people running a marathon to raise money for charity

The power of the telephone for fundraising and sponsorship challenge events

We know that for many of our clients, organising fundraising or sponsorship challenge events for their supporters to participate in is a crucial part of their fundraising strategy. Whether that involves jumping out a plane, walking over hot coals or running/cycling/swimming a marathon – events are still an incredibly popular way to generate publicity, raise essential funds and maximise supporter involvement.

However the popularity of challenge events also means that there are more and more events competing for supporters’ time and commitment, as well as that of their donors. So it’s more important than ever that the supporters who choose to participate in your event and raise funds for your charity feel valued, appreciated and motivated.

And this is why we recommend telephone calling as part of your fundraising or sponsorship challenge events engagement strategy.

The personal touch and flexibility of a telephone call is easily the best way to create a human connection – and experience shows us that it’s far more successful than emails, letters or SMS texting.

A telephone call is the perfect way to offer gratitude, guidance and support to those that have already committed to supporting your fundraising or sponsorship challenge event, and as long as you are not undertaking any marketing as part of the call, then it is classed as an admin call, which means you can call everyone you have a number for.

We think there are 3 main types of event calling, and most of our clients will implement a strategy which includes at least 2, if not all 3, of these:

1. Registration and welcome

A telephone call made to a supporter shortly after registration (when their personal motivation is at their highest!) is helpful and impactful for a multitude of reasons:

Firstly, saying thank you is always powerful, but in this instance it’s the perfect opportunity to let your supporters know how they are making a difference, to ensure they feel valued, to express interest in their preparation, to help them with fundraising ideas and answer any initial questions. This type of call is conversational, natural and flexible.

A welcome call can also help you understand the motivations for your supporters getting involved in any particular event, which is useful for creating more meaningful dialogues with your supporters, shaping your future fundraising or sponsorship challenge events, and contributing to your overall fundraising strategy.

2. Stewardship and countdown

Creating a second touchpoint in the countdown to the event demonstrates really great stewardship, and is helpful for you to get a better picture of how the supporter is progressing, while providing inspiration and encouragement for any training goals and also fundraising targets. It also means if supporters are struggling with their progress, a phone call can help prevent any drop off in participation or attendance. Supporters will often have more questions by this stage, whether it’s about the event or the fundraising process, so having a really well-briefed call team means all those FAQs can be addressed in full and help keep the supporter on track.

3. Post-event and thank you

On completion of the fundraising or sponsorship challenge event, being quick to thank your participants with a telephone call can have a wide range of benefits:

It’s an authentic gesture of gratitude, making your supporter feel really good about themselves, their achievements and what their contribution to the charity really means. It should also mean that the supporter will feel more inspired to complete other events for your charity, or offer support in another way.

It’s also a great opportunity to remind supporters who have been fundraising offline to get all those donations paid in to the charity bank account!

Finally, it’s a perfect chance to ask for feedback, comments and thoughts for improvements – which shows you really care about the supporter experience, and making it as positive as it can be.

In summary, event calling demonstrates excellent customer service. It helps the supporter feel more connected to the charity and motivated to complete the event or challenge, and as a result, usually means they are likely to put far greater effort into their fundraising.

Our telephone calling campaigns for events and sponsorship challenges have demonstrated that, on average, for every point of telephone contact, the supporter will raise an additional £70, thanks to feeling appreciated and encouraged. And 20% of those who are contacted by telephone will go on to do another event in the future.

If we can help you plan your events calling campaign, do let us know. We’d love to help.



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