Phone Still Reigns Supreme… For Now

Today’s guest blog post is written by Elise Rebmann, Renewals & Retention Manager, Patron Technology. 

Even though many feel that telemarketing in today’s society is much more intrusive than it once was, phone calls thanking patrons for their support continue to increase retention and lifetime givingThe field of telemarketing has had to evolve quite a bit in the past decade with the rise of regulation, changing preferences, decreasing landlines, and the myriad of digital channels for marketers and fundraisers to choose from. 

I actually still have an old-fashioned landline, but like many people in this day and age, unless I recognize the number, I don’t answer. Because of this, a new technology is now becoming more popular for companies that still want to use the phone as their main marketing tool, but recognize they might not be able to reach their targeted audience with a phone call — ringless voicemail. These are messages that are dropped into your voicemail box without your phone ever ringing. It’s been around a few years now, but it recently popped onto my radar as it has been in the news a lot this summer.

The whole topic has gotten very political. One service provider asked the FCC to exempt this practice from anti-robocall rules. One political party supported the move, and the other party (along with consumer advocates) opposed it. The FCC public comment procedure began and the whole idea was widely considered terrible, so the company withdrew their request… at least for now.

I received my first ringless voicemail message on my mobile phone about two weeks ago. While I was pretty horrified by this practice based on the recent news coverage, my ringless voicemail message was from my local art museum and it simply said:

This is Patty and I’m just leaving you a quick message to thank you for being a member of the museum. We couldn’t do our work without your support, and we hope you’ll have time to stop by our new exhibit next month.

I deleted it of course, but it made me feel good about supporting this organization. It felt more personal than a text because I was actually hearing the voice of someone who worked at the organization, but I also kind of appreciated that the phone didn’t ring and interrupt my work day or evening family time. Thus for arts organizations, ringless voicemail technology could be a better way to communicate if you find your standard telemarketing efforts aren’t seen positively.   

Human connections make supporters feel valued — and figuring out how to do this is not always an easy task. Don’t count out those personalized phone calls just yet, but it couldn’t hurt look into ringless voicemail.

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