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The year-end scramble?

It’s year end for most charities. If your charity is like most, there will either be big pats on the back as you hit or exceed this year’s target, or a mad scramble to see if you can bring in a little bit more in time.

But I wonder how many of you will be receiving pats on the back for creating really good supporter experiences this year and growing supporter satisfaction?

Or how many of you will be criticised because your supporters are actually less happy in their relationship with you now than they were a year ago?

In fact, I wonder how many of you even know this.

When I wrote Measuring Donor Satisfaction and Loyalty (part of the Commission on the Donor Experience) I argued that we, as a sector, need to create new KPIs around how we make donors feel. And I set out some of the ways of measuring engagement and loyalty that are available to us. If you want to know more have a read.

Please note that measuring loyalty isn’t just some fluffy strategy to make you feel good, this is a hard commercial reality. The commercial sector has been measuring customer satisfaction and Net Promoter Score for years for one reason only… because growing satisfaction grows brand loyalty and, ultimately, profits.

My own research (conducted by About Loyalty with Professor Adrian Sargeant, and available here) shows that donors with higher levels of commitment, satisfaction and trust are over 5% more likely to continue giving to you next year. And our more recent research has shown that those donors who feel the most loyalty towards us are three times more likely to want to give again, nine times more likely to want to increase the amount they give and five times more likely to intend to leave you a gift in their will.

Measuring engagement and loyalty is an essential first step in any supporter experience programme. It’s true what they say that “what you measure, is what you do”.

There are many measures we can all use immediately because the data is already there on your database: open rates of emails; complaint rates; the volume of supporters who proactively tell you when they move; consent rates; unsubscribe rates and so much more. These are all indicators of how your donors feel about you.

But there is no substitute for actually asking your donors themselves – monitoring their satisfaction levels and listening to their feedback. In fact, if you’re not asking them, reporting findings and taking actions, then I’d argue that you’re only paying lip-service to your supporter experience strategy.

So, as you set targets for how much you’ll raise this next financial year, also set out a plan for how you’re going to measure your supporters’ satisfaction and loyalty. Your donors will thank you, as will your Finance Director. And at the end of the year you may get an even bigger pat on the back than this year.

Read Project 3 of the Commission on the Donor Experience by Roger Lawson here.


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