Results of The Great American Donor Survey, conducted by nonprofit market research firm Campbell Rinker, are damning:
“83 percent of charitable donors consider the giving experience to be what they expect. [But,] only 13 percent say the charity they supported went beyond their expectations.”
Just last night over dinner, I listened to an old friend’s critique of the synagogue where we met. She was dismayed when a large gift last fall generated nothing, not even an acknowledgment, much less thanks. And more disappointed when her mention of that gaffe, and her reaction, went unheeded.
She compared that experience to the hand-signed note she received from another synagogue (where she occasionally attends services, and has many friends in the congregation) on its receipt of her $50 gift (far smaller than that to her own synagogue).
Which synagogue would you prefer to belong to, and to support? The one that ignores you (and, you have to assume, does the same with many of its other programs and community members); or the one that recognizes you promptly, respectfully and with enthusiasm?
Remember, these experiences stayed top of mind for my friend nearly one year after the gifts. So much so that she featured them right up front in our conversation, even though we hadn’t talked for ages.
Dirk Rinker is right on target when he says, “word of mouth is your best advertising.”
That works for your organization when there’s good word to spread. But when your organization fails to respect and involve donors (and program participants and product customers and service users), that word spreads like wildfire, burning your bridges as it goes.
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Tip of the hat to the Chronicle of Philanthropy.