Before the fall semester ramps up, now is the time to check in and assess the effectiveness of your phonathon scripts. What follows is an excerpt from my book, Successful Fundraising Calls: A Phonathon Scripting Workshop from Academic Impressions. If your scripts need some punching up, this guide walks you through the process of giving your scripts a makeover step by step.
1. Does your script/policies require callers to do at least three distinct asks if the prospect is objecting?
a) No way, we trust our callers to make the right decision and not pressure prospects.
b) We require it but we don’t monitor it through write-ups or other disciplinary action.
c) Yes, absolutely. Callers must overcome objections and ask for the next level.
2. Do you allow open-ended or soft asks without an amount?
a) Yes. As long as they are asking, the amount is not important.
b) If the prospect sounds mad or needs to speak to his or her spouse, sometimes we do.
c) No. An ask is constituted by a direct question and an exact dollar amount.
3. Which of these sounds most like the rapport section of your call?
a) I am not sure what our rapport currently sounds like.
b) “Last year, ABU was rated #1 in biological sciences research by the American Society for awesome biological stuff…..”
c) “Did you know that ABU continues to get more accolades? For instance we were recently named #1 for biological sciences research.”
d) “I see you graduated in biology. Do you still work in that field? Wow. That’s interesting! Well, you’ll be pleased to know that we recently named #1 in biological sciences research. Isn’t that great?”
4. What percentage of your callers would know what an “assumptive” credit card ask sounds like
a) Huh? What is an assumptive ask? 0%
b) Some of the best ones. Maybe 40%
c) Any caller that has been around awhile. Over 80%
d) All our callers are required to follow an assumptive ask structure. 100%
5. How would you rate the transition between the rapport and first ask in your script?
a) We let the callers figure that out. It’s important that the rapport be natural.
b) It’s a little clunky. Sometimes when I am coaching that part feels awkward.
c) Pretty solid. We try to tie the fantastic things going on at our school to the need for private support.
For every A, give yourself 1 point. For each B you marked, give yourself 2 points, for every C give yourself 3 points and if you selected D give yourself 4 points.
Your scripts need some work. The scripts don’t provide callers with enough structure for them to feel confident and comfortable asking for money. If you are not requiring three asks or enforcing the delivery of those asks, you are leaving money on the table for your institution. Your alums might not be enjoying these calls as much as they could. Your callers are in danger of becoming de-motivated because they aren’t seeing success.
You are on the right track. Your scripts may be having trouble striking that balance between over-scripting and not providing adequate guidance for transitions or special circumstances. Some key tweaks to your system and scripts could result in huge improvements in revenue and fundraising success for your institution. Your callers might need a little boot-camp to get them on board but they’ll thank you as they begin raising lots of money and having a great time at work.
Way to go! Your scripts are making it happen! You might need to freshen up key sections, like rapport, your credit card ask, or your transitions. But, you have a great foundation from which to build. Perhaps most of what you need is to put a great coaching and pledge verification system in place to make sure that your awesome script is being put to use in calls. Rock on!
If you found this quiz helpful, visit this page to learn more about my book. And subscribe to Real Deal Fundraising and you'll get a free copy of my e-book on Call Center Games.
Jessica Cloud, CFRE
I've been called the Tasmanian Devil of fundraising and I'm here to talk shop with you.