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A Great Technique to Lift Response Rate

You’ve probably gotten a call like this before.  You pick-up the phone and there’s a recorded message from some politician or celebrity prompting some call to action.  You probably think to yourself “who listens to these things?”
Well, the reality is: a lot of people do!  In fact, a well-managed Outbound Voice Message (OVM) follow-up is one of the easiest, most effective and most affordable ways to lift response rates.  Whatever you might personally feel about OVMs, they are a technique that should be in every fundraiser’s tool box.

Here are some tips to properly managing a message launch that can mean the difference between success and failure:

  • THANK YOU:  The best strategy we’ve found for using OVMs is as a chaser for a direct mail piece.  This is complicated a bit by the fact that FCC rules prevent you from directly asking for a donation or mentioning a mailed appeal for a donation. Truthfully though, a direct ask is almost never a good idea within a recorded message.  We’ve found that a general message thanking the donor for their support and reinforcing the organization’s mission is the best strategy.
  • TIMING. Part I:
    Since you’re not allowed to specifically ask for a donation, timing the message launch is critical.  Estimating postal delivery times can be tricky, but as a general guideline, 10 days after a mailing drops with nonprofit postage is about the right time for your follow-up OVM.  If you’re using first class postage, shoot for about three days after the mailing drops as your target.  ***NOTE:  mail delivery in the month of December is notoriously unreliable.  Allow extra time
    during the holidays
  • TALENT:  The person recording your message should be familiar to the donor. Either the signer of the direct mail letter or a celebrity, if you have an existing relationship.
  • TIMING, Part II:  Unlike most telemarketing, the best time for delivering an OVM is when people are NOT home.  A recorded message on an answering machine is less abrasive than one you physically receive. Shoot for delivery late morning to early afternoon.
  • THEME:  This is possibly the least important variable, as we’ve seen success with everything from Annual Fund to Disaster to Planned Giving.  But it’s worth noting that an emergency issue or a funding problem with a finite deadline may change your launch strategy. 
  • TIMING, Part III:  Be aware of what is going on in the marketplace.  In those times when other fundraisers are especially active (particularly around election season), it’s a good idea to postpone OVM launches for a time when there is less competition.

With proper planning, OVMs will help you realize a significant bump in response rates for your direct mail appeals, at a minimum cost and without rousing the ire of your donor-base. 

And do yourself a favor; don’t call them “robo-calls.”

Katapult MarketingA Great Technique to Lift Response Rate