Our guidance on telephone fundraising is aimed to help fundraisers undertake telephone fundraising campaigns and calls in a professional and sensitive manner, complying with all regulatory requirements, and building positive relationships with supporters.
For all the regulatory and legal requirements for telephone fundraising, go to the Fundraising Regulator’s Code of Fundraising Practice.
Telephone fundraising can be carried out in-house, by charity fundraising staff or volunteers, or a charity can work with a telephone fundraising agency to make calls on its behalf. Whichever way you are thinking about doing telephone fundraising, it’s a good idea to think about:
- The objective(s) of the call and link to your overall fundraising strategy and campaigns
- The process of how the call will actually be made and whether you will work with a telephone fundraising agency
- The specified process for fulfilment of the telephone call: how the money or other means of support will be collected
- The process and manner in which donor details will be managed, held and passed back to the charity
- How the quality and compliance of the telephone calls will be monitored and reviewed
- How all fundraisers (whether within a charity itself or from a fundraising agency) will be appropriately trained and briefed
You must ensure that you do not make any telephone fundraising calls to:
- An individual on a telephone number that is registered with the Telephone Preference Service, unless they have given their consent to receive marketing calls for the time being
- Anyone who has on any previous occasion registered an objection to being called by that particular organisation, or who has withdrawn their consent, for fundraising or marketing calls
- Any person known to be under the age of 16
A recipient must not be called using an automated dialling system (i.e. a system that can dial a series of numbers automatically and play a recorded message) unless the recipient has consented to this. Also, telephone fundraising calls shouldn’t be generated by random digit dialling, whether the dialling is manual or by computer.
For more information on data protection and whether you can make telephone calls to individuals go to the Fundraising Regulator’s Code of Fundraising Practice.
Timing of telephone calls
It is important that telephone calls to recipients are not made later than 9pm unless expressly invited by the individual.
During the telephone call
Fundraisers should always check that anyone they call is happy to receive the call at that time. If the individual asks not to be called again, that request must be complied with and appropriately recorded. Fundraisers should always recognise the right of the individual to terminate the telephone conversation at any stage, and to accept such termination promptly and courteously, as well as respond openly and honestly to any questions.
It’s a good idea to plan ahead and think through the messages and content of fundraising telephone calls. This helps to:
- Give fundraisers clear information on the content of the fundraising campaign
- Can provide fundraisers with key messages and background information so they can answer questions from supporters
- Ensure that fundraisers making the calls are aware of all their regulatory responsibilities and that the call is fully compliant with the Code of Fundraising Practice
- Give the potential supporter a positive and engaging experience
The content and structure of calls should also be discussed and agreed with any fundraising agency the charity is working with.
After the telephone call
It is good practice to make a note of the outcome of all telephone calls and for key information and feedback to be recorded. Any complaint made within the time of the telephone call should be reported and dealt with according to the organisation’s complaints policy and any request made by the individual during the call on their future communications preferences must be acted upon.
There must be a written agreement between the fundraising organisation and the external telephone fundraiser as set out in the Code of Fundraising Practice and appropriate solicitation statements must be given on fundraising calls that are carried out by an external agency.
For more guidance on working with third parties, including due diligence, agreeing contracts, setting KPIS, and monitoring performance take a look at our guidance on successful partnerships.