Fortunately for all of us, Lifehacker guest poster Erica Elson works as a fundraising caller for an arts organization, and gave some tips that will help banish fundraising calls from your life, or at least make sure that you get fewer of them.
Don’t hang up. No, really. Most important: don’t hang up without saying anything. Anything that you do say to the caller might be put on your profile with the organization along with your donation history, so don’t chat about the best times to call you or other numbers where you can be contacted. However, what you should remember is not to hang up immediately, because this will count against you as if you had never answered the call at all. They consider this no answer.
No, no, no. Once you do answer, it’s your job to keep saying “no” until the person goes away. “A good telemarketer uses the ‘Three Nos’ rule: don’t let the customer go until they have said ‘no’ three times during the phone call,” Elson explains. This rule works in in-person sales as well, including store credit cards and other big upsells. The caller may not let you go until you’ve said “no” three times, so stay firm and keep at it.
If the caller listens to you and then suggests calling back later, say no unless you really do intend to buy or donate on the next call. This is a common tactic: after all, the seed has been planted, you know who’s calling, and you’ve already heard the sales pitch. From the caller’s point of view, a potential donor or customer who they already have a relationship with might be more receptive than a cold call.
Put me on the list. Of course, once you’re done saying “no” politely, ask to be put on their do-not-call list. If the caller demurs, ask for a supervisor, and insist on speaking to a supervisor, just like when you’re calling customer service.
Even if you don’t get put on the organization’s indefinite do-not-call list, at least they’ll leave you alone for a while. “[M]ost non-profits run seasonal campaigns,” Elson notes, “so at least your lead will be put to rest for three to 11 months.”
If you have a phone number and haven’t signed up for the Do Not Call list, you have no one to blame but yourself.