Making the Contact
When is the best time to call and which number should I use?
Tip: Veteran callers find the best time to reach a parent is on Saturday mornings or Sunday afternoons (e.g. 3-5 PM), though any reasonable time you are free to make a contact is fine. Don't forget to be enthusiastic and SMILE!
Start by calling the preferred number (usually the home) listed on the call sheet, but below the prospect's name. If you are unable to reach anyone at this number after a few attempts, try an alternative number on the call sheet or send an e-mail. Some volunteers prefer to preface the call by sending an introductory note, e-mail, or online postcard.
How do I begin the conversation?
Tip: First, introduce yourself as a PAC member and the role PAC members play as a liaison for parents to the College. Don't forget to include that as a PAC member you are responsible for helping raise awareness and money for the Kenyon Parents Fund. Don't try to lead them astray but also don't forget to explain that PAC members are not just fund raisers.
Secondly, ask about their student. What parent isn't going to want to talk about their son and/or daughter and the experiences he/she are having at Kenyon? If your child knows their child, mention the connection. If your child does not know their child, try making a different connection such as where you live, the prospect's occupation, schools attended, a shared Kenyon experience, or, most timely, whether or not they attended Family Weekend.
Now that the prospect and I have eased into the conversation, how do I switch to fund raising?
Tip: Once you have made your connection and eased the prospect a bit, state your intention for the call and that you act as an advocate for the Parents Fund. Start by talking about the importance of the Parents Fund and its success over the years for the College and among its peer colleges. Then, discuss why you chose to support the College this way and why it is meaningful to you.
What if there are two decision makers?
Ask to speak to them at the same time. If one is not available, try to arrange another time to contact them.
What if the prospect says that their wife or husband deals with those decisions?
Ask to speak to that person. If they aren't available, try to arrange another time to contact them. Or, ask when and/or where they can be reached that is most convenient for them.
Next, thank them for their support in the past, if applicable. If they have not supported before, thank them for taking the time to talk today. Reference the appeal letter they received from President Nugent, highlight the proposal that was included and MAKE THE ASK! ("We hope you will consider the proposed contribution of $___ in President Nugent's letter.")
What do I do once the ask has been made?
If a YES; thank them for their support and reiterate ways to give (report any pledges to Annie Ellsworth).
If a MAYBE; discuss the various options for giving (gift designations; link section F), investigate the possibility of stepping up from previous year's giving, and mention the Leadership Giving Breakfast for donors of $2,500 and up.
If a NO; emphasize participation (in 2010-2011, gifts of $100 or less accounted for $85,000), revisit Kenyon's status among peer colleges, and ultimately thank them for their time.
Remind them they can give safely and securely through the website at any time. If they don't feel comfortable giving online, try to get a dollar amount for their pledge or gift.
What should I do if I get an answering machine or voice mail?
Tip: On the first attempt, introduce yourself and say that you will call back. On the second attempt, explain why you are calling. If you find a call doesn't suit the donors, or you are having a hard time reaching the prospect by phone, send an e-mail, online postcard, or a hand-written note—any communication is better than no communication!!
How should I follow up?
Tip: We can never say thank you enough, even if you are thanking the parent for their time. Send a follow up e-mail, online postcard, or note—even if the prospect said no, didn't specify an amount, or didn't pledge at the level they were asked. Offer to give feedback you receive from the call, either from the prospect or observations you have made in the process, to the College. And, finally, don't forget to follow up with the College about your conversation, no matter the outcome. The more information we have, the better prepared we can be for the next year!