A Cautionary Tale to End the Year

December 22, 2010

On December 20, I received a phone call from a fine fellow who was calling me on behalf of the AFP every member campaign. The introduction went fine.

He proceeded to tell me that he was calling me to ask me to make my campaign donation before the end of the year. I thought his ask was fine. I replied that I was familiar with the campaign but that I’d decided not to support it this year because I’d made other giving choices. I thought things were still going fine.

Then the wheels came off. There was this pause – and I heard a sort of ‘garrupmph’ noise at the other end of the line.

He then said (and I’m paraphrasing) “Well Fraser, it’s very important to AFP that every member give to this campaign.” I was dumbfounded!

One of the reasons donors love to say they hate telemarketing so much (aside from suppertime calls) is that callers don’t take no for an answer. And, for the record, my no was crystal clear.

Secondly, the best reason he could give me to give was that AFP wanted my money. How self-centred is that?

Let’s forgive the fact that I had to say no twice. His best argument for me to change my mind was that the organization he was representing really wanted me to give. Lame.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m a big AFP guy. I’ve been a member for years. I’ve been to Congress pretty much since it started. I’ve been to chapter events from Halifax to Vancouver.  I think it’s a great organization.

But man oh man – did they ever botch this call.

The moral of this story: When you’re asking a donor or a prospect for a gift, never – ever – use the fact that YOU need money as the reason they should give. The institution has no needs. You need to talk about who benefits from the gift – the end beneficiary of my generosity.

And the second moral of this story? No means no.

Wishing you a wonderful holiday season spent with those you love most in the world. See you in 2011.

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Fraser Green

Fraser Green

Former political campaigner and current fundraising strategist with a knack for understanding how audiences will react to messages.