Thought I would share a quick story with you.

Sitting on the dock at the lake with my husband, enjoying a beautiful Sunday lunch, it’s the perfect day. My mobile rings with a number I don’t recognize. Turns out it is somebody calling from a national nonprofit organization. Everything went downhill from there.

First off, I don’t know where they got my cellphone number from, as I had not supported this particular charity in the past. They knew my name and said they were calling because I had, in fact, supported them in the past year, so they lost me right out of the gate.

What followed was a mere 5-minute rant from the telemarketer telling me all the reasons I should be giving them a monthly donation. I literally put my phone on speaker and set it down on the table out of shear interest to see how long they would continue talking at me.

The goal of any nonprofit is to acquire, engage and retain new donors.

So, let’s look at the score so far, sports fans:

First off, it’s a poorly executed telemarketing program. I sometimes wonder if directors of development know or care what actually goes on with some of these telemarketing programs. The goal is to make 1+1=3, acquire, engage & retain. They got my name from a rented list, phoned my mobile and did nothing more than interrupt my lunch.

Donor 0 / Nonprofit 0

These telemarketing programs must offer some positive financial reward to the nonprofit organizations; otherwise they wouldn’t contract with the telemarketing firms. The upfront cost of that call to the nonprofit was +/- $4. But in this case, there was a real cost associated with calling me, claiming to know me and guessing what was important to me. They got it wrong on all three counts and I would think twice about supporting this organization. The sad thing is that they’ll never know. So what was the real cost?


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