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Unlocking the Power of Phonathon: The Underrated Multichannel Fundraising Gem

June 5, 2023

It's a decade old question at this point, is Phonathon dead?

After running a successful Phonathon program over the past 12 years, we can confidently say no, it's not dead and in fact it might be more alive than ever before. Here are 6 reasons you should be running a Phonathon program and how Phonathon has become the Underrated Multichannel Fundraising Gem that it is.

1. The Power of Personal Connection

There is no substitute for a real conversation. A traditional fundraising tactic that has lasted through many industry changes and updates over the years; Phonathon remains one of the most profitable fundraising outreach channels. Giving you an opportunity to connect personally, one on one with your donors and non-donors, Phonathon also allows you to:

  • build trust
  • strengthen your relationships
  • answer questions or concerns
  • gain new insights and infomation

Phonathon is a relationship building tool - personalized conversations can be the catalyst for long term relationships and will undoubtedly increase donor loyalty and engagement. 

2. Real-Time Donor Engagement and Results

Phonathon is a great multichannel resource for a number of reasons, one of the biggest is that you have access to instant results. Being able to immediately access your results allows you to investigate what is working or not working and shift your strategy. Access to detailed results on your phonathon program will allow you to forecast, adjust tactics and capitalize on trends, perhaps more so than with any other channel.  

3. Enhanced Data Collection

Phonathon can be used to enhance  so many aspects of your fundraising strategy and campaigns. Use Phonathon to gather valuable donor insights, build long term relationships, increase loyalty and support and of course, garner participation anf gifts. It’s a great way to not only connect one on one with your contacts, but it allows you to ask questions and gain valuable information on the interests and preferences of your constituents. You can use this information to segment and hyper-personalize your communication. The more precise you can be in your communication the more connected your constituents will feel to your organization and cause.

4. Complementing Other Fundraising Channels

Use phonathon in any stage of your campaign and in combination with any other communication type. Phonathon is  the perfect tool in combination with direct mail email, text and recorded voice messaging (RVM). Use phonathon before your other communications land to ensure updated contact information, draw attention to the upcoming outreach and seek gift contributions. Or use phonathon after your other communication has landed, as a follow up tool to connect 1:1 and gain more information about your constituents experience and engagement with those communication types.

5. Who's Calling?

 If you are thinking about a phonathon campaign this is probably one of the first questions you will need to answer, who shoud make the calls?

There are a couple of options:

Hosted - Using organization callers such as students, volunteers, beneficiaries, staff, etc.

Outsource - Using a professional fundraising firm like Shift to complete the calls on your organizations behalf

Some clients like to use current staff or volunteers may be the most cost effective way to go, however there are some aspects to consider above and beyond their ability to call. 

  • how will they call? (Cell Phones, Skype, landlines, dialing software)
  • how will you track results, call backs and special requests?
  • what state registrations/bonds are required to solicit by telephone in your state?
  • who will train and manage the callers?

Using your staff or volunteers does have some benefits, these are often the people who are closed to and best suited to represent your organization. If exploring this route, a professional fundraising firm like Shift can train your staff, setup dialing software and provide deep reporting on analytics, trends and forecast donations.   

6. Showcasing Phonathon Success Stories:

Showcasing the success of your phonathon is one of the best fundraising tools to utilize as part of your strategy. Highlight the success of your outreach and how your donors generosity has impacted your organization and beneficiaries. Use this opportunity to share results and analytics like:

  • how many people donated?
  • how much money was raised?
  • how many people can their support help?

People love stats, so don't be afraid to share yours! 

Showcare the lasting impact the cumulative giving efforts have on your organization. Now more than ever before, people want and need to know that their generosity has a positive impact.  This is critical to retaining loyal donors and educating new and prospective donors.

Phonathon is far from dead, it's a unique platform to utilize on it's own or in combination with your multichannel outreach. If you are looking for more great Phonathon Fundraising insights check our Guide to a Succcessful Phonathon and if you are still looking for helpful Phonathon insights book a time to meet us us here.

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