People that are not members, have hit an organization’s website and have shown an activist fervor for one or more of the organization’s causes, should be excellent prospects for memberships…at least that is the conventional wisdom. Recruiting them to be financial supporters or members of the organization however is not that easy. Organizations have tried direct mail and e-mail solicitations with limited success.

To that end PIC developed a telefundraising Activist Acquisition program. The program was developed after testing a number of different variables that included list segmentation, cause analysis, and different offers. What produced the best results was a sustainer or monthly giving program, though other appeals worked.

PIC’s protocol is as follows:

1. The List
PIC analyzes the client’s list. We identify the major cause(s) in which the activists showed interest and we then rank them according to recency, frequency and completeness of the record. We further analyze the file and identify other variables that through our experience indicate the increased probability that an activist will pledge to a monthly giving program.

2.Telephone Appending
We send the identified prospects to a telephone appending service to append telephone numbers.

3.Case Statement/The Script
We work with the organization to develop a compelling case statement and script based on the activist’s interest that will induce the activist to join the organization’s sustainer program. The appeal makes two solicitations to the prospect before falling back to soliciting for a one-time gift.

4. Fulfillment Package
The activist who has either pledged or indicated that he/she will consider a pledge (Hedger) will be mailed a letter referencing the telephone conversation and the outcome of the call. The pledge amount will be recorded on their reply device. For those who have pledge and placed it on his/her credit card an E-mail acknowledgement will be sent.

5. Payment Options
Payment options can be either/or credit card, EFT or a monthly invoice.

Case study


  • One year projection
  • Sustainers fulfill seventy-five (75) percent of the time
  • One time pledges fulfill seventy (70) percent


Size of target audience (with tel. #) 20,000
Contacts 10,000
# of sustainer pledges 565
Pledge Rate 5.65%
Average Gift $10.42
Sustainer Revenue (1 Yr) $52,986
One-time pledges 490
Pledge Rate 4.9%
Average Gift $25.50
Revenue (one-time gift) $8,747
Total Revenue $61,733
Total direct project costs -$45,000
Net Income $16,733
Total Donors 1,055
Net per Donor or Member $15.86