Fundraising Basics:[Part 2] Provide Great Donor Service

In part one of the Fundraising Basics series, we began exploring the core principles of fundraising and how your organization can harness them to acquire, retain, and upgrade your donors. I believe that when organizations focus on these core principles and best practices, no matter how simple, basic, or straightforward, it leads to sustainable and substantial growth.

We kicked-off by exploring the importance of viewing your donors as customers and offering value in exchange for contributions.

This week, in part two, we’ll cover why it is important to provide exceptional service to your donors, and how to do so.

How to Provide Exceptional Donor Service with One Simple Rule – Video Transcript

This is Part two of Back to Basics: How to Acquire, Retain, and Upgrade Your Donors.

In Part one, we learned why donors are customers and we also learned three principles for fundraising success – offer a valuable product, provide great service, and build a donor-focused approach.

In this video, we’ll cover number two: provide great service. I don’t know many people who don’t like or are indifferent towards great service. Personally, I enjoy great service. In fact, in certain circumstances, I will choose certain companies, businesses, and non-profit organizations based on the quality of service they provide. Donors are no different. Providing great service is about building relationships and loyalty with donors. Great service is a product of being responsive, attentive, accurate, timely, courteous, and gracious to your donors, while providing them an experience that is memorable, valuable, and enjoyable.

Here is one statistic that shows why providing great donor service is important: Adrian Sargeant’s research on donor retention found that only 10% of donors were very satisfied with the service quality of the organizations they supported, but donors who were very satisfied with service quality, were two times more likely to make a further donation than those who were merely satisfied. So, if only 10% of donors give five stars for service, then there is considerable value to be gained by improved donor service. Donors that rate service at five stars are two times more likely to give than four stars. Think about the potential swing in giving from two and three stars to five stars. That statistic shows an incredible opportunity to capture more donor value with better donor service. But, this statistic makes intuitive sense. Would you rather have a relationship with an organization that is responsive, attentive, and courteous? Or a relationship that is unresponsive, inattentive, and ungrateful? This sounds like a silly question, but donors make this choice everyday.

We’ve all experience poor service, whether as a customers of a business or a donor of a non-profit. And I am positive that you weren’t dying to support that business or non-profit again. Donors are customers of your organization. As a result, donors services are an important part of the donation process before the donation, during the giving process and after a donation is collected.

So, how do we provide great service? There are three components of great customer service: be responsive, be attentive and be positive. Be responsive. Good customer service is always marked by responsiveness. Be responsive to your donor’s needs, questions, comments, concerns, likes and dislikes. Being responsive shows respect, courtesy, and is a core staple of good customer service. Be attentive. Listen to your donors. Listen to their likes, dislikes, passions, challenges, and feelings. Use the wealth of information you can get directly from the source. Then use this information to implement changes that connect with your donors on their level. Be positive. Be happy, cheerful and energetic with your donors. Represent your mission with passion and positive energy. The act of giving to your organization should feel good.

In addition to those three concepts, the single greatest way to test whether you are providing great donor service is to use the golden rule. Yes, I’m talking about the rule we all learned in grade school. Treat others the way you would like to be treated. The golden rule is the perfect test for the donor service you provide. If you were giving, and felt passionately about your contribution to an organization, how would you like to be served by that organization?

Treat donors the way you would like to be treated. Test the way you serve donors on yourself. If the service you provide passes the test, then you know the service you are providing donors is authentic, genuine, and in keeping with your personal expectations and standards.

Watch part three of this series to learn why it is important to build a donor-focused approach, and how to do it.

Don’t Miss Part Three!

Next week we’ll be covering why it is important to put the donor at the center of your fundraising efforts.