How Data Mining Can Increase Phonathon Acquisition

illustration of an article


This is the second in a series on donor acquisition by Jessica Neno Cloud, CFRE, the author of Successful Fundraising Calls: A Phonathon Scripting Workshop. Cloud is the assistant director for fundraising initiatives and planned giving at the University of Southern Mississippi Foundation. She practices evidence-based fundraising with a focus on return on investment, and has a variety of innovative and effective techniques to share.

You may also be interested in the first article in this series: "How Data Mining Can Increase Direct Mail Acquisition."

by Jessica Neno Cloud (The University of Southern Mississippi Foundation)

The leaky bucket is a common metaphor in annual giving. Organizations will not retain 100% of donors from year to year. In fact, most institutions have retention rates far below that. Without acquisition work to bring on first-time donors, most of our organizations would flat-line within a short period of time.

However, acquisition work is expensive. The best acquisition results usually come from the phonathon program, where conversations can be tailored to the prospect’s interest and have a human touch.

Acquisition mailers usually have poor results, but surely there is some low-hanging fruit in your database that would prefer a mailing. (To learn more, read our article on "How Data Mining Can Increase Direct Mail Acquisition.").

There are also those stalwart non-donors out there that we may want to avoid and not waste precious acquisition resources trying to convince.

We hope you’re enjoying this read. The full text of this article or report is complimentary for our Daily Pulse subscribers. to read it!


Get hundreds of articles and reports like this one — to have your Daily Pulse and other updates from Academic Impressions delivered to your inbox.

Daily Pulse is a curated email digest of practical strategies, timely research reports, and current events in higher ed. You’ll also get periodic updates about our upcoming events and other services, as well as free access to hundreds of articles on this site.

We are excited to bring you the most critical updates and reports in higher education. Thank you for your interest!


Read Jessica Cloud's Book

Successful Fundraising Calls offers you a full scripting workshop and tutorial for successful solicitation calls. Author Jessica Neno Cloud critiques and revises 6 real phonathon scripts submitted by institutions across North America.

In this book, you will:

  • Learn the pillars of writing effective scripts
  • Review sample LYBUNT, SYBUNT, young alumni, and future donor scripts
  • Explore Cloud’s in-depth critique of the samples
  • View revisions of the sample scripts

The only resource of its kind, this monograph brings a low-cost scripting workshop directly to your office.

To order copies for your office -- or to view a free sample: