Nonprofit Satisfaction and Experience
- Online experience:
Frankly, an entire article (even a book) could be dedicated to creating an effective and satisfactory experience online. I’m sure there are some out there. I’m not the first to say that this is just the tip of the iceberg, but it represents some of the highest priority areas you should review.
Starting at the beginning of the experience—let’s face it—an effective homepage is critical. What does “effective” mean? Here are key elements to consider: the speed with which the homepage loads and the usefulness of the homepage's navigation to accomplish business. Speed is an obvious issue and today’s consumer expects an immediate response. If your site takes longer than two to three seconds to load, you have a problem. Next, your navigation strategy must focus on your most common constituents, and if they can “find their way” from the homepage to accomplish their goals. Contrary to what you might believe, most website visitors come with a specific goal in mind—be it to learn something, make a donation, find a volunteer opportunity, etc. Think through your major constituent needs/behaviors and then review your website to make sure it is obvious how those needs get met within one to two clicks.
Another online experience that can often create frustration is the completion of online forms. If you have any forms on your website make sure they are intuitive, clear and provide the appropriate options. Additionally, only gather the information you need for the transaction or ensure you are explaining why you need information that is not inherently needed for the transaction. The best way to “explain” is to actually turn it into a benefit for the constituent (tailored information in the future, information that is of interest, managing a preference, etc.)
- Direct mail:
Most nonprofits have some type of direct-mail program. Typically the “experience” with direct mail is managed through four areas: 1) the number of times an average constituent is receiving direct mail from your organization, 2) how you handle preferences around communication, 3) how you handle changes of name and address, and 4) if your information is relevant to the constituent.
As far as frequency goes, you can ask 10 different people in the industry and get 10 different answers. In reality, frequency becomes a non-issue if No. 4 is handled appropriately. Direct mail becomes a nuisance when it doesn’t matter to the reader—when it doesn’t help them, inform them or motivate them to be better in life or make a difference in the world. The other items are directly related to just providing good customer service. If someone writes a new address on the mail piece, ensure this gets captured and is updated within your mail stream as soon as possible. These are basic expectations of consumers—no matter what the industry is. And, of course, handling communication preferences is not only good customer service, but can be problematic if complaints are made to the state attorney general.
By the way, the same points above apply to the use of the telephone channel for outbound marketing and fundraising. In fact, the rules and regulations surrounding the use of the phone when calling consumers are very specific and can create large issues for your nonprofit if not followed.
Vice President, Strategy & Development
Eleventy Marketing Group
Angie is ridiculously passionate about EVERYTHING she’s involved in — including the future and success of our nonprofit industry.
Angie is a senior exec with 25 years of experience in direct and relationship marketing. She is a C-suite consultant with experience over the years at both nonprofits and agencies. She currently leads strategy and development for marketing intelligence agency Eleventy Marketing Group. Previously she has worked at the innovative startup DonorVoice and as general manager of Merkle’s Nonprofit Group, as well as serving as that firm’s CRM officer charged with driving change within the industry. She also spent more 14 years leading the marketing, fundraising and CRM areas for two nationwide charities, The Arthritis Foundation and the American Cancer Society. Angie is a thought leader in the industry and is frequent speaker at events, and author of articles and whitepapers on the nonprofit industry. She also has received recognition for innovation and influence over the years.