Tips for a Good Client/Vendor Relationship
For this week’s Advisor, FS asked a number of agencies and other companies that serve the nonprofit fundraising sector for tips on making the most of the client/vendor relationship. Here are some of their thoughts.
“The No. 1 thing we’ve found is to clearly identify every task, lay it out on a spreadsheet, get agreement before beginning, then update the spreadsheet weekly with the status of each project. This helps to pinpoint problems, document progress, track mission creep and keep clients happy. It’s a technique I took from my Disaster Incident Management System training. They call it a ‘Tasks in Progress’ list.”
— Rick Christ, managing partner, npadvisors.com (www.npadvisors.com)
“Since a client hires a consultant based on the consultant’s expertise and credentials, and since a consultant is just as human as anyone, the client should express appreciation for the advice/work the consultant does. Make the consultant feel good! And that will help energize the consultant to perform at the highest level possible. A little praise is a good investment!”
— Jerry Huntsinger, fundraising consultant and copywriter
“I think one of the keys to a great working relationship is chemistry. On the front-end, both parties need to spend the time to make sure expectations, philosophies and personalities are all a good match.
“In college, I asked a girl to a Bruce Springsteen concert. She was smart, nice and pretty — everything you would want in a date. On the way to the concert, she said she liked Kenny Rogers and asked what kind of music Bruce sang. It was not a good match.”
— Scott Swedenburg, CEO, Mail Enterprises (www.mailent.com)