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  • 23 Feb 2018
    With the Bath Half Marathon 2018 less than two weeks away, I’m delighted that over 80 runners are fundraising through Localgiving for 14 local charities. With increased demand for charities services and less time for stretched staff to focus on individual giving it makes participation events like half marathons an ideal way to maximise limited fundraising resource. For example, the average value of a Bath Half Marathon page on Localgiving is nearly £500 and most runners are comfortable setting up their own fundraising pages, sending out emails to their family or friends and generally taking responsibility for their online fundraising. One of this years participants is Michelle Smith who has been running for many years, but never for an official half marathon. When she saw that First Steps had a team she thought that it was the ideal opportunity to say thanks for their hard work. First Steps provide amazing support for disadvantaged families and children and the money raised this year will help them to enhance the outdoor learning area at the Twerton nursery in Bath with new areas for water play, a new mound, plants and trees, an area for bugs and new outdoor music play equipment. You can read more about Michelle’s story and donate to her Localgiving page here The beauty of using Localgiving for your fundraising is that you can piggyback on one of our campaigns. For example I worked with Wessex MS Therapy Centre ahead of Localgiving’s Grow Your Tenner (GYT) campaign in October 2017 and suggested they encourage their fundraisers to raise money during GYT to access the match funding. This proved to be hugely successful with seven people choosing to run the Bath Half Marathon in March 2018 in aid of the charity. The total raised by the charity during this campaign was £2,760, which will be a big help towards the cost of a new extension and renewal of physio equipment at the centre. “Grow Your Tenner (GYT) was excellent for us because all our fundraiser’s hit their targets in just one day! Many of the fundraisers were concerned about how they would raise £200 but the success of GYT has taken the pressure of the runners and reduced the administration time for us. It’s enabled us to be very proactive with our fundraising rather than chasing the runners and waiting for the money to trickle in over a few months.” Tori Allison, Community Fundraiser, Wessex Multiple Sclerosis Therapy Centre I also produced a simple poster that the charity sent to their runners ahead of GYT to explain how the process works. Although the next Grow Your Tenner is some way off you could try something similar with our Local Hero 2018 campaign which will launch on 1st April 2018 and run until 30th April. Local Hero highlights the incredible ideas and feats of local charity fundraisers - with a £1000 top prize to be won. Now is the time to turn those budding athletes, artists, runners or acrobats into online fundraisers for your cause!     
    1683 Posted by James Carlin
Tips & guides 6,252 views Oct 10, 2016
Telephone Fundraising: Getting the Right Tone

For those of you who are involved with small charities and groups the idea of running a telephone fundraising campaign probably seems beyond your capabilities but as long as you have a phone, a list of previous donors and some perseverance it can be a great way to directly engage with your audience.

For example as part of the Bath City FC Supporters Society "Back the Bid" scheme to buy the club on behalf of the community I set up a makeshift call centre in our Treasurer’s hallway one Friday afternoon in 2015. I had a spreadsheet of all the Society's members, a battered landline phone, and a stool to sit on. I called each member in turn asking if they had heard of the bid, whether they were going to support it and if they had any questions. Many people told me it was the first time they had ever had a phone call from Bath City FC and the response was fantastic with a number saying that this had been a great reminder and they were going to purchase shares immediately. For those that weren't able to support it was still worth taking the time to correct basic details like email address and update them on the latest "Back the Bid" news. 

In September 2016 we had to reconfirm the pledges made in 2015 so that we could relaunch our ultimately successful bid to become a majority shareholder. Four volunteers called over 100 people during the course of 3 hours and we confirmed pledges worth £10,000 in that time.

Smaller charities and groups have a great opportunity to build a personal connection with their supporters as the volumes are typically much smaller, they will often know many of the people in person and they have all believed in your cause at some point in the past. Some of the larger charities have lost this personal connection due to their size, outsourcing of operations and the sheer complexity of their business processes. This presents a great opportunity for smaller charities and groups to demonstrate their agility and reach out to people directly.

I would recommend you start any call with a simple thank you for previous support, provide an update on any new appeals that you might be running and finish with a pointer to where they can donate online. Do not take card details over the phone, just refer them to your Localgiving page, if you have one. Remember that taking time over each call and really listening might make all the difference to a supporter who receives frequent, more impersonal requests from larger organisations.

Follow the legislation and make personal connections

Last year, just as I'd started my previous role as Telephone Fundraising Manager for the University of Bristol, the tragic events of the Olive Cooke story were all over the newspapers and many Universities decided not to run their telephone campaigns that academic year. Unfortunately a handful of unscrupulous telemarketing agencies had given the wider telephone fundraising sector a bad name so make sure you follow the new legislation which was issued in response to those complaints. This includes handling each call sensitively, never asking for a donation more than 3 times, use a telephone number which can be identified by the recipient and end the call immediately if requested. Provided you follow the legislation then there is no need to shy away from a channel that allows you to make a personal connection with your donors, is essentially free (other than call charges and your time) and requires significantly less administration than say putting on a fundraising event. 

Finally, it is crucial to check that you have permission to call your supporters in future so make sure you explicitly ask for permission to make fundraising calls at some point in the conversation and then record this consent in your spreadsheet, list or database. As a general rule I would avoid calling anyone over 80, anyone who appears to be confused or vulnerable and I would never makes calls after 8pm because many people find this intrusive. Provided you follow these guidelines and the legislation mentioned above then you should find that a telephone call can be a great opportunity to really connect with your most loyal supporters.

Found this blog post useful? You may also like:   

Storytelling Tips for Charities by Becky Slack 

How to make friend with the media by Kay Parris 

Get your charity’s voice heard by Duncan Hatfield

How Charities can tap into the hyperlocal by Zoe Amar

Shining a Bright Light on local charities

 

Photographer: Karolina Grabowska.