Are You Delighting Your Donors?
If you walk into a bookstore ... oh snap, wait a minute, there are no more bookstores left. Well, if you browse through the Amazon.com business section, you'll see scores of books (11,056 of them, actually) on how to create great customer service.
These books by authors like Seth Godin, Marcus Buckingham and others remind readers over and over that in order for your company to stand out in this economy, you have to "delight your customer." Or, in our case, "delight your donor."
There are two reasons there are so many books on this subject: 1) Because it actually works to provide great customer service and delight the customer, and 2) because we're not smart enough to get that it works — otherwise people wouldn't continue writing about it.
I don't know how many times I've sat across the table of a major-gifts officer and asked, "How have you delighted your major donors this week?" And all I get is a look of embarrassment on his face.
This is the same person who is running around preaching we need to be donor-focused, donor-centered, donor-you're-the-center-of-my-universe ... yet, when it comes to actually putting that into practice, it falls to the wayside.
Why does this happen? What keeps you from delighting your donors? I mean, I think you do want to delight your donors. You know it's an important part of building loyalty. You know it will eventually help bring in more revenue.
What I find more often than not is the daily inertia of your work is so demanding that it's easy to forget. You're trying to meet all the demands of your day. I get it. There's a lot to do in your work. It's not easy.
So, what are some things we can do to delight the donor? Well, you know that idea of making sure you have a marketing plan for each of your major donors? That's where it starts. Look at that plan. Now, where in that plan have you "planned" for surprises or touchpoints that the donor is not expecting?
Jeff Schreifels is the principal owner of Veritus Group — an agency that partners with nonprofits to create, build and manage mid-level fundraising, major gifts and planned giving programs. In his 32-plus year career, Jeff has worked with hundreds of nonprofits, helping to raise more than $400 million in revenue.