Dante said that the ninth circle of hell was cold. I say its cold calls. There’s nothing more awkward than telling someone: “Hi, I’m from [name of non-profit]. You were kind enough to donate to our silent auction last year…” It’s for two good causes though, animal welfare and keeping my apartment. Here’s what I’ve learned about cold calls.

  • You weren’t disconnected. They hung up.
  • Get a list of previous donors. It will work five times better than randomly punching in numbers, and make it five times less likely that you’ll want to punch the telephone instead.
  • It’s an ab workout. Your stomach tightens the minute you start dialing.
  • Business 2.0 magazine says it’s a good idea to call around dinner time. Don’t do that. It’s rude.
  • A lot of small businesses don’t have money to spare. It’s not personal when they don’t give, and it’s especially meaningful when they do.
  • On that note, the ones that donate can make your day. I had a new prospect tell me: “Thank you for reaching out.” It still made me smile a week later.

Full disclosure: I have danced in my chair and sang “Money, money” after a successful call.