Often the experience donors have with their nonprofit organization sounds a lot like this: “We know what we’re doing. Just give us the money!”
Whether intentional or accidental, nonprofits can give off an air of not being interested in listening to a donor’s perspective, attitude or experience.
Most donors just want to know they've been heard.
To avoid this, I suggest using a one-on-one listening exercise called an opportunity audit. Like a feasibility study, this is a 45-60 minute confidential interview consisting of 8-12 open-ended questions with donors or stakeholders run by an independent third party. The honest feedback from the interview will allow organizations to design appropriate and meaningful experiences that offer donors and prospects opportunities to engage in ways they prefer.
Just the fact that the organization is making an effort to ask their most valued donors for input — rather than telling them what they think is important — will create a new dimension of respect and appreciation. It will open up conversations that might be painful to hear, but essential to know. Most donors just want to know the nonprofit heard them on issues that are good, bad or indifferent.
People give a vote of confidence with their checkbook. If a nonprofit doesn’t spend time upfront to listen for the best opportunity to engage their donor — before making an ask — they miss the chance to serve their supporters with a great giving experience. The opportunity audit is a great chance to prepare a donor to make a satisfying gift.
What would it take to make your nonprofit more effective?
About the Author
Dan Peddie has been involved in nonprofit organizations for more than 41 years. He has worked at all levels of fundraising development — capital campaigns, planned giving, annual funds, special events, outreach programs, major gift solicitations (individuals, corporations, foundations), board and volunteer development, cause-related marketing and corporate and foundation grants. His work experience includes such well-known organizations as UCLA, World Vision and Young Life.
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