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Predictive Dialers Not Used Correctly in Fundraising Efforts

TMCnews Featured Article

November 14, 2011

Predictive Dialers Not Used Correctly in Fundraising Efforts

By Jamie Epstein, TMCnet Web Editor

Last year, The Indiana State Fraternal Order of Police raised a whopping $1.9 million through telephone marketing calls made to fellow Hoosiers, using predictive dialer technology.

According to a recent article, the organization collects money that is used for college scholarships that can be used by children of officers, death benefits and other types of aid provided to the families of disabled or killed officers, travel and meal expenses for officers to attend funerals of other officers that were killed in the line of duty, memorials and ceremonies for officers, and funds for local organizations to support youth athletic activities.

The group revealed that without predictive dialers there is simply no way they could raise that staggering amount of revenue. However, there has been some controversy surrounding the use of this innovative technology as last year Keller, the FOP's professional fundraising consultant, was accused by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC (News - Alert)) of violating the Telemarketing and Consumer Fraud and Abuse Act and other regulations.

For many years, Keller placed calls for multiple police and firefighter organizations located all over the United States and in June of 2010, Keller was forced to fork over $300,000 to the FTC to saddle up for charges that his company "abandoned" millions of calls when consumers went to pick up their phones. According to the article, the FTC also stated that Keller made thousands of illegal calls to consumers who had already specifically advised the company they did not have their permission to call them.

Although it is not illegal for telemarketers to call numbers on the FTC's Do Not Call Registry, consumers who have opted to be placed on the charity's internal Do Not Call list are not supposed to be contacted and all telemarketers must adhere to these regulations.

Predictive dialers can be utilized to make calls in rapid succession, in order to get a specific message out to a large group of people in a short window of time. Keller was not using this platform correctly, as he did not have enough telemarketers available for the number of calls made, causing calls that were answered by a person to then be left unanswered by a live representative for more than two seconds, thus positioning the call to become "abandoned."

Predictive dialers must be used the right way in situations as they can help a company to see many great benefits, but if used incorrectly the technology can cause a firestorm to quickly occur. 

Jamie Epstein is a TMCnet Web Editor. Previously she interned at News 12 Long Island as a reporter's assistant. After working as an administrative assistant for a year, she joined TMC (News - Alert) as a Web editor for TMCnet. Jamie grew up on the North Shore of Long Island and holds a bachelor's degree in mass communication with a concentration in broadcasting from Five Towns College. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Juliana Kenny

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