10 Ways To Calm A Really Cranky Donor

An angry donor is a nonprofit’s nightmare. Even nonprofits with the best of intentions can make a mistake that will lead to a long, and often loud, phone call with a donor.

    In their book “Being Buddha At Work,” Franz Metcalf and B.J. Gallagher outlined 10 steps to take to both calm the individual down and to solve the problem. The steps are:

  • First, be compassionate. The donor is frustrated, angry, disappointed, and upset. Do not meet anger with anger. Meet anger with compassion.
  • Thank the donor for bringing the problem to you. Your mission is service and you cannot be of service if there are no problems to fix.
  • Listen carefully to what the donor is telling you. As you listen, sift through the words and sort out facts from feelings.
  • Take notes, if it is appropriate, explaining that you want to make sure you have the information correct.
  • Emphasize what you can do, not what you cannot do.
  • Get help from others if you need it.
  • Explain and educate the donor as you continue to interact with the person.
  • Commit to what you can do. Be clear about what the individual can expect and when.
  • Thank the donor again for the opportunity to help turn around a negative situation.
  • Follow up. Keep your commitments, and keep the donor informed if anything changes.