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Key Success Factors for your Inbound Telemarketing Program

A good script, strong donation asks and persuasive upsells are common tools used to achieve call center results. Now, with new call center platform features, there are even more resources available.  

Here are five best practices you can use to optimize the ROI of your inbound telemarketing efforts. 

1. Daily Reporting 

​Ask the call center to provide a high level report that gives a quick summary and recap of volume, call handling and  results by toll free number (source).  Other metrics to include in the report

  • -Results by day, week, month and year so you can see trends and opportunities

    -A cumulative overview and tabs that break down results by source (toll free number) to allow for easy visibility into each program

    -Call arrival results, including calls offered, calls handled, abandons, and average talk time; all essential for ongoing call predictions and staffing 

    -Breakdown of revenue by monthly and one-time donations and whether cash or credit card transaction which will outline the overall success of a campaign depending on your goals 

    -Break-out of non-revenue calls by category to provide a snapshot into what is happening on the calls as well as opportunities for converting some of them into donations or streamlining donor service processes


  • ​​2. Routing Based on Agents Performance 

Set goals for the call centers and track results to find the best performing  agents on the program.  The centers should put the highest performers at the top of the calling tree and send incoming calls to them first.  This is a great way to boost results and call center performance. 

Set call center goals on one or two of the following metrics:

​​​If the call center does not have the ability to route calls based on skill set you can also use an upfront Interactive voice response (IVR) to determine the type of call before it gets to an agent.

  • -Average gift


    -Talk time



3. Calibration Calls

Call monitoring is a key part of the QA process and involves listening to calls and discussion around opportunities and improvements to the program. Many times the call center is  the first interaction a potential donor has with the organization and it’s vital that the agents are properly interacting with callers. To help calibration calls run smoothly, use a formal checklist to allow all parties (Organization /Consultant/Call Center) to score and rate the individual calls.  At the end of each call the scores will be reviewed and any discrepancies in the scoring can be discussed. This allows you to reference previous feedback by agent over the history of the program, realize bigger picture opportunities, and confirm that all parties are on the same page regarding QA expectations.

4. FAQs 

Make sure that all your FAQ’s are current and up to date.  Review them on a monthly basis and delete any out-of-date or unused FAQ’s.  Alert call center agents of any additions or changes.  Make sure that the title of the FAQ’s are short and the scripted answer is in a format that the agent can read back to the caller. Shorter scripted responses lead to shorter talk times.

5. ​Hold Message 

Creating a good hold message can increase caller wait time and decrease abandons. With a solid, engaging hold message a donor will wait an average of 1 ½ to 2 minutes. An ideal hold message is usually 3 to 3 ½ minutes in length.  Use a celebrity/spokesperson if possible. 

  • -Keep the message interesting and engaging

    -Change the message throughout the hold 

    -Remind the donor that an agent will be with them shortly

    -Be sure to use current information


  • ​​CDR Fundraising Group has a team of tele-fundraising experts committed to meeting the telemarketing needs of our cpents. For more information on these best practices or how you can integrate telemarketing into your fundraising strategy to cultivate and retain donors, feel free to contact CDR or leave your comments via CDR’s Facebook or LinkedIn page



Danielle Shell