What do you think of when you hear someone describe their organization as “donor-centered”? My first reaction is that this means it’s all about putting the donor first. Others think that it has to do with building trust. Both answers involve building a relationship that leads to loyal donors. The good news is that the relationship a donor has with your organization is something that you can control. If you put effort into creating trust so that the donor feels like they play a vital role, and that their gift will be used to do worthwhile things, you’re well on your way to building a loyal and long lasting relationship.
Unfortunately, a lot of organizations lose sight of the relationship picture and focus instead on their own needs and priorities. Research has found that donors want to be thanked for their gifts, they want to know how their donations are being spent, and they want to be treated with respect and importance when contacting the organization. Basically they want exceptional customer service! They have given of themselves for the betterment of others. They have freely given their hard earned money to a cause that they are passionate about. They want to be treated like they are valued and that their contribution has made a difference!
So how can we as development ambassadors fulfill these lofty, and often very time consuming demands? I think it all revolves around providing exceptional quality service from the entire development department. Those behind the scenes employees are just as important to creating a dedicated donor as the development director who takes them to lunch. Donors want to feel confident that their donations are being spent per their wishes, they want their questions answered in a courteous and timely manner, and they want to know that employees that they contact understand their needs.
How does your organization measure up? Please leave a comment below.