It’s Get to Know Your Customers (Donors) Day!

A cautionary note: If you’re just not in the mood to hear any of this “appreciating-your-customer” business, may we suggest waiting to read this post later? Maybe you overheard a cranky customer impatiently waiting for their morning coffee, or you were on the receiving end of a co-worker or donor complaint (gasp!). Whatever the case, set aside the bad vibes, grab a cup of joe and embrace the day!

Because, today is special! That’s right—April 20th is Get to Know Your Customers Day!

Why is this of any interest to us in the world of fundraising? Certainly, we’re not in the business of producing a product for purchase.

We do, however, develop relationships for mutual benefit.

Both kinds of transactions depend on a satisfied customer takeaway, one that compels customers (i.e., donors) to return again, to enjoy or participate in that same experience. Here are 3 simple things to consider when getting to know your donors!

To get them coming back, you’ve got to understand why they came to you in the first place.

Donors possess heartfelt hopes, dreams, even secret desires about how their gift will make a difference. Remembering that takes empathy on your part, a true, open mind and willing heart to cultivate the most honest, respectful and joyful donor relationships. We have to want to get to know our donors. Dare, we say, even care about them.

Lead with small gestures of gratitude.

Call them up; invite them in. A student art exhibit, a grand opening, distinguished speaker or new facility groundbreaking—continually seek new ways to match donors’ individual interests to your nonprofit’s activities, so they can connect viscerally with the good of their gifts. Personally invite them to be your guest and stay with them for the duration of the event. They are your special guest, remember. (And yes, email invites work, but a phone call or face-to-face is better.)

Ask for their feedback and advice.

The concept of asking donors for real feedback is even easier in today’s day and age with digital surveys. Surveys can become powerful conversation starters and extract buckets of fresh information about your donors when they’re well designed. Surveys can also:

  • Help you better develop your donor persona—more than a profile in words; a picture of what your donors look like and hope for.
  • Get donors more engaged. They’ll feel like part of the club and the cause, and that their opinions do indeed count.
  • Elicit key messaging points that can be used to tweak marketing tactics and donor appeals to yield stronger alliances.

What tactics and tools have you found useful to get to know your donors?

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