Your strongest callers don’t always expect to receive incentives beyond their compensation, but recognizing exceptional performance is as much a part of preparing for future campaigns as it is about rewarding progress in your current campaign. A straightforward caller incentive program is an investment in your future success, setting an example to callers of the kind of work that’s most appreciated.
The best types of incentives are the ones that serve more than one purpose. Not only do you want you congratulate and reward your most successful callers, you want to motivate your average and struggling callers to raise their expectations. Caller clothing can be a relatively inexpensive incentive and will also make for great marketing photos, as well as boosting the overall camaraderie in the call center. Branded t-shirts are the most popular option, but polo shirts, baseball caps or even light outerwear can be cost-effective, depending on the quantity.
Another popular option, especially in higher education, are gift cards to local businesses. The advantage to using local businesses is that they’re often willing to donate the gift cards to your program, especially in the lower values you’d need. You’ll definitely want to poll your call center to see what would be most attractive, but fast-food restaurants, grocery stores and movie theaters are good places to start.
As expected, the most effective incentive is usually performance based raises. When implementing a policy for raises, it’s important to be thoughtful and fair, considering all aspects of the AFP Code of Ethical Principles and Standards. Performance related raises should not directly correlate with the amount raised, such as would be the case in commission-based sales position, but should reflect the performance of the individual in relation to their peers. Here’s a good summary article from the Pennsylvania Land Trust Association on the pitfalls of commission-based fundraising.