Is the donor always right?

NO, says the Experience Matters blog, at Customer Experience Myth #1: The Customer Is Always Right:

Like all human beings, customers aren’t always right. They sometimes complain when the company did nothing wrong, request things that the company can not or should not provide, and periodically just make mistakes.

What does this mean for fundraisers?

It means always listen when donors complain, but don’t let complaints drive your strategy!

Someone who complains about your fundraising — the style, the frequency, the perceived cost, whatever — is someone who cares. You should engage with them and work to satisfy them. They are right about how they feel about your fundraising.

But they aren’t necessarily right about your strategy itself. In fact, they are almost surely wrong about that.

If your fundraising campaign stirs 10 people to complain but 2,000 to donate, let the those who donated tell you if you got it right. The complainers may loom large in your mind, but their complaints are not marketing information. Just individuals talking.

If your fundraising stirs no complaints, and also few donations — that’s when you know you need to change strategy!

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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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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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