Wise Giving Wednesday: Charity Phone Appeals

By H. Art Taylor
President & CEO BBB Wise Giving Alliance
Jul 17, 2020

Like any other form of fundraising, telephone appeals can help a charity or become a significant failure if not managed well.  In general the most successful phone appeals take place when an organization calls previous donors to encourage them to increase their support or contacts individuals with a special connection such as calling alumni of a university to request a gift. In contrast, an organization can risk the potential of high fundraising costs and annoyed call recipients if it engages in conducting a large volume of cold calls – contacting people who have never donated and are not familiar with the organization.  

To help donors handle phone appeals, I thought it would be helpful to share some of basic tips: 

  1. Ask the caller how much of your gift will get to the charity, especially if the caller states they are a professional solicitor.
  2. Remember, some charity names may sound similar. Be sure you are not confusing the charity with another group.
  3. If you are interested, ask the caller for the charity’s website address or request written information on their programs and finances to be sent to you.
  4. Don’t succumb to pressure to make an immediate donation if you want more time to make a more thoughtful decision.

And, of course, check out the charity by visiting Give.org to verify if the charity meets the BBB Standards for Charity Accountability.


On a separate note, as part of our Building Trust Video Series we are pleased to provide a video that features Stacy Haller, President and CEO, BrightFocus Foundation (a BBB Accredited Charity).  BrightFocus is an organization that seeks to advance research and public information in three areas: Alzheimer’s disease, age-related macular degeneration and glaucoma.


We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit Give.org or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include:  

Finally, remember to let us know by going to https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/ if you are  interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one.

H. Art Taylor, President & CEO
BBB Wise Giving Alliance


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