How to Get Strong Testimonials for Your Organization

How to Get Strong Testimonials for Your OrganizationGetting Attention reader Bobbi Russell, Associate Director of Green Media Toolshed (GMT), asks:

Q: We rely heavily on testimonials here at GMT.  But what's the best way to ask for a testimonial?

When a member tells us they love our service or a certain training, we ask at that moment if they'll provide a quote for marketing use. We also use post-training surveys to gather info about our training program, and these sometimes generate new quotes. 

A few years back we did an "open mike" call out to member for testimonials and that was fairly successful.  How, and how frequently, should we ask without making it seem as though we want too much from our members?  Any feedback you have will be greatly appreciated.

A:  Bobbi, you're taking just the right approach in making contact with the speaker at the moment of hearing positive feedback, and getting permission to formalize as a testimonial for marketing use. That's the best way to generate focused testimonials.  

All too often, if you reach out and ask for feedback even from loyal supporters, you'll get back statements that are far too general to be of much use (My GMT membership is extremely valuable to our organization) or radio silence. That's because people don't like being asked for something, even from an organization they adore. And if you ask too much, then it becomes too much about GMT, when your focus needs to stay on your members. That kind of imbalancen doesn't sit well with most networks.

Instead, I recommend you extend your post-training survey outreach to other services you offer (either in a survey or conversational form), and to a brief membership survey to be completed on renewal. This can be as simple as asking "Did you get the help you needed?" at the close of a call or email.

I recommend you build program-specific and organizational surveys around this list of the seven questions to ask for compelling testimonials. Remember, the more specific your question, the more specific the response (and the greater value it will have as a testimonial).

Best of luck, Bobbi. Please let me know how these strategies work for GMT.

P.S. Learn how to craft a compelling story for your org in 8 words or less.   Download the free 2009 Nonprofit Tagline Report, filled with must-dos, don't dos, case studies and 2,500+ nonprofit tagline examples!

Nancy Schwartz in Branding and Messages, Nonprofit Communications | 2 comments

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