Four Ways Your Nonprofit Can Listen
In a recent meeting someone said, “Listening is a skill that never goes out of fashion”. This sentiment is especially true in the nonprofit world. Listening to your donors, volunteers, or individuals that your programs serve is critical to building and sustaining support. Below are four areas in which your organization may be able to do a better job of listening.
Why do you support this cause?
How often are you able to ask and understand an individual’s reason for donating or volunteering their time with your organization? Knowing why someone is supporting your cause is important for sustaining that relationship. Why did they pick your organization over your peers? Can this help in future communication? If you hear that they like your organization’s research program or grass-roots approach, you’ll be able to better communicate with this supporter in the future.
Many organizations send out a post-event survey to participants. How often are you able to sit down and assess that feedback? What do you do with that information once it is collected? For surveys in which the respondent provides their contact information, it is important to follow-up with them after their survey. Thank them for taking the time to reply, address negative feedback they had, or ask follow-up questions that may be helpful for future planning. This is an opportunity to hear their feedback and help them understand that you’re listening.
What communication do they want to receive?
Many nonprofits have wide-variety of communication topics that they send their supporters across a number of different channels. Asking an individual what type of message and channel they want to be communicated with is a great way to ensure that you’re listening to them. Knowing when to segment messages and when to include them in an email group or mailing list illustrates an understanding of what they need.
Philanthropic support is often driven by the cause – someone chooses to give to an organization based on their mission. Sustained giving is often driven by the relationship manager. As a supporter builds a relationship with an organization they grow closer to the individuals they interact with at the organization. The best relationship managers know when to talk and when to listen. This attentiveness isn’t related to just their involvement with the nonprofit, it should be focused on the individual. What are their interests? What are they passionate about? Knowing this information allows you to be better support them as a relationship manager.
Below are a few links from the week that we enjoyed.
- Frank Barry discusses the trends in mobile fundraising.
- Ruth McCambridge highlights recent diversity information released by The Council on Foundations.
- Donor complaints are something that we’ve all had to deal with. Jeff Brooks discusses two types and the best ways to deal with them.
- David Cohen of Social Times shares data from Social Code’s analysis of Facebook Ad pricing by age.
- Jeanne Bell of CompassPoint and Stephanie Roth of the Haas, Jr. Fund are seeking stories of fundraising success.