If you are donor-centric like me, you are always thinking of ways to make the constituent's experience more meaningful and still be able to manage your already hectic day. I have two favorite moments that come to mind that typify how you can achieve both. One with a retailer and another with a non-profit sports program.
I have been a Marriott traveler for years. I highly value their consistency and variety of hotel offerings, and I have few demands other than fully caffeinated morning coffee. One early morning I discovered that I had two decaf packets in my room instead of one of each. Remembering that they always have coffee in the lobby I ventured in shorts and t-shirt to satisfy my need. When greeted by the front desk manager I mentioned the packet lapse as a simple FYI.
"For every customer complaint there are 26 other unhappy customers who have remained silent."
- Lee Resource Inc.
In the 60 seconds it took to return to my room, I was met by a housekeeping staff member holding two ‘correct’ packets for me. I was confident they would fix the situation by tomorrow but impressed with their responsiveness.
What is needed in your organization to allow for such responsiveness?
The Non-Profit Soccer Club
My son is involved in a unique sports program that nurtures high level talent in a constructive, fun, and supportive environment. Not an easy combination these days. I was very happy with the organization and the leaders knew this, but I was not a vocal advocate until I was spontaneously asked by the director to ‘say a few words’ to a gathering of new parents.
He genuinely did not know what I would say and didn’t attempt to put words/messages in my mouth. He just knew I was pleased. The result was important for me and the organization. By being asked to speak, I collected my thoughts on the value of the program and my appreciation came to the surface. By being trusted to share my own thoughts, the leader’s credibility was enhanced to the group and me. I am now a vocal advocate and bring new kids and parents to the program.
"When you serve the customer better, there's always a return on investment."
- Kara Parlin
How often do these moments and opportunities exist for you and your organization? How often do we use the same set of speakers because we trust them to say exactly what we want?
Enhancing constituent relationships begins with a mindset – a zeal – for having the constituent's voice amplified and for a level of responsiveness that proves that their experience is your first priority. A theme? Donor-centric leaders crave opportunities to prove how much they care. They create time and resources to ensure spontaneous responsiveness and find ways to manage the barriers of day-to-day tasks.