usual suspects” network as much as I can and maximize the engagement of board members and other volunteers. If I have a few minutes of extra time I’ll make a few additional reaches out to the community in a way that feel more like a cold call.

  4. Cold calling can be a great tool to help build a network if done correctly. Especially for those that do not have members that have a network in place to get enough warm calls. I have a post to share: http://connectingnonprofits.com/should-nonprofits-cold-call-for-donations-is-there-a-good-way-to-cold-call/

  5. Paul Cheney says:

    Cold calls are just another marketing channel. They are no more off putting when done correctly than a direct mailing. A great strategy I’ve used with cold calling is not asking for a donation on the initial call. Instead, ask to send them some free information. Then cultivate them from there.

    This way, you’re not being annoying, you’re simply asking permission to send them free stuff. Pack as much value as you can into the free stuff and you’ve got yourself a warm prospect ready to be cultivated.

  6. Elain Evans says:

    I agree that cold, is usually warm in fundraising, and that somewhere along the line they have an affiliation with us. I recommend reframing what cold calling is in OUR minds. It is an engagement point between us and the person we are calling on behalf of our institution. For many this is the only direct contact they will receive this year. Rapport bulding is very important and if that is the only take away from the call it is a huge win for the organization. Done correctly, with our heart in the right place a phone call can be a very effective action for raising funds. Don’t forget in this world of e-mail, instant messaging and texts a phone call’s level of importance in on the rise.

  7. DonationPay says:

    I’m firmly anti cold calling- I agree with the ‘1 lead gained, 9 leads soured on your organization’ school of thought. There are so many different ways to reach potential supporters these days that I really believe it’s smarter for most organizations to put money into developing their online fundraising strategy than to bother with cold calling. It’s just not worth it for non-profits that rely greatly on individual donations: potential putting 9 people off to gain 1 donation . . . just doesn’t make sense to me and truly cold calling seems nearly obsolete at this point for most organizations.

  8. LauLau81 says:

    I am not into cold calling… Even for myself, I don’t want to experience it so I know it won’t do good to anyone too.

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