A few weeks ago I blogged about the professionalisation of charities. Leon Ward just sent me this article he wrote about his own experiences as a telephone fundraiser. It’s definitely worth reading in full here. I found his description of the training given by call centre operators particularly interesting:
During my training I was particularly shocked at the three-ask script that callers had to abide by while battling with the public. In most cases, the initial ‘ask’ was £20 per month, then, once rejected, as it usually was, this was reduced to £10 and then to £5 (or any suggestion the donor agreed). In between the rejections, callers then used a cushion of facts and figures to convince the donor to sign up. Supervisors would usually listen in once you clicked the ‘donate’ button. If you came off script or the supervisor thought you were going to lose the gift then they would come over and coach you, mid-call, to make sure you sealed the deal. More often than not this distraction meant you couldn’t concentrate and the donor was lost. Of course, it was always my fault and never the supervisor, rabbiting in my ear. Praise was minimal. In my probation I did rather well, raising the equivalent of £6.5K in my first 10 weeks. Obviously, the call centre managers took credit for most of that.
Just when we need the ‘third sector’ more than ever, its operations seem to converging with those of the private and public sectors.