The Value of an Expectation
What would you do if you knew that 38 percent of your donors reported their satisfaction level with you as below average or, even worse, poor? Would you assume that their expectations were too high? Or that somehow the donor experience you were delivering was … well … subpar?
Most of us know — from personal experience as a donor or some level of donor interaction — that donors expect certain things from the organizations they support. More importantly, donors are known to give to multiple charities, bringing a load of expectations from organization to organization.
What's the key to improving donor satisfaction scores and, with that, donor value? A donor-centric approach founded on integrated and personalized multichannel communications is the answer. How do we know? Merkle, in partnership with a market-research agency, conducted a study surveying donors across four nonprofits in the health sector to understand the correlation between donor satisfaction and a donor's value. (In the interest of full disclosure, Jeff heads up the nonprofit group at Merkle).
Not surprisingly, the study found that a constituent's behavior is undeniably dependent on his or her satisfaction with the organization. Nine key drivers (out of 28 total) stood out as having the most potential to impact donor satisfaction. The priority rank was calculated based on the importance of the driver to satisfaction and the potential to improve performance of that driver. Hence, drivers with the strongest combination of high importance and low performance (meaning there was the most room for improvement) came out at the top of the list. Each of the drivers and its potential impact on performance/donor satisfaction are outlined in figure 1.
Some are no-brainers. We all understand the link between donor satisfaction (and therefore an increase in giving) to "ease of giving" and even to "organization is trustworthy." Right? However, more surprisingly, the key performance drivers varied wildly by organization.