chapter 16 Using the Telephone

With the predictability of gravity, I always know that when I get to the part of a training or consultation where I recommend using the phone, I am going to get more pushback than with almost any other strategy. People invariably say, “I hate being phoned,” “I always hang up right away,” “I would never give to an organization that phoned me.” But usually after four or five expostulations on the evils of phoning, someone will say, “I gave over the phone just the other night when the library called.” “So did I,” says someone else. At that point usually one of the people who “never gives by phone” says, “Well, that’s different—that’s the library. I gave to them also.” We laugh and move on to explore the possibilities the telephone provides.

From about 1985 to 2003, telemarketing grew as a fundraising technique and, although it was very unpopular, it did work with a large cross-section of the population. In the early part of this century, it was not unusual to receive two or three calls in an evening, with paid callers selling anything from credit cards to rain gutters. In 2003, Congress passed a popular pieces of legislation, the “Do Not Call Act.” You can now opt out of receiving telemarketing calls by registering your phone number with a master “Do Not Call” list (nonprofits are exempt from the Do Not Call list). This one law decreased the volume of calls almost immediately. Then, over the next ten years, e-mail increasingly replaced the phone ...

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