The phone is still a most powerful tool in fundraising. But only if you use it effectively.
A common issue so many people have, however experienced, are the nerves or anxiety that occur when making important fundraising calls.
Whether you’re calling a new prospect to introduce yourself or calling a current donor to make a solicitation, nerves take away from your effectiveness.
Phone anxiety is real.
Conquering the nerves and building more confidence in your call will make a big difference to the outcomes you seek.
Here are some easy-to-implement ideas to ease your anxiety and raise your level of success.
- Warm-Up – It’s normal to have phone nerves before making important calls. Start with some easier calls as a warm-up. This will boost your confidence. Only then hit the important or more difficult calls.
- Pep Talk – Give yourself a pep talk before you start. Remind yourself why you’re doing this. Smile. Breath, Relax.
- Be Confident – Fake confidence if you need to.
- Stand Up – While making your fundraising calls stand up. This is because it allows you to be more engaging and dynamic when you speak.
- Emotional Content – When you speak, make sure you share your emotions through the words you say. Inject passion in your words and in your cause.
- Worst Outcome – Clarify the worst outcome. Maybe they’ll slam the phone down. Or you’ll lose a great lead. Rejection is rarely that extreme and even if it is, how bad is that really?
- Giving Not Taking – Focus on the fact that you are giving them an opportunity. See Rav Dessler piece.
- Hishtadlus – Know it’s only hishtadlus. You’ll earn reward for just the effort. And the outcome is not up to you.
- Picture Your Prospect – Look at a picture of who you’re calling while you’re speaking with them. Use Google images or LinkedIn. It helps develop oxytocin, the chemical produced when we feel connected to people. This helps the person you’re calling feel more connected with you.
- Bullet Point, Not Script – When you use a script, it takes away your emotion and verbal warmth. Instead of a script, print out one word bullet points. This will give you the content you’ll need to cover in the call, while not taking away from the newness and energy of speaking.
- Practice Your Opening – First impressions count. Avoid holding your breath when waiting for someone to pick up. This causes your vocal cords to tense so you sound anxious when you say hello.
- Don’t Drop Your Volume – When you lack confidence, it’s common for your voice to drop in volume. This can happen on the point that makes you most nervous. For example, someone might say, “Could we meet?” or “Would you consider a donation of $1,800?” with a volume drop on the word ‘meet’ or ‘$1,800.’ When you do this, you’re communicating that you don’t feel confident in what you are saying. So practice keeping your volume level throughout.
- Tone of Voice – Everyone has a natural range of voice tone. When you’re nervous on a fundraising call, you’ll tend to go into the higher end of your vocal range. Try to stay in your lowest natural range. Do this by taking a deep breath in. Then slowly let it out as you relax. Repeat this and this time say hello on your out breath.
Try some of these ideas out on your next call. B’hatzlacha raba!
Avraham Lewis is the fundraising coach for busy Jewish leaders who need a real system so they raise much more.