Tag: fundraising

HOW SD&A HELPED HILLARY MAKE HISTORY

BY AURELIA FRIEDMAN

With Hillary Clinton becoming the first presumptive female presidential nominee for a major party this week, I’ve been feeling especially proud of the active role that SD&A has played in the success of her campaign. In addition to the outstanding fundraising calls we make on her behalf from our National Call Center, we recently had an opportunity to roll up our sleeves and support Hillary’s campaign in a different and altogether exciting way.

hillary clinton nevada caucus

Caroline Mendez and Aurelia Friedman (second row on the left behind Hillary Clinton) at Nevada Caucus victory rally in February 2016

On Saturday, February 20, I got up long before the crack of dawn and joined three other members of SD&A’s National Call Center team for a five-hour road trip from L.A. to Vegas. We were headed there for a rare and untraditional type of party: to help our client win the Nevada caucus.

Once we got to Hillary’s Nevada campaign headquarters, we were immediately immersed in the urgency and excitement of the race. Everyone was running in all different directions, making sure everything was covered. We were told to meet one of the precinct captains at a local middle school and help guide supporters to the caucus site. Once we arrived there, we found out our precinct captain was Wendy Greuel, a former Los Angeles City Controller and Councilmember. We instantly felt at home and got into the groove of what we do best—making the strongest pitches possible on our client’s behalf. We talked to all types of people and got to experience firsthand the broad diversity of Hillary’s base.

Aurelia and Cindy

Cindy Davis and Aurelia at caucus site

Later in the day, we went straight from our caucus volunteer site to Secretary Clinton’s official victory rally and were brought up on the stage right behind her. We started getting phone calls from our call center colleagues saying that they saw all of us on CNN! Dionne Johnson, one of our campaign supervisors, got a great picture with Hillary that she sent to her mother in Arkansas. Cindy Davis, another one of our campaign supervisors, got a photo with Hillary as well and found out the next day that a picture of all of us on stage behind Hillary had been published in the Sunday edition of the Los Angeles Times. Caroline Mendez, SD&A’s vice president of client services, referred to the experience as one of the happiest moments of her life. The energy in the room was exhilarating and I felt like I was part of something that mattered.

Aurelia and Caroline

Aurelia and Caroline at victory rally

At SD&A, we take every action with our clients foremost in mind and it brings us great satisfaction when we see our fundraising efforts come to life. The funds that our callers raised over the phone for Hillary’s campaign were used to pay for the lawn signs that we put in front of the caucus sites (a few of which now proudly hang from the ceiling of our call center), the t-shirts we wore at the caucus and the victory rally, and the stickers we distributed to Hillary’s supporters.

We are proud to have had the opportunity to join our client, Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, on the campaign trail, and we are looking forward to raising even more money on her behalf through our National Call Center to help ensure her victory in November.

ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE MAKES FUNDRAISING CALLS, DEVELOPS DEEPER RESPECT FOR CALLERS

BY AURELIA FRIEDMAN

As an account executive in the National Call Center, my job is to ensure that our clients receive the best fundraising services possible. I am responsible for the success of their campaigns, for identifying and solving any problems that might arise along the way, and for maintaining optimum performance metrics from start to finish. To help our callers hit their specified goals, we encourage them with positive incentives, whether this is in the form of bonuses, my homemade brownies, or some friendly competition among colleagues.

Aurelia on the phone

SD&A Account Executive Aurelia Friedman makes fundraising calls as Supervisor Mike Fields observes.

Until recently, I had “talked the talk” about performance, but I had never actually “walked the walk”, so I decided to lace up my boots and spend some time making fundraising calls alongside our professional calling agents. To be honest, I was reluctant to do it at first. Since starting my job at SD&A, I have listened to and monitored countless phone calls and was intimidated by the amount of rejection that callers must face on a daily basis.

With each contact, I gained a newfound appreciation for what our callers do. I had worked as a phone bank volunteer on various political campaigns in the past, but the types of fundraising calls we make in the National Call Center are not so simple. Passionately conveying the client’s cause and need for support was easy to do with the donors that were similarly engaged, but for donors who were not as receptive, it was a challenge to keep them on the phone long enough to make the case. A typical phone call can last anywhere from a few seconds to 15 minutes. The “no” calls are much shorter than the “yes” calls, but the task before our callers is not only to pitch the donors appropriately, but to also leave them feeling happier with the nonprofit organization than they were before the call, regardless of whether or not a gift is secured. The art of a proper fundraising call has everything to do with maintaining that balance.

Out of twenty-six contacts, I successfully secured three gifts. When I got off the phone, supervisors and callers gave me high-fives and hugs and my colleagues felt more intrigued to try it themselves. I felt a sense of accomplishment, knowing that I contributed to the success of this campaign as both account executive and caller, while also helping to further increase morale and energy in the call center. What our callers do every day requires a lot of strength, resilience, and knowledge, and putting myself in their shoes helped me gain a new perspective on fundraising.