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Using Phonathon to Positively Influence Matching Gift Programs …Tips and Strategies for Increasing Results Jason Fisher, Senior Counsel Advancement Solutions.

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Presentation on theme: "Using Phonathon to Positively Influence Matching Gift Programs …Tips and Strategies for Increasing Results Jason Fisher, Senior Counsel Advancement Solutions."— Presentation transcript:

1 Using Phonathon to Positively Influence Matching Gift Programs …Tips and Strategies for Increasing Results Jason Fisher, Senior Counsel Advancement Solutions A Division of RuffaloCODY Unauthorized reproduction, distribution or use of the following material is prohibited by law. Copyright 2009 Advancement Solutions, A Division of RuffaloCODY

2 The Phonathon Manager’s Planning Handbook Dialing in the Details for Success
For additional resources, see the new book by Jason Fisher & Anthony Arrington that highlight best practices in phonathon planning. Topics include: *Recruiting and Retention *Caller Training *Scripting *Statistical Forecasting *Pledge Fulfillment *Data Integrity *Policies and Procedures *Segmentation See CASE’s bookstore

3 Phonathon Blog Make the discussion a regular part of your phonathon day!
Join the Conversation at

4 Would You Turn Down Free Money?
Failure to maximize matching gift potential is essentially leaving money on the table Callers, management, and administrative personnel all influence results Just a 1% increase in matching gifts is equal to thousands of dollars for most programs. Development offices need to properly staff gifts receiving positions to follow up on matching gifts identified in phone program.

5 Purpose of Matching Gifts From a Corporate Perspective What’s in it for them?
Recruiting new employees Reinforces value of high quality education with employees Helps local colleges and universities; community Employee retention Shows corporate America in positive light Tax and financial considerations for business It is important to train callers to understand the benefits of matching gifts from both perspectives. This will help them explain the process to your constituents.

6 What’s In It For the Prospect? Why Prospects Don’t Follow Through
Too much of a hassle Callers should stress the importance Explain while the prospect is on the phone Fear reprisal for asking company to contribute Economy, job loss makes people nervous about taking advantage of benefit Not educated about process Doesn’t understand what matching benefit is and how it works Believes institution will take care of it Callers need to explain what their responsibility is in terms of sending it back Callers need to emphasize that the donor takes credit on their gift history for the matching gift- possibly allowing them to advance into the next gift club

7 Train Your Callers to Understand the Matching Gift Process
Callers should be able to explain outline of process to prospect General steps involved College/university’s role in processing Credit recognized/given by school Devote a full page in your training manual to matching gifts Cover how to distinguish company rules, including minimum and maximum amounts, retiree or spouse matches, match ratios, etc. Invite your matching gift administrator to talk with your callers Helps show the seriousness of matching gifts Explaining internal process makes it clearer to student Callers should leave training prepared to discuss matching gifts and be a resource for general information. They need to stress the importance on the phones!

8 Use a Consistent Pledge Close
Teach callers to ask for matching dollars on every gift Make no assumptions, even if they have updated business info Spouses can be a source of matching gifts Use at proper time, consistently in the closing process The pledge close should be used verbatim on every call, no exceptions. Maximizing matching gift percentage requires consistency in asking. The number one reason why matching gifts aren’t realized is callers failing to ask.

9 Example of Pledge Close
Close if Pledge (READ ALL POINTS VERBATIM) Thank you very much for your commitment of $_____. Will that be on your MasterCard, VISA, American Express, or Discover? (Be very assumptive with this sentence) If they object to using credit card: The reason we are asking all alumni to place their gift on a credit card this evening is that it saves the College postage and administrative costs. Giving on credit card actually makes your gift even more valuable to the school. Can we put that on your MasterCard, Visa, American Express, or Discover card this evening? (If No): We will send you a pledge card in the mail. Can you have that gift back within 30 days? Is your mailing address still ________? (If no, capture new address) Are you still employed at __________? (If no, or employer field is blank, capture employer) Would you or your spouse work for a company that would match your gift? (Offer to look up their employer on our matching gift list). This can in some cases double or even triple support to Spring Hill College. Be sure to explain the process to prospect. Thank you for your commitment of $_____. I enjoyed speaking with you and appreciate your support!

10 Proper Scripting for Matching Gift Ask
Incorrect Do you or your spouse work for a matching gift company? Correct Would you or your spouse work for a company that matches charitable contributions? Small changes in verbiage alter the meaning of the question, leading to confusion for the prospect. Confusion and complexity are two big reasons why prospects mistakenly tell callers their companies do not match, leading to lost revenue for the institution. Strategic Scripting Principles, Pages of The Phonathon Manager’s Planning Handbook, further describes how to script the matching gift ask

11 Coaching Callers for Improved Matching Gifts
Listen specifically for matching gift ask Tape or record calls to refine techniques Listen to multiple presentations to assure consistency in delivery Callers should be coached nightly, but documented once every 10 hours of calling All callers need guidance in properly asking for matching gifts. Listening skills and the ability to explain the matching process should be emphasized.

12 Matching Gift Inserts Use in pledge acknowledgements and reminders
Low cost and easy to include Flexible in design. Use color, text, and size/shape to tailor the piece to your needs Post-it Notes offer a creative, cost-effective opportunity to drive constituents to your website. This also helps pledge fulfillment. Boosting matching gifts requires strong callers and effective fulfillment methods

13 E-Mail Reminders to Fulfill Matching Gifts
Any s sent to acknowledge, remind, or thank constituents for pledges can (and should) easily include information on matching gifts. Links to online databases direct donors to your website and provide the opportunity to verify their employers participation in matching gifts. Text or visual appearance can be easily altered for future adjustments

14 Motivational Activities Should Reinforce Matching Gifts
Always use matching gifts in your game strategies Constant visual reinforcement helps emphasize importance Award points or rewards for matching gift results Display cumulative yearly results for callers to see and track

15 Industry Averages for Matching Gifts in Phonathon
Averages are affected by: Institution Predominant employer in town Types of degrees offered Donor education Student callers Scripting and training Programs typically average 5-10% of all pledges and dollars from matching, depending on the above factors. Results less than 5% are cause for further investigation. Check individual caller statistics to ensure they are consistent with team average.

16 Verifying Employer Information
Phrase correctly for maximum effectiveness Stated too bluntly and many prospects refuse to update Use early in the call as part of demographic update process Helps justify the reason for the phone call Ask for job title along with company name Phone number is bonus Example Business information (employer and title). The University likes to hear what alumni are doing with their degrees. [Are you still working at…?] [Would you mind sharing your title and employer name?] Some alumni will not care to share their employer information for fear you will contact them at work. Tinker with the verbiage of the ask to ensure you approach the call in the correct way.

17 Questions? Jason Fisher Senior Counsel (319) 892-0376
Feel free to contact me: Jason Fisher Senior Counsel (319) Jason is an 18-year veteran of the phonathon industry, having successfully managed multiple programs including the University of Georgia. Jason is the former Director of Operations for RuffaloCODY and has consulted with over 100 institutions in his career. To learn more about Jason’s background, visit

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