Sunday, March 13, 2011

BIG’s Blog: It’s Not About You

For the last several years, thought leaders, thinkers and pundits in the nonprofit fund raising world have been talking about the move from organization-centric to donor-centric approaches for fund raisers trying to reach out to younger generations.

The basis of this thinking is rooted in the changing attitudes towards giving and being involved as well as the reality of how our consumer society influences expectations. For example, more and more successful retailers recognize that “success” comes from being customer-centered rather than being business-centered. It’s about the customer.

Real world examples of Customer Friendly versus Customer Un-friendly service:

Customer friendly – Zappos – an online retailer. Zappos have people to talk to you about anything dealing with their merchandise or orders 24/7/365. Zappos customer service will do whatever to make their customers happy.

Customer Un-friendly – Time Warner Cable – a provider of cable services. Time Warner mostly has monopoly municipal contracts to deliver cable television and other services. Have a problem; just try getting the right person on the phone for even the simplest fix. And if you are trying to terminate service – forget about it! One wonders if their customer service is by intent. But one thing is sure; it is certainly not about the customer.

In other words, is it about what your organization does for the target of your mission (it’s about you), or is it about what your constituent donors can do (it’s all about them)? Big difference.

The easy part is changing your message. Today’s younger generations want to be a part of something bigger than themselves; they want to “feel” they are a part of the mission or the movement of change. This comes through in how you talk and communicate with your constituent donors. But what shows the real commitment to be constituent donor-centered is how you handle the access – mostly through technology – you give to younger more tech savvy prospective constituents. This demonstrates that you “walk the walk” not just “talk the talk.”

Wait a minute. Did you think I was just talking about Gen X and Millennial generations? Actually, all the above applies to the Baby Boomers as well.


Welcome to BIG’s Blog and yes, by all means forward our blog to your friends and co-workers.

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