Nonprofit Customer Service

This is a reminder – all nonprofits are in the customer service business. From family service agencies to synagogues, universities to arts organizations – it is essential that you remember the people who are involved in the organization in every small and large way are the reason you are in business. All too often, for-profit and nonprofit organizations alike, forget that they have to be transparent to their patrons, open about their mistakes, and grateful to their supporters, members and clients.

Yes, I am writing this because I have a bad taste in my mouth from a recent incident, but the details of the experience are irrelevant in that I have seen it so many times. Things go awry quite easily. Maybe leadership changes hands and no one knows who is in charge so a group of mid-level donors don’t get a donation benefit they were promised. Perhaps, the site goes down when members are trying to register for a soon to be sold out event. Most organizations can remember a recent time when there was a breakdown, upsetting someone. So can most supporters.

Consumer confidence lies in how you handle the situation. And how you move forward often depends on your mindset. Are you thinking about how the organization can handle this problem? Or are you putting yourself in the “customer’s” shoes. Are the donors in the above-mentioned donation benefit scenario angry, anxious or oblivious? Do they feel wronged in some way? What would make them feel as if they were important, valued and essential to the future of the organization? That is the key to securing their support into the future.

Feeling appreciated will help your donors appreciate you. And appreciation comes with innumerable financial rewards.