We are huge fans of fundraising in the digital age. You can get your mission out there, en masse, in a matter of seconds, by setting up a FundMyTravel page, sending an email, or posting on social media. When bringing in moolah is the goal, there’s nothing better than reaching as many people as possible with the least possible effort (life’s busy enough, you know?). Still… there’s something to be said for a good old fashioned phone call.
Asking for donations over the phone can sound intimidating, but in all reality, it’s one of the best ways to know you’re being heard. That one-on-one time with someone gives you room to explain all your key points, and it gives that person the opportunity to ask questions that they might skim over by only seeing your post online.
We get it — most of us swapped phone calls for texting about 10 years ago, making fundraising phone calls feel even more awkward, unnatural, or nerve-wracking. Snagging that donation through an interpersonal connection can be huge, though, so we’ve compiled some tips and tricks on how to ask for donations over the phone.
5 tips for asking for donations over the phone
1. Have a clear mission
This is big in fundraising no matter what, but especially when asking for donations over the phone. You don’t want to be that person asking for money with no clear explanation as to why.
Don’t start your fundraising journey by having a vague idea of studying in Argentina over the summer; however, do start your fundraising journey by choosing a city, a program, and budgeting costs. It’s important for contributors to feel that they’re giving to something important, so don’t lose their funding by going in unprepared!
The more evidence you can give for how beneficial their funding would be, the more convincing you are. Plus, it’ll make for a smoother, more enjoyable phone chat for both of you.
2. Know your audience
Fundraising phone calls do not (we repeat: do NOT) have to be awkward. They can sometimes even be fun! Are you reconnecting with a family member or friend? Maybe you’re reaching out to a previous teacher or employer. They’d probably love to hear how you’re doing, what you’ve been up to, and how much their support would mean to you.
Maybe you’re calling up some of your parents’ friends, or your friends’ parents. Ask how they are! Tell them how your parents are doing, ask how their kids are. The point is, be personable. Nobody wants to answer the phone only to feel like they’re being solicited. Show your personality, and let them know that you put consideration into choosing to reach out to them directly.
3. Think through questions ahead of time
This can be one of the most frightening parts of talking on the phone, no matter what the conversation is about. Whether you’re interviewing for a job, talking to your student loan provider, checking in for a doctor’s appointment — being asked questions over the phone that you’re unprepared for can be flat-out uncomfortable.
Don’t get stuck in a situation where someone’s interested in your mission and you can’t fill in all their questions. Think about what you would ask a fundraiser over the phone, and prepare those answers. What will you be doing? For how long? With whom? Why? Is it safe? These questions can sound a bit grueling, but trust us, it’ll be worth it to avoid the awkward phone silence.
4. Practice never hurt nobody
There is absolutely nothing wrong with writing down, word for word, what you plan to say. There is absolutely nothing wrong with standing in front of your mirror and rehearsing that fundraising phone call script, for hours if you need to!
Practice with your mom or a friend, if that’ll help make your tone more fluid. Whatever it takes to get you feeling comfortable is exactly what it takes to make the most of your conversation and do the best you can by your campaign.
5. Be confident
Here’s the thing — anyone can be a successful salesperson. As long as they’re confident in what they’re selling, others are going to be confident about getting on board. Each of these steps certainly matter; plan to know your information before you put it out there, and always, always be polite on your fundraising phone calls.
But beyond that, the heart of how to ask for donations over the phone is being excited and sure of what you’re doing, and your donors will feel that. In the beginning, it might feel unnatural. You know what they say — fake it ‘till you make it. After all, you’ve got money on the line!
[Related: 6 Steps to Fundraising for Meaningful Travel]
Line please? 3 fundraising phone call scripts
A phone script asking for donations won’t necessarily feel like the most natural thing to start writing, so we’ve got you started with a few options that you can transform into your own.
- Hi <name>, this is <name> from <reason you know each other>. Do you have a few minutes to talk? I’d love to share a bit about my fundraising campaign with you. I first got interested in this topic due to <insert event>, and since that time, I’ve dedicated myself in <x> ways to pursue this field. I’ve done my research, selected a program, and feel confident about what I can get out of this experience. All that being said, saving the money for this journey has come with some challenges! I’m reaching out today to you, someone who has always been generous in your support of me, to see if you’d consider contributing to my campaign.
- Hello <name>! I know it’s been a while since we’ve been in touch, and I’m eager to hear about how you’ve been, and excited to share an upcoming opportunity in my own life with you. If you have a few minutes, I’d love to tell you about the journey I’ve been on, and humbly ask you for your support in my endeavors.
- I’m calling today with a business proposition. As someone who’s always been interested in <XYZ> and supportive of <XYZ>, I’m hoping I’ll be able to win you over in support of my upcoming fundraising campaign. If now is an ok time, I’d like to share some of my ideas with you, and make a case for why this is an excellent endeavor to be a part of.
Use FundMyTravel and avoid fundraising phone calls completely!
We’re a fan of how personable and direct fundraising phone calls can be — but hey, they’re not for everybody! If you know you’re just not interested in picking up the phone and dialing, then get started on your FundMyTravel page!
Crowdfunding dedicated to getting abroad — for volunteer work, schooling, studies, or even just travel — has never been easier through this free, user-friendly, easy-to-share resource. Get to creating your campaign, start sharing your mission with the public, bring in that money, and get yourself on your life-changing journey abroad.
Get your script ready for asking for donations over the phone!
You’ve got this! Now that you (hopefully!) have some bolstered confidence, you’re ready to start detailing out your phone script asking for donations. The first step is to compile a list of all the people you’ll reach out to. It’s a good idea to have the bones of your script in place, and then add some details and personal touches, depending on who you’re contacting.
Once you get started sharing your passions and ideas, hearing that positive feedback of a supportive human on the other end of the call is going to give you a rush you’ll want to repeat! Good luck — you’ve got our backing all the way.
This article was written by Samantha Harper. Samantha’s quest to learn about her family heritage in Prague ignited the travel flame within her. A Wisconsin native and Pitt alumna, Samantha’s insatiable appetite for the world led her into an International Relations master’s program in Italy. Still not feeling like she’d seen enough, she finagled her way into spending a summer in Spain and teaching for a year in Thailand. She is (temporarily) settled in Washington, D.C.