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Phone-In Donation Plan

The holidays are here. And as we begin decorating our trees, wrapping gifts, and lighting the candles of our Advent wreaths, we also know this is a time that goes hand-in-hand with the season of generosity. Despite all the hustle-and-bustle of the holidays, this should not stop you from providing every opportunity for your people to give. Now is the time to work on a phone-in donation plan.

For example, don’t make this unfortunate mistake that a church made during last year’s giving season. They were so caught up in the busy Christmas season that they missed a very important voicemail – a $100,000 voicemail. A donor wanted to make a huge last-minute gift, but had a question about the process. And that church’s staff totally missed it. So our advice to you is to be prepared.

With that being said, we’d like to provide you with an easy solution during this hectic time, so your givers get the help they need and you don’t miss a beat when it comes to giving. Enter the Phone-in donation plan: an easy solution that helps your team provide an incredible level of support and service to your congregation with the help of Pushpay’s help resources and tools like Donor Development and Gift Entry. Below you’ll find a step-by-step guide on how you can avoid the above situation, even in the busiest of seasons, while offering white glove service to complete donations. Also, to help relieve any worry or doubt from your community, Pushpay and Church Community Builder are here to provide your church with support in any way possible.

Why You Need a Phone-In Donation Plan

Just like the successful physical connections you were making with your congregation pre-COVID, a Phone-In Donation Plan will provide better connections and higher response rates versus relying solely on snail-mail and emails. According to a recent study, phone outreach has a response rate of 8.1%, compared to .03% for email. While phone calls have a much better impact on donor engagement and retention, Welcome calls alone boost retention by 30%. Moreover, 19% of your lapsed donors would donate again, if you connected to them over the phone, explains Nonprofit Fundraising Influencer and Founder of Fired Up Fundraising, Gail Perry.

What You Need and How to Execute a Phone-In Plan

Recruit volunteers to provide white glove service

As we previously stated, this is a busy time for all of us, so getting volunteers during this time may seem like an additional obstacle. However, if you communicate the following you’ll be surprised at how many people will be lining up to help you get the job done:

  • Be clear about the task at hand by including what the job entails, how many hours/days you’ll need assistance, and the goals you hope to accomplish.
  • Avoid as many hurdles for interested volunteers to sign-up by providing a group calendar for scheduling when they are needed.
  • Make sure to cater the volunteer opportunity to the passions, interests, and skills of your people.

Establish a schedule for coverage

To help things run smoothly, it’s important that you establish a schedule and an easy way for your volunteers to sign up. Below are a few things you should consider when creating parameters around a schedule:

  • What hours and days are required for your Phone-In Plan
  • Shift lengths (shorter increments may help you attract more volunteers and keep them happy as they work)
  • The minimum number of volunteers required to assist during given hours
  • And providing a volunteer sign-up schedule, preferably digital (Google Docs, Excel Spreadsheet etc.), that can be edited and will allow people to self-regulate by signing up for the time slots that work best for them.

Provide Key Talking Points

If a Phone-In plan is new to your church or if your volunteers have not had the experience in how to respond to donors over the phone, experience or not, it’s important that you provide your volunteers with a calling script to assist them in how to communicate with donors who are getting their last minute donations in via phone. Below are a few points that should be included in your script:

  • Introducing yourself, and asking a courtesy question (i.e. How are you today? How is your holiday season going? How are you doing in this unexpected time? etc.)
  • Remind them of the purpose of the phone-in line, details of how it works, and how they’re there to provide ease to the giver’s end of year giving journey.
  • As your volunteers assist in taking their donations, if the opportunity rises, have them include your church’s story and what the donor’s giving provides to your church (i.e. what you have accomplished and what your future goals are that will benefit from their giving).
  • Lastly, show your gratitude for their generous donation.

Ensure your volunteers are trained on the donor process, have admin access and help resources available

It’s important, whether or not your volunteers are familiar with your Donor Development platform, that you train them on how to use the tools and resources the platform provides to successfully process donations and gain insight on the stage a donor is at in their personal donor journey when they call in.

Also, make sure your volunteers have minimum gift-entry admin access to successfully process the gift on behalf of the donor through Gift Entry, if all else fails.

Lastly, it’s key that your volunteers provide givers with help resources not only for their end of year giving needs but of any other question they may have as they continue their giving journey with your church.

Your plan + ours will keep your congregation taken care of

If your team misses a support opportunity with one of your givers, no worries! There are a few other ways the Pushpay and Church Community Builder teams will be helping you throughout December:

  • Our giving platform has a feature called Assured Payments, which minimizes the impact of any potential downstream processing issues
  • We’ll be keeping you informed on our software status and system announcements through our Status Page (which you can subscribe to if you haven’t already)
  • And lastly, we’re staffed on weekends and holidays so your team doesn’t have to do tech support on top of everything else this Christmas