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Catapult Fundraising’s AF Connect Calling Program Achieves an 85% Pledge Rate with Lapsed Donors for 
Special Olympics of Indiana!

The Situation: Catapult Fundraising partnered with Special Olympics of Indiana to conduct an annual fund telephone solicitation program for current and lapsed business donors, many of which had not been solicited via telephone in 3-5 years.  

Catapult solicits unrestricted annual fund support, cultivates prospects, gathers feedback and updates personal information. 

With the goal of freeing up development staff time to focus on major gifts, Special Olympics of Indiana outsourced the program to utilize Catapult’s dedicated team of professional callers.


The Goals: There are several key goals for the calling program:

  1. Steward and renew donors

  2. Upgrade current donors

  3. Re-engage lapsed donors

  4. Upgrade gift amounts by soliciting multiple installment gifts, which also instills a habit of giving

  5. Substantially increase average gifts

  6. Create a pipeline for major gifts


The Process: Catapult’s methodology is modeled after face-to-face solicitation techniques. Catapult worked with Special Olympics of Indiana to identify prospects for the calling program. Once the calling pool was selected, each prospect was sent a pre-call letter, signed by a volunteer. The letter signer’s personal story and reasons for supporting were highlighted in the letter. Also included was the case for support and a personalized ask amount for each prospect.

Catapult assigned personalized ask amounts based on each prospect’s giving history over the last five years. Catapult’s fundraising specialists reached out to each prospect to follow-up on the letter, to thank each prospect for their previous gifts, to build relationships, and to solicit a new gift.


Donors who made a pledge commitment through Catapult’s program were sent a thank you letter from the original letter signer and a pledge confirmation within 48 hours of the phone call.


The Result:  Catapult’s results are a clear indication that this type of solicitation is successful in stewarding, soliciting and upgrading Special Olympics of Indiana’s prospects.

Catapult’s callers increased the average gift size by 39%.


We’ve achieved strong results across all donor groups. Catapult’s pledge rate of 85% for lapsed donors far exceeds the industry average of 45%!


Conclusion: Based on the outstanding results and the positive response from the donors solicited, a combination mail/phone program for Special Olympics of Indiana is the best way to upgrade current donors and renew lapsed donors at a low cost-per-dollar.

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