Face-to-Face Appeal - Follow-up Phone Call: I Hate the Phone - I Love the Phone

I experience “phone block.” This week I planned to call back an anchor donor for his decision from my phone/letter appeal two weeks ago. But I hesitated, which was crazy, because we had a great time on the phone two weeks ago, and he agreed I should send my letter appealing for an “obscene” amount of money. I postponed calling for five days! Why am I “chicken” to call him back? Finally, last Monday after lunch, I tentatively dialed his number, hoping no one would answer. I hate the phone! 

After three rings, the wife picked up and said cheerfully, “Scott!  Glad you called! We just put a check in the mail to The Navigators yesterday.”

“Great! Thank you.” I asked about her health, and a wonderful conversation ensued. Then her husband arrived. “You’ve got to talk to Dick,” she said. So he and I had a great 15-minute conversation about the fighting in Africa and his crops. I closed with a story from Nigeria about how the Gospel is advancing. He was thrilled. I was thrilled.I love the phone! 

What a contrast. Twenty minutes earlier, I felt like the dentist told me my gums would have to come out. What about the phone causes angst in funding? The phone is where:

-We might hear disappointing news. “Sorry, I can’t support you.”  

-We are supposed to be articulate. And we’re not sure we are.

-Insecurity is exposed. “If I can’t see his eyes, I lose confidence.” But are you confident if you can see his eyes? Hmmmm. On the phone we wonder if  perhaps we are not “all that.”

-Our view of fundraising is challenged. Is it a secular “nasty” duty or a spiritual ministry? Late author Henri Nouwen says, “Fundraising is as spiritual as giving a sermon, entering a time of prayer, visiting the sick or feeding the hungry.”

-Our friends have an opportunity to consider their stewardship of God’s stuff. You are inviting them to think from God’s point of view about their stuff—and that is a good thing. If a person is offended by being invited to make a stewardship decision, that says more about them than you (assuming you are not being pushy). You are helping them grow in discipleship.

Understanding what causes phone anxiety helps us grow in persistence in ministry partner development. With which of these five do you identify? It’s not really the phone you dread, but something the phone reveals. 

Okay, let’s get practical. Go to the MPD website and find a model for a phone script. Even though you may feel mechanical in writing yours out, you will find freedom if you do the hard work of “scripting” your talking points—not to memorize and read, but to free you up to concentrate on your long-distance friend.

Now, I need to call someone today. Let’s see, do I love the phone or hate the phone?

by Scott Morton, International Funding Coach

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