Nonprofit Satisfaction and Experience
Some marketing experts think of your community events as just other channels like the ones listed above—I disagree. Yes, they are unique entry points to your organization, but for some organizations, their events are as well known as the master organization’s brand itself. Additionally, the volunteers and participants who are involved in your events have unique expectations and, unfortunately, when they are not met—the sheer impact of negative peer-to-peer communication can become a real problem for the event’s success and the organization overall. The key experience areas that must be monitored for events fall into the following categories:
- Fundraising and planning:
The fundraising and planning experience is best thought of as pre-event. Your volunteers and participants are the success of your event. Once they agree to support your cause and volunteer their time, they need to be taken care of in the months and weeks leading up to the event. Your event staff must be organized and have a plan to ensure your volunteers feel efficient and that they are making a difference. Disorganization by nonprofit staff is one of the key drivers of an unsatisfactory volunteer experience. Furthermore, the organization is perceived to be the experts in fundraising. Your volunteers and participants need to feel that they are receiving guidance and support to help them be successful as they ask friends and family for donations.
- On-site operations:
Just remember your volunteers and participants have worked for weeks and months to raise money and awareness for your cause (and event). Don’t let them down through poor on-site operations. What constitutes poor operations? These might be minor things, but they are important: lack of good signage on where to go to check in at the event, food (if applicable) that is not as expected or previously promised, bathrooms that are not available or not in reasonable locations, etc. You might provide the most rewarding, emotional experience to someone, but if they can’t find the bathrooms you will hear about it—over and over and over again.
- Post-event communication:
For many staff members, the day after the event is a day to breathe and be happy it is “over.” However, your volunteers and participants have a significant sense of accomplishment and it didn’t stop when they went home. The post-event communication is critical for many reasons. First, volunteers and participants want to be thanked and thanked again. You need to make sure your event constituents realize how important they are to the entire event and the cause. Second, it allows you to communicate the details of the event—how much money was raised, what that money will do for the cause, etc.
Also, if the event recognizes levels of fundraising success, make sure you communicate those results (top fundraisers, top teams) as quickly as possible. I would recommend doing this at the event, but if for some reason it must be delayed, do it within 24 hours of the event.
Progress and Information
While this is last on the list, it can easily be the No. 1 reason your constituents indicate they will not engage further with your nonprofit. Simply put, you must be able to communicate how your organization is making progress toward its goals and helping the cause. This is not a pie-chart talking about your financial stewardship. This is not a set of numbers in an annual report. This is a clear set of statements that show progress towards whatever your organization is trying to make better or overcome. Today’s donors (not to mention tomorrow’s donors) want proof. They want to know the time they are giving, the money they are donating and even the support they show for your organization on social channels is the right decision and your organization is worthy and successful.
It’s a long list—and this is only a blog post. You must make the experience you are providing your constituents top-class. This post started with the experience satisfaction ratings in the commercial world. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that the same doesn’t apply to your nonprofit.
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.