I get upset when I receive a call from a telemarketer. I know it is their job to call me and to try and get me to buy something I do not want. I understand that the reason why they call me between 5:00pm – 8:00pm is because that is the prime time that I will be available to talk. HOWEVER, that is my prime time to be with my family and since I have such precious little time to be with them, I do not want a ringing telephone or an unwanted telephone call coming between that.
My alma mater happens to do a year round phonathon, where bubbly students call me up and ask me to make a gift to the College so that students, like themselves can enjoy the same education that I benefitted from. In theory, you would think that I would like hearing from these students, but when they get me on the phone, I am ticked. This call is another telemarketing solicitation and at this moment in time, I do not want to get a sales pitch over the phone to support my college.
Do you know what I do want? I want to have a short, but pleasant conversation with a student. I want them to tell me about their student experience and why they love going to the College. I want them to express their gratitude to me and to all the donors that make it possible for them to pursue their education. I want to hear how the College is changing and what’s new. End the call without any awkwardness, just say thank you for your time, and invite me to experience the mission in action by either visiting the campus, attending an event, or simply by checking out the website.
Trust me, after having such an engaging conversation, when the appeal letter arrives, I will think of that student and how she is part of a community that I cherish, and THAT will motivate me to make a gift.