This is the fourth in a five-part series about ways to improve phonathon contact rates. Contact rate is one of the most important metrics in phonathon. To read the other posts in this series, click here.
Where-Are-You-Now (WAYN) Next-day emails
Beyond properly employing all of the data research tools available, you can also improve your data integrity by systematically asking your alumni to update their information. One of the best practices for this is implementing a “Where Are You Now?” next day email to all prospects marked as wrong number, reassigned number, disconnected, or whereabouts unknown (for whom you have an email address on file). This email would basically explain that the institution was unable to reach them and direct them to a website where they could update their demographic information.
I marketed the update website as a “Reconnect” website and promoted it throughout the year not just in these emails but also on direct mail pieces and at the bottom of other emails. These next-day auto-responder emails to newly coded invalid numbers should be an on-going part of your program which supplements the data collection your phonathon callers do on the phone and your data research program.
Where-Are-You-Now (WAYN) Email blasts to lost alums
I recommend sending a bulk “Where Are You Now?” email blast to all prospects not loaded due to status as a “historic delete”. (A historic delete is a constituent that you did not load for phonathon calling because you know all their numbers were coded as invalid in previous years. See post about that here.)
The process for a WAYN blast is very similar to the WAYN next day emails. This should be done sometime in the mid-fall semester so that results can be incorporated into the database in the spring. Load a segment in the spring semester called “Fall Updates” which consists historic deletes for whom a new phone number was found during the fall semester. This makes sure that those who update don’t go an entire year without a solicitation and gives you a few more records to call in the spring.
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Jessica Cloud, CFRE
I've been called the Tasmanian Devil of fundraising and I'm here to talk shop with you.