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Telemarketing firms help charities accomplish their missions

Everyone knows it takes money to make money. Successful businessmen have to put forth capital to start new ventures. Investors have to put their own money down to make money. Why would this philosophy be any different for charities?

Donations don’t just come pouring in to charities because they exist. Charities have to reach out to donors. They must spread the word about who they are, what they do, and how and why they do it for donors to even consider making a contribution. This is very cost prohibitive so they use professional telemarketing companies to avoid purchasing special equipment or paying any upfront costs. Most charities (financially and technically) are not in the position to conduct their own telemarketing campaigns.

Donors like to see where their money is going, and rightfully so. But simply measuring the percentage of charity expenses, referred to as “overhead” does not paint a true picture of that charity’s performance. There are many cost factors that play into receipt of donations through telemarketing. Here is a small sampling of those expenses:

  • Registering, licensing and bonding expenses.
  • Wages and benefits for telemarketers.
  • Administrative costs: Employment paperwork and paychecks, donation verifiers, maintenance of a “Do Not Call” phone line and list.
  • Caging and fulfillment: Sending donors printed materials, processing, financial reporting, and depositing donations into the charity’s bank account.
  • Overhead: Printing, telephone services, specialized calling equipment and maintenance, calling lists, computers, programming costs, postage/distribution, rent, utilities, advertising, legal/accounting fees, taxes, etc.

The transparency required to obtain funds also costs money. Donors want honest answers to their questions about the charity. Whether via an online website, which must be maintained, or through paperwork, it is necessary to provide written information about the charity to donors.

While telemarketing is highly effective in reaching potential donors, it typically takes well over a year to recoup the initial costs associated with charity start-ups and that is only if the campaign is successful. During this time, charities still receive their guaranteed monies regardless of whether or not the telemarketing firms are taking a financial loss.

The public hears about charities only making 15 to 20 cents on the dollar and they think it’s a rip off. Unfortunately, they fail to understand what it takes to conduct a marketing campaign. It’s nearly impossible to get people to continually volunteer their time and businesses, like telephone carriers, don’t reduce their fees because a charity uses their services. Without telemarketing firms, charities would not be able to continue their missions.

A charity’s true success is measured by whether or not it accomplishes its mission, not by how much money it takes to get there.

© 2014 LEEP Law Enforcement Education Program

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