Put Amazon’s customer service secrets to work in your fundraising

At the Salesforce blog, insights from Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, a customer-service monster. 7 Customer Service Lessons from Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos (I’ve “nonprofitized: them):


  1. Don’t just listen to your donors, understand them. Surveys and focus groups are okay, but they don’t tell you a whole lot about what’s really going on. Watch donor behavior and learn from what they do. Also, if you aren’t yourself a donor — you don’t have a prayer of understanding donors.
  2. Serve the needs of the donor. Donors are easier to serve than buyers. Just give them actions they want to take, then treat their generosity like it matters.
  3. The empty chair: the most important person in the room (the donor). This is a symbolic gesture: in every meeting there’s a chair where the donor sits. You never forget that it’s about her.
  4. Never settle for 99%.
  5. Respect today’s donor. They’re more demanding. They interact with you on their own terms. Work with that, not against it.
  6. Strive to create a donor-centric organization.
  7. Don’t be afraid to apologize.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff BrooksJeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 35 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com. More.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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About the blogger

Jeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 30 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com.

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