For-profit

Telefund

Website:

www.telefund.com

Location:

Denver, CO

Formation:

1988

Type:

For Profit Business

Telefund, Inc. is a fundraising and campaign telemarketing firm for left-of-center advocacy and political organizations established by left-of-center organizing strategist Doug Phelps in 1988. It is affiliated with the Public Interest Network, a network of left-of-center for-profit and non-profit advocacy organizations led by Phelps.

Telefund has offices in Denver, Colorado; Boston, Massachusetts; Austin, Texas; and Los Angeles and Santa Barbara, California. It is headquartered in Denver.

Background

Telefund Inc. is a for-profit business that has worked with liberal client groups to raise money in telephone fundraising for the last three decades. The company claims it worked with hundreds of organizations and campaigns. [1]

Telefund’s self-declared client list includes some of the top leftwing groups in the United States, including radical environmentalist group Greenpeace; Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider; the Democratic National Committee; Emily’s List, which spends money to elect pro-abortion rights Democratic female candidates; the Human Rights Campaign, an LGBT advocacy group; League of Conservation Voters, an environmentalist campaign group; the American Civil Liberties Union, a socially liberal legal group; Giffords PAC, a pro-gun control group; Mother Jones, a left-wing magazine; the National Organization of Women, the nation’s largest liberal feminist group; and the Union of Concerned Scientists, a liberal environmental and science policy advocacy group. [2]

The Denver-based company has call centers in Chicago, Austin, Boston, Los Angeles and Santa Barbara.

Public Interest Network Ties

Doug Phelps, president of the Public Interest Network, or PIN, is also the president of Telefund. PIN spun off two for profit campaign service firms to assist left-wing groups. These were Grassroots Campaigns, Inc. and Telefund. [3]

Phelps is the president of both Grassroots Campaign Inc. and Telefund, Inc. Although he largely stays out of the spotlight, in 2014, Phelps held a $5,000 per-plate fundraiser at his home for the Democratic Party that Vice President Joe Biden attended. [4]

Telefund operates a national network of call centers. The company stopped publishing the names of its leadership, but as of spring 2018, the chief financial officer was Hyam Kramer. The company has reportedly been delinquent three times since 2013 in filing state reports in Colorado. [5]

Tactics

Although telemarketing or fundraising aren’t particularly popular, the company asserts, “Technology changes quickly, but there’s still no better way grow resources and build support than individual person-to-person contact with your supporters.” [6]

The company, speaking to a target customers, also says, “In today’s political climate, progressive organizations need a comprehensive program to provide financial resources.” [7]

In 2018 the operators with the company talked to more than 2.5 million Americans, according to the company. [8]

The company recommends membership renewals for liberal groups to raise money, noting after director mail,one or two telephone renewal attempts can maximize net income.” [9]

The company also says groups should make a “special appeal” through a mid-year call for a one-time contribution. It further provides calls for sustainer agreements, or calls to convince donors to automatically renew their gift through a monthly charge to their credit card or checking account. Calling for lapsed membership reinstatement is also a successful fundraising strategy, the company says. Through its network of client groups, the company also sells donor lists. [10]

The company also touts its about to get credit card data, manage lists to target the most effective donor populations, and checking up on pledge return rates. [11]

Telefund partners with C&D Printing and Mailing for shipping and bulk mailing. The company standard package includes a call, then two reminder calls to the person who pledged the donation, and two reminder mailings that would come two and four weeks after the initial mailing. [12]

References

  1. About. Accessed September 10, 2019. https://www.telefund.com/about-us ^
  2. Clients. Accessed September 10, 2019. https://www.telefund.com/our-clients ^
  3. Watson, Michael and Ludwig, Hayden. “Secrets of the Public Interest Pyramid.” Organization Trends. February 21, 2019. Accessed September 10, 2019 https://capitalresearch.org/article/secrets-of-the-public-interest-pyramid-part-5/ ^
  4. Welsh, Nick. “Joe Biden Swoops In.” The Santa Barbara Independent. March 21, 2014. Accessed September 10, 2019.  https://www.independent.com/2014/03/21/joe-biden-swoops-in/ ^
  5. Watson, Michael and Ludwig, Hayden. “Secrets of the Public Interest Pyramid.” Organization Trends. February 21, 2019. Accessed September 10, 2019. https://capitalresearch.org/article/secrets-of-the-public-interest-pyramid-part-5/ ^
  6. About. Accessed September 10, 2019. https://www.telefund.com/about-us ^
  7. Fundraising.  https://www.telefund.com/services/fundraising ^
  8. About. Accessed September 10, 2019. https://www.telefund.com/about-us ^
  9. Fundraising.  https://www.telefund.com/services/fundraising ^
  10. Fundraising.  https://www.telefund.com/services/fundraising ^
  11. Information Services. Accessed September 10, 2019. https://www.telefund.com/services/information-services ^
  12. Fulfillment Services. Accessed September 10, 2019. https://www.telefund.com/services/fulfillment-services ^

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. Hyam Kramer
    Chief Financial Officer
  2. Susan Rakov
    Board Member
  3. Janet Domenitz
    Board Member
  4. Doug Phelps
    Founder and President
  See an error? Let us know!

Telefund

1543 Champa Street
Suite 102
Denver, CO 80202