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Dialling up telephone fundraising with Quarriers — a case study

Updated: May 17


Quarriers is one of Scotland’s leading social care charities. It provides practical care and support for vulnerable children, adults and families who face extremely challenging circumstances.

For this case study, we spoke to Quarriers’ team members Frances Tobin, Data and Insights Manager and Katy Martin, Head of Development and External Relations, as well as Kay Fellows, Business Development Manager at Gather Campaigns.

Charity: Quarriers

Campaign type: Telephone

Date: September-October 2022

Duration: 3 weeks

Database size: 2,000


In 2022, post-Covid and having not reached out to their supporters for some time, Quarriers wanted to get back in touch with them to thank them for their support and explore opportunities for reactivating lapsed donors, upgrading donations, verifying gift aid details, and reminding people about the great work they were doing – too tall an order in one phone call? We didn’t think so.

How could all that be achieved in one call?

Frances: Traditional telephone fundraising can be rigid. Callers have a single script with one desired outcome, such as to sign up supporters for an event, increase an existing donation value or raise interest in legacy giving. Our brief was different. We wanted the phone call to be flexible. One script wouldn’t fit all. It very much depended on the supporter’s situation and reaction.

Kay: The key to this campaign was versatility. We didn’t want to pigeonhole supporters into categories, such as ‘upgrade’ or ‘reactivate’, and we couldn’t just be focused on one area of giving. By taking the supporter base as a whole and tailoring our approach to each donor, we were able to approach everyone, meet the brief and deliver results.

Katy: Kay and her team at Gather developed several scripts for the callers to use, which allowed them to choose the appropriate approach and cover a number of bases. The warm conversations led to upgraded donations, lapsed donors reactivating their support and increased gift aid. Even those whose status didn’t change benefited from the call, as they received a hearty thank you for their support. The increased awareness, marketing opt-ins and positive gratitude all went a long way to building and maintaining our relationship with supporters.

Isn’t a database of 2,000 too small to produce meaningful results?

Kay: Definitely not. In fact, we’ve worked with many small charities whose supporter pool is limited and seen them benefit hugely from this kind of campaign. If the assumption is that telephone campaigns are rigid, then charities tend to think their data must be apportioned into categories each of which would then be too small to allow for the momentum to let the work flow. But if you go in with a flexible mindset, like we did with Quarriers, all manner of possibilities open up.

Frances: Gather Campaigns team’s approach was to be agile and tailor the conversation to the person on the other end of the phone. We didn’t just have one desired outcome that we were dead set on achieving; our aims were more varied and open. For us, a positive outcome could take many forms.

What was your experience like working with Gather Campaigns?

Katy: We’d worked with Gather before and with Kay, so we knew they’d present to us innovative options, and they did. After the pandemic, there was an underlying fear among many charities of approaching supporters. We didn’t know what their situation was and if getting in touch with them could be seen as insensitive or untimely. The Gather Campaigns team supported us throughout and approached the campaign with empathy and a human touch, which is one of the reasons it worked so well. We’ve worked with several agencies in the past, and wish they were all as easy to work with!

Frances: Gather’s fundraising team represented us extremely well. They were fully briefed by us, of course, but even before then, they’d taken it upon themselves to do their own research on Quarriers. They knew our organisation and understood what we wanted to say. We never felt forced into having to make specific asks; the team was completely on board with ensuring the conversations were adaptable.

Charity supporter speaks with telephone fundraiser.
Engaging supporters in authentic conversations.

The results

  • 32% upgrade conversion rate

  • 25% uplift in gift on upgrade

  • 11% conversion rate on reactivations (up to 5 years lapsed)

Katy: We were very pleased with the results, which were higher than anticipated given our small database and the fact that some of the data was quite old. It’s something we’ll definitely look to do again.

Frances: The feedback from supporters who received a call was very positive. Many said how nice it was to have the opportunity to discuss the work we were doing. That’s the beauty of telephone campaigns – you can speak to people where they are without being intrusive. This means they feel in control of the conversation, and, once it’s over, they are left feeling positive about the call and the cause.

Would you like to more about our telephone fundraising or other services? Get in touch! We look forward to speaking with you.

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