In an industry that should be about building relationships with the people who support our vital work, it strikes me that we do not leverage those relationships to their best effect. In fact in some cases we seem to be oblivious to the opportunities or choosing to ignore the chance to turn every transaction into a positive interaction with our supporters.
A small thing, but a friend of mine recently increased their support to the charity they have supported for a while. He increased his Direct Debit after a conversation with a telephone fundraiser who called. He remembered the conversation and thought it was a good call. He was happy to increase his support.
The next time I saw him, knowing what I do, he made a point of showing me the confirmation letter. It was pretty standard to be honest but he seemed a bit disappointed. I asked him what would improve it from his perspective and his response was quite interesting - "I didn't speak to the person who signed the letter, I spoke to someone else entirely. If anything my relationship was with the person I spoke to - it didn't even reference the person I spoke with".
It made me smile. A simple observation, but would it be the hardest thing in the world to at least reference the person who makes the calls on our behalf or the street or door to door fundraisers that sign up the supporters for example?
I know some organisations do and it is something I have done in the past but why stop there, why not have the street or telephone fundraiser themselves or whoever made the contact as the signatory? We capture the information, or if not it is certainly available, so why not make use of it. In fact there is so much more we could be doing to link up our supporter interactions.
Don't get me wrong, my friend isn't going to end his support or decide against the increase just because of the signatory of his letter, but after a positive experience - it all ended up a little flat.
This is not new and as I note, I am certain there are organisations that are already doing this.
My point is that despite the constraints on day to day operations, we need to do more to ensure that the overall supporter experience is as solid as possible. Taking the opportunity to turn transactions into interactions. So, it doesn't end with the thank you or confirmation letter being mailed - it's also about what the person who receives the letter/email thinks and feels about it and is it consistent with their earlier experience. I certainly think that is worth thinking about.
Thanks as ever for stopping by.