For those of you old enough to remember television’s “Thirty Something,” the lead characters worked together as creative directors in a cool Advertising Agency in San Francisco. Soaring ceilings, exposed brick and a pool table in the CEO’s office.
As I look out from my office at our 40 foot bowtruss ceilings, exposed beams, weathered brick interior walls, shimmering hardwood floors, paneling from the 1930’s combined with freshly painted graffiti art and the old Hollywood Reporter neon sign left by a previous owner in our space, I am reminded of that Ad Agency. Our offices are 20,000 square feet of coolness. We even have the pool table, though not in my office. But, what resonates most about our space is that it embodies who we are, and perhaps, who we are not.
The Donor Services Group is not another telefundraising company….a vendor, hired to make the requisite 2 minute calls at dinner time. We are creative strategists, who have spent the last twelve years incorporating donor cultivation techniques into telefundraising. We are pioneers trailblazing inventive programs that offer highly personal and interactive calls to the masses of current and previous non-profit contributors. We are the ones who routinely receive gifts of $100,000 over the phone on a credit card and who a few months ago, received a commitment for an 8 figure gift from a donor we were unable to reach by phone but to whom we took the time to write a personal handwritten note on behalf of our client.
The Donor Services Group is not a telefundraising vendor at all. We are a fundraising agency whose products can’t even be considered similar to all those other firms. Sure we still use the telephone, but other than that, to compare DSG to other firms serving the non-profit sector is comparing apples to oranges. Even for those programs that we do offer that have some similarities to our competitors, DSG’s orientation and company philosophy infuses very real differences to create new and fresh alternatives.
Unlike the boys from “Thirty Something,” we don’t sit around brainstorming while tossing Nerf basketballs, but when you think about what you want from your telefundraising firm, is it a vendor with a cookie-cutter, highly scripted approach and a cheap price or do you want something more? Do you want creativity, problem-solving, and a “donor centric” approach that has been proven to leave less of the negative footprint on your donorbase than most other calling programs while also delivering greater donor loyalty and longer-term retention rates?
So the next time you put forth an RFP or pit one telefundraising firm against another, or try to compare pricing, I ask you to consider this:
- Do the firms you are comparing even produce the same product?