12 keys to world-class donor service

March 25, 2014       The NonProfit Times      

Are your organization’s donors staying at the Ritz-Carlton or the Bates Motel? Dealing with a nonprofit is a two-way experience: the donor gets some kind of service and the organizations gets money in return.

In his book “The Zen of Fundraising” Ken Burnett makes the case that donors respond best to world-class service rather than just service. People like to feel good about what they do, and they like to be respected, especially when they are trying to do good.

Burnett offers his 12 keys to world-class donor service, which he says will make a huge difference when an organization relates to its donors. They are:

  • Be committed. Really like donors.
  • Be properly resourced. Customer service can’t be done on the cheap.
  • Be consistent. Good service raises expectations.
  • Be quick. Delayed responses irritate. Prompt responses please.
  • Be appropriate. Tailor responses to donors.
  • Be personal. People like to be remembered and addressed by name.
  • Be recognized. Publicize the organization’s service personnel.
  • Be meticulous. Keep first-class records.
  • Be there. Be prepared to pay staff to cover evening hours.
  • Be open and honest. Never cover up.
  • Be cheerful and helpful. Never let donors think that asking is a trouble.
  • Teach customer care to all colleagues. This includes smiling when you are talking on the phone.
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