What is more important, advertising or amazing customer service?

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How important is the experience that customers have with you? Before you answer, consider this:

  • 40% of people began purchasing from a competitive brand because of its reputation for great customer service.
  • 55% are willing to recommend a company due to outstanding service, more than product or price.
  • 85% would pay up to 25% more to ensure a superior customer service experience.
  • 82% have stopped business with a company due to bad customer service.
  • 95% of customers have taken action as a result of a bad experience. Of those, 79% told others about their experience.

The Internet has amplified the ability for news to travel and instant speed, especially bad news. Many customer service management software providers focus on developing more effective tools to help you stay on top of managing your customer experience and ensuring that your customers are getting good customer service from your staff, all of the time.

The fine folks at Zengage, the Zendesk blog put together a fantastic infographic outlining the importance of customer experience and the impact that it has on getting new customers and keeping your customers happy.

Source: Customer Experience Is More Important Than Advertising (Infographic) – Business 2 Community

Power of Persuasion

Faking the customer experience

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Image result for fakeIf the product really stinks can you fake the experience to generate more profit?

You can’t fake the real experience. The real experience is vitally connected to the product itself.

Customers and employees will always figure it out. That spells disaster in the short and long run.

Once they figure it out, they will act and behave accordingly. That means your product is doomed.

 

Why a nonprofit focus and alignment around the donor experience is critical

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Donor Experience

Donor Experience

A great donation experience with the development department doesn’t make up for a poor billing experience. The donor’s experience is the sum total of all interactions, not just a single departments. One bad experience at a key touch point can bring down several great ones by other departments. While departments are necessary, silos created by them can be deadly for the overall donor experience.

Aligning your organization around the donor experience is hard work. It is easy to say we are going to do it and we are going to create a donor focused culture. It is harder to do it. It is necessary work though. Creating alignment starts with defining the stages of a donor’s journey from their point of view from start to finish.

Delivering a unified experience is the end game. To do that we have to stop doing one off work that optimizes part of the experience but sub optimizes the whole experience. What difference does it make if we improve the call center experience but ignore the reason why they were calling was a really bad web site experience?

Creating a reliable and repeatable experience isn’t tackled by each department having separate priorities and metrics. The “big things” need to get fixed. That requires the hard work of seeing the whole journey and creating big and stunning “wow” moments.

Creating alignment is accomplished by spending hours mapping out the whole experience, from the donors point of view, and fixing the big “pain points”. Alignment is not created in a series of one off improvements.

This process doesn’t have to take forever. There are always a few big things that can be tackled quickly. A continuous donor experience improvement process is the key to getting sustainable results.

The CEO and the C-Suite must require a holistic approach to the experience. Creating accountability for unified improvements is key. Middle managers can make or break the success if their efforts are always seen as departmental and not corporate.

The voice of the donor is usually best represented at the point where the moments of truth occur. That may be the donor service representatives, donation representatives, billing clerks or other front line personnel.

The main resource needed, which can be a big constraint, is requiring that multiple departments participate with commitments of time in mapping and improvement exercises. Once major pain points are identified, funds need to be allocated to actually solve the problems and just gloss over them by applying band aids.

Here are the key ideas:

  1. The donors experience is the sum total of all interactions, not just a single departments.
  2. Start by defining the stages of the experience and the moments of truth that comprise all of the experience touch points.
  3. Begin soon. This can’t wait.
  4. Encourage cross-departmental buy in.
  5. Shoot for sustainable results.
  6. The CEO must make this a priority and personal time devoted to being engaged.
  7. Focus on middle management as a key fulcrum for change.
  8. Significant time commitments are required.

 

In the age of communities, how important is our nonprofit brand?

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Image result for nonprofitWhat does your nonprofit stand for? What (and who) does it represent?

Now, more than ever before, our brand is vitally important. More time needs to be spent making sure it is clear.

Our donors are connected when our brand is clear. The values we share, the personal believes that we hold in common, the life experiences that are combined with personal and professional objectives are creating a need for personal engagement with our mission.

Is it about apathy? Is it about empathy? It isn’t either/or. We have to align with donors in order for them to be passionate about us. We have to go beyond being donor-centric.

Notice I didn’t say our donors need to align with us. This isn’t about us. It is about what our donors love and can connect to in terms of why we are in business as a nonprofit.

The best way to think about it is to think of community. That can mean a group of people living in the same place or it can mean having some characteristics in common.

As nonprofits, we need to understand communities. We need to know why our donors align with our community or why they don’t. In most nonprofits, there isn’t a single view of the donor because we work in siloes. And so we slice up the donor by department and by desired result. Are they a donor? Have they given recently? Did they renew this year?

Or … are they an advocate for us in promoting the emotional connection they have for us?

The list goes on. We wish it wasn’t true but while nonprofits truly value collaboration we typically aren’t measured by collaboration results.

The traditional opportunity funnel is no longer working with the connected donor. What is happening with the connected donor is very dynamic and can feel like it is spinning out of control to you as a leader. We will need to adapt our mission, vision and models to react faster. Speed is paramount to the digital nonprofit.

There really can’t be a “top-down” movement to create a singular experience for the donor. When we dissect the nature of a transactional relationship, there is never to be found a unified experience. Movements don’t create unity.

We have to change our minds.

In deciding to be intentional and design a better experience, we need to dig deeper and understand more about community. A simple example is Twitter. What are #hashtags if not a simple way to create a community around a topic? And it works.

Now community is much more than that. It is about doing something that matters and being a part of it. Why has the revenue of Habitat for Humanity exploded at a time when other nonprofits are in decline? Formed in 1976, the last revenue totals I saw placed them at $1.491 billion in total revenue. My niece can tell you about her experience. She gives her time and money to make a difference. And she does. That is what she wants to do. Habitat for Humanity simple aligns itself with that passionate desire she has.

So let’s think intentionally and design it from start to finish. To build a community starts with the passion of the donor and then our nonprofit vision aligns with that passion. That passion is unified with our mission.

It comes to life with our brand commitment. We must then define the experience we want people to have with our brand (the embodiment of their passion and our vision / mission).

We then must align that experience with everything we do.  From donation to marketing to donor service to finance, it must fill everything we design. It must be on the whiteboards in our conference rooms. It must be aspirational. It has to be something worthy of the communities we are building. Our donors have to feel at their core that they personally and the entire world can’t live without our nonprofit.

The “old world” of branding has moved on. It isn’t about the jingle or tagline anymore. Today we have to build an identity, a persona, the essence of a feeling, a promise and most important, deliver on all those things. This is the new world of branding. And, thanks to technology and the deeper connections it can facilitate, it can happen.

How we as nonprofits connect with our donors is directly impacted by technology. If you don’t believe it just look at the controversies that Susan G. Komen, LiveStrong, Wounded Warrior, The Clinton Foundation or the Boy Scouts have/are dealing with. These great nonprofits have seen issues escalated as a result of blogging, social media, texting, etc. Look at how fast Blockbuster declined. It really wasn’t about finance. It was all about deep changes in how we all watch video.

Increasingly, in all these cases, the role of technology means that a nonprofit’s brand is very important. It is probably more important than it has ever been before. Brand is all about being intentional and design. Donors want certainty.

Donors rely heavily on the symbolism our nonprofit brand offers. Do we think nonprofit controversies are linked to a brand promise? Did technology accelerate the firestorm?

Nonprofit brands that fail to instill core confidence in their donors run the risk of failing and failing fast. Nonprofit brands that survive (even during economic downturns) will be the ones that are best able to evolve because they recognize the need to do so before their competitors do.

Meet the new nonprofit donor, digital and connected

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Digital Transformation

Digital Transformation

We are beginning to know a new donor. These donors are a blend of the traditional, the digital and the connected. They may still be some who use traditional media and occasionally read a magazine or paper, but most have moved to the web (digital) and social world (think Facebook and Pinterest) and are rapidly becoming connected via smartphones and tablets.

It is still a blend for most but for many, the connected world is becoming predominant. It will help you from being disrupted by thinking in a blend of digital and connected with more and more moving to connected.

The connected donor is perhaps the most disruptive for you. What percent of your donors would you classify as either traditional, digital or connected? How fast do you think the digital and connected will grow in your mix? Have you allocated your investment portfolio adequately to avoid being disrupted?

Now would be the time to begin the hard analysis so you have greater insight into how to create great experiences for our digital and connected donors. With the insights we gain, we can develop relevant and meaningful strategies. Those strategies can create real return on investment (ROI) for your nonprofit.

Our connected donors are closing traditional touch points and constantly opening new digital and connected avenues in real time. The expectations of the digital and connected donor are for an experience that is enjoyable, simple and relevant to their needs is fast locking the doors on the traditional approaches.

It isn’t helpful to focus time and energy on the closed door. It is helpful to define the experience in the digital and connected world by understanding that they are two-way channels for learning and engagement.

What we want to learn is how to design experiences that lead donors down a path that alter the decisions they make to engage with your mission. With our new digital and connected donor, we can see what paths work best and how engaged or disengaged donors are as a result of that experience.

What is more important, customer feedback or customer behavior?

We get feedback every day from our customers.

They don’t open the email we sent them.

They don’t buy a second time even though we asked.

They do open the email but don’t click on the links.

They open the email and click on a link.

It isn’t feedback but the behavior tells us a lot and may tell us more that feedback.

What do we do with what we know? How does it change our approach?

Feedback isn’t the only (nor necessarily the best) source of customer insights. Examine behaviors.

Image result for customer feedback

Are we witnessing the “last breath” of the donor funnel?

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Image result for donor pyramidOver the years, nonprofits have developed various models to explain donor behavior. Most of the ones I have seen have been very linear. The most famous is the donation (donor) funnel where a donor moves over time from one stage to another.

Perhaps at one point the world was that simple. For today’s connected donor, it is no longer a linear path to engagement.

Experience Path - Constituent ExperienceThe connected donor is following a journey of experiences with your brand. The visual is more a loop that includes awareness, consideration, evaluation, mission engagement (advocate or participate), sharing the experience, where they start to become loyal and continue engagement through another journey along the loop. This level of engagement requires dedicated monitoring, not just listening, to shepherd people along this delicate journey. In this new world of constant distractions, the journey can go astray without proper leadership.

This is why intentional journey design in creating the experience before, during and after it is experienced is so critical to relationships with connected donors. If people can’t connect with the intent of your mission, then they won’t contribute to the intended outcomes you desire to see.

The Smartphone Platform War Is Over

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“While the global smartphone market is as competitive as ever in terms of manufacturers fighting for the consumers’ love (and money), the long-raging platform war appears to be over. According to a recent report by Gartner, Android and iOS now account for 99 percent of global smartphone sales, rendering every other platform irrelevant.

“As the chart below illustrates that hasn’t always been the case. Back in 2010, Android and iOS devices accounted for less than 40 percent of global smartphone sales. Back then, devices running Nokia’s Symbian and BlackBerry accounted for a significant portion of smartphone sales and Microsoft’s market share stood at 4.2 percent.

“While Symbian is long extinct and BlackBerry has started transitioning to Android devices, Microsoft has not yet given up on Windows 10 Mobile as a platform aimed at professional users. Whether Windows, or any other platform for that matter, stands a chance against the dominance of Android and iOS at this point seems highly doubtful though.”

Source: • Chart: The Smartphone Platform War Is Over | Statista

“Technology’s promise is not simply to automate processes, but to open routes to new ways of doing business.” ~~MIT Sloan Management Review

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Where did we go wrong in thinking that technology, in and of itself, would get us where we want to go? Could it be that we have forgotten the role of leadership?

Technology is important but without digital executives driving to transform the business into being a digital business, technology won’t get us where we want to go.

We need clear goals and strategies. We have to focus on the people that will get us there. We must enable processes that work.

AND then, technology will enable the transformation.

Companies routinely invest in technology, and too often feel they get routine results. Technology’s promise is not simply to automate processes, but to open routes to new ways of doing business.

via Embracing Digital Technology | MIT Sloan Management Review.

Digital Technology - Embracing

What will the workforce of the future look like?

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What will the workforce of the future look like?

Great question. It will be the same and it will be different.

If the focus on the customer experience looses traction, a few companies who stay the course will dominate.

It is clear that great customer experiences pay off. That isn’t anything new. Employees and leaders who get that reap the gains.

What about those who don’t? A life as a cog in the machine. Not too exciting but it may pay the bills. We need people who want more than that.

Because customer experience initiatives continue to dominate the executive agenda, businesses often fail to nurture internal resources in pursuit of external gain. However, as consumer expectations evolve, so must company culture, for future employees will rely upon collaboration, adaptability, and purpose to further personal and enterprisewide success

via Spotlight | The Workforce of the Future.

How should we organize ourselves to deliver a stunning customer experience?

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Bruce Temkin does great work on customer experience.  He has identified characteristics of mature customer experience approach. This is essential to the digital executive who is focused on great customer experiences. They are:

  1. CX core team
  2. Reporting executive
  3. CX Steering Team
  4. CX Working Group
  5. CX Ambassadors

ElementsOfCXOrgs

Organizations need both formal and informal structures to drive change and improve customer experience (CX). In this report, we begin by identifying the five elements of a customer experience management group operating inside an organization: a CX core team, a reporting executive, a steering committee, a working group, and CX ambassadors. We describe how five organizations—Arizona Public Service, British Columbia Lottery Corporation, Cornerstone OnDemand, Hagerty, and Safeco Insurance—combine these essential elements to create effective CX management groups. Our research also found that CX groups come in all shapes and sizes, and that the needs of these structures vary according to the maturity level of a company’s CX efforts. Across all different structures, the success of a CX organization is based on three characteristics: make-up of the CX core team, executive commitment to CX, and organizational readiness for CX. To evaluate your CX organization against these characteristics, use Temkin Group’s CX Organization Assessment.

Source: Report: Blueprint for a Successful CX Organization | Customer Experience Matters

The customer has spoken: Every employee must be socially engaged

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Social media interfaceIt doesn’t matter what industry you’re in or what position employees hold in your organizational hierarchy. It doesn’t matter if you’re a B2C company or B2B, a nonprofit or for profit, or whether your workforce is younger or older.

Employees in your organization will use collaborative media on the job. There’s not one thing you can do to stop it, so you might as well figure out how to turn it to your advantage.

Fortunately, regardless of industry or hierarchy or demographic, there’s a lot of advantage to be gained.

In virtually every call center, performance is measured based on the number of calls a representative can complete during a shift. That means reps have incentives to get customers off the phone as quickly as possible. And despite the fact that nearly 70% of consumers believe social is a necessary customer channel, 60% of companies have no formal support for social customer care.

That’s a bigger problem than you may think, since the customer experience eats product/service quality for lunch. Customers who are happy with your product or service—even those who are inclined to recommend you to others—could drop you like a an ebola-infected garment for a competitor if you don’t engage them frequently enough with meaningful interactions, according to an Ernst & Young survey.

It’s not just customer support staff who should be engaging customers via social media. Edelman’s Trust Barometer is clear: technical experts are more credible than just about anybody else in your company. When I blogged about a frustration with a Microsoft product several years back, it wasn’t a customer support rep who responded. It was the executive responsible for the product. In his comment, he suggested someone from his staff could offer more insights; one of them did. My subsequent praise for this response undoubtedly led people in my networks to think more highly of Microsoft. In fact, research supports the idea that when one person sings a company’s praises over a great experience, the people with whom she’s connected develop improved perceptions of the organization’s reputation.

It’s not just me. Customer service inquiries on Twitter are up 44%, according to research from SimplyMeasured. According to Mike Lazerow, chief strategy officer for Salesforce.com’s Marketing Cloud, “If you get things wrong, customers have more ways than ever to tell everyone they know about it (as well as several thousand people they’ve never met).”

via The customer has spoken: Every employee must be socially engaged |Customer Service | Blog | Holtz Communications + Technology.

Are you On the Path to Omnichannel Excellence?

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According to SAP’s recent “The Race for Omnichannel Excellence” report, consumer product brands are, on average, three years away from achieving their overall omnichannel goals.

Conducted in partnership with Loudhouse, researchers surveyed 839 global marketing decision-makers from consumer product organizations to gauge the extent to which omnichannel data has created business value, as well as the challenges that come along with increased customer intimacy.

The following statistics underline how consumer product brands currently operate and which strategies will garner the most attention and care throughout the coming years:

  • Though companies have access to an array of customer aspects, such as transactional data, social interactions, and consumer profiles, 72 percent agree that their businesses struggle to transform omnichannel data into tangible, actionable business assets.
  • Thirty-eight percent of respondents say their omnichannel sales approaches are integrated “to an extent,” while only 16 percent claim that their company currently meets all business and analysis needs for consumer experience via omnichannel.
  • Eighty-six percent of respondents agree that omnichannel has increased the average consumer’s brand expectations, and 86 percent believe that the benefits of investing in an omnichannel sales strategy outweigh the challenges.
  • Of those companies that have implemented an omnichannel sales strategy, most claim that their organization has experienced increased sales (74 percent), improved loyalty and acquisition (64 percent), competitive advantage (62 percent), and better customer experience (57 percent).
  • When asked to prioritize the focus of their organization—promotion, optimization, innovation, or forecasting—42 percent of consumer product companies agreed that innovation would be their brand’s primary concentration over the next 12 months.
  • Over the next two years, respondents believe the main competitive differentiators will be quality of consumer experience (66 percent), integration of channels or omnichannel excellence (60 percent), and consumer data and corresponding analytics (58 percent). Only half (51 percent) believe the number of channels will carry any advantage.
Omni Channel

Omni Channel

via CPG | On the Path to Omnichannel Excellence.

‘Ice Bucket’ Stewardship by Barb Newhouse, President and CEO of The ALS Association (guest article)

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‘Ice Bucket’ Stewardship by Barb Newhouse, President and CEO of The ALS Association (guest article)

In the summer of 2014, the ALS Ice Bucket challenge soaked the world. What was started by three young men living with ALS turned into the greatest social media and philanthropic event of all time.

At least 17 million people dumped ice water on their heads to fight amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) – a 100 percent fatal disease that takes away a person’s ability to walk, talk, eat, move and eventually breathe – and challenged their friends to do the same.

We immediately embraced the campaign and responded to public interest. Nearly 2.5 million people donated $115 million to The ALS Association, the largest and only nonprofit fighting the disease on every front through research, care services and public policy efforts.

Last week, the two-year anniversary of the challenge, we had some exciting news that received great coverage in all the top-tier media outlets. Ice bucket donations led to the discovery of a new gene, NEK1, now known to be one of the most common genes associated with ALS. We sent an email to all of our donors the day the news broke, continuing our two-year effort to thank, inform and engage people, demonstrating their impact in the fight against this disease.

From the moment the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge started, we were determined to be good stewards of the donations. Thanking was our first priority, and transparency in our communications was paramount.

How did we steward these 2.5 million new donors? How did we meet their expectations?

We initiated a robust thank you strategy including this video, which was emailed out to donors and was also posted to social media. We created thank you graphics and implemented them across all communication channels.

Before we made any decisions as to how the money would be spent, I engaged a panel of advisors made up of people living with the disease, and also listened to many other constituents. Along with our National Board of Trustees, I read countless emails and letters, looked at comments on social media, really taking time to truly understand how our donors wanted their money to be spent.

On October 2, The Association issued a press release detailing some initial Ice Bucket investments: a commitment of $21.7 million to ignite six projects, the bulk of which was to support four collaborative research initiatives. The Association contributed $1 million to one of these initiatives, called Project MinE, which led to the NEK1 discovery I described above.

And since that time, we’ve put out additional infographics and press releases with more details. Our core stewardship infographic includes a breakdown of committed and anticipated spending of the $115 million.

To introduce new donors to the organization they were supporting during the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, we overhauled our email welcome series, to highlight The ALS Association’s integrated mission and give readers the opportunity to tell us more about themselves and their interest in remaining committed to the fight against ALS in their communities.

Our Development department delved into data and analytics. We spent a lot of time trying to figure out who all these new donors were. Most recently, we developed organizational “personas” to better understand the needs and motivations of The Association’s key constituencies, which will help drive a personalized, constituent-centric communications and marketing strategy.

Finally, we’ve made changes to our donate form, to make it easier for people to give to research or to support their local chapters.

The ALS community is at the center of everything we do. Going above and beyond to meet the needs and expectations of our strongest allies is my top priority. As we continue to grow, together, my mission is to ensure that The ALS Association remains the leading resource of information and support for the people we are here to serve.

Barb Newhouse is the President and CEO of The ALS Association. Barb holds a bachelor degree in social work and a master’s degree in health care administration. She received a certificate with the Leadership Institute on Aging in 1994 and has attended various continuing education courses with the Kellogg School of Non-Profit. Barb has recently completed a Certificate in Leadership program through the University of Notre Dame on leading transformational organizations. Throughout her career, she has served on numerous non-profit boards of directors including chairing both a community mental health center as well as the Governor’s Conference on Alzheimer’s disease for the state of Iowa.

What do you do if you currently work for a leader that isn’t helping you?

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What do you do if you currently work for a leader that isn’t helping you? That is a tough issue. It happens all the time. And, there is there is the question about who is really the problem. Are we expecting too much?

Michael Hyatt has some very insightful ideas. All five of these are spot on. Leadership - Feels like

But what if you are in that situation right now? Here are five ways to cope:

  1. Manage your expectations. When you read a lot of books and blogs about leadership, it is easy to become idealistic. If you are not careful, you can create a set of expectations that no one could possibly meet. You have to remember your boss is human—and fallen at that. He struggles with his own fears, wounds, and weaknesses. He has his own accountabilities and pressure. He will experience good days and bad.
  2. Evaluate the impact. What kind of effect is your boss having on you and your teammates? Is he over-bearing and abusive? Incompetent or careless? Or is he checked out or inaccessible? I have worked in all of these situations and each of them requires a different response. Some are easier to put up with and manage around than others.
  3. Consider your options. If the situation is bad enough, it may warrant your resignation. I have only been in one job where I did this, and frankly—knowing what I know now—I wish I had stayed. But your circumstances may be different. Most situations provide an opportunity to learn, if you are alert and teachable. Some of the best lessons I ever learned were from bad bosses.
  4. Be assertive. Bad bosses have a way of creating a culture of fear, where people are afraid to speak up. But this may be the perfect opportunity for you to become more courageous. This doesn’t mean you have to be disrespectful. Nor does it require that you become inappropriately aggressive. Being assertive means giving voice to your needs and establishing clear boundaries.
  5. Support him publicly. Someone once said, “public support leads to private influence.” I think that is exactly right. When I have been in these situations, I have refused to publicly debate my boss or to gossip about him behind his back. I looked for positive attributes (everyone has them) and publicly affirmed them. I was loyal when he wasn’t present. This gave me credibility when I needed it later.

Source: What If You Work for a Bad Leader? | Michael Hyatt 

Donor engagement is not about voodoo

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Engagement is not about voodoo. It is however as much about art as about science. It also draws heavily from social sciences; psychology, sociology, ethnography, and digital anthropology.

The behaviors of donors are critical to understand. These behaviors expresses patterns that are important to the journey you hope they take with your mission. It highlights for you new touch points and resources for potential investment. Your empathy and creativity are inspired by the decisions your donors make. This journey is very dynamic and every evolving.

What is a game changer from a research point of view? It is what your donors are doing online today. Certainly not what they did 2 years ago or perhaps not even 2 months ago.

Your nonprofit needs clarity. You can gain it now and learn where to focus investments and scarce resources. There are many moments of truth around something as straightforward as making a donation.

Be aware that the engagement path is not linear but more elliptical in nature. Many touch points that create amazing experiences continue to influence the journey. There are very specific factors, strategies, people, communities, and resources that come to influence engagement and loyalty.

Experience Path - Constituent ExperienceThis elliptical journey tends to repeat itself and levels of engagement increase. Regardless of how many times the journey is taken, the experience at all the moments of truth always wins greater engagement.

As you think about someone taking a journey with your mission, you might envision moments where they become aware, start considering you, decide to evaluate you, become engaged in some aspect of your mission and become loyal. The experience at each stage influences the connected donor to continue on the journey or opt out altogether.

Continuing on through multiple cycles creates donors who become advocates who volunteer. Each loop through the cycle creates a level of loyalty that is hard to break. Donors who opt out after one loop through a cycle probably did so due to a bad experience at one or more points in the first journey.

Here are the core experiences that need to be intentionally designed to be enjoyable, simple and meet donor needs.

  1. Awareness
  2. Consideration
  3. Evaluation
  4. Mission engagement (donate, volunteer, advocate or participate)
  5. Share the experience
  6. Become loyal and continue engagement through another journey along the loop

We used to view these factors as a linear path. Much research has occurred to help us understand that the connected donor moves in an elliptical path that is tilted in a positive or negative way based on the overall experience. When it becomes negative, they begin to loose awareness, stop considering you, etc. In other words, the brakes are on and they fall out of the path. When the experiences are positive, they continue on.

Whether through social search or traditional, shared experiences, whether good or bad, influence the connected donor in meaningful ways. Their shared experience will affect others on the same path who are following them.

There is a stunning truth to come to grips with about the connected donor. Before they can truly become loyal and promote you to others, they must experience the journey a second time to validate their experience. If anything comes up different in the second journey, they may consider other alternatives.

No matter what, the entire journey is very social and very public. Donors are more connected than you may be able to imagine and it is this truth that can define the experience for others who may be considering to make the same journey. Shared experiences are fed into the experience loop. Those experiences are now being indexed and extracted by others who are considering the same journey with your mission.

Implementation is one of the Four Keys to Nonprofit Leadership by Mark Roithmayr (guest article)

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Today we focus of on “Implementation” the fourth and final key element in Nonprofit Leadership. While Vision, Constituencies, and Individuals get all the headlines, it is truly implementation that does all the work! So let’s dive in…

One of the common denominators for all nonprofits is the sheer volume of work that needs to get done. Unlike our for profit counterparts, we are not in an industry where we can just throw money at the problem, hire as many staff as we need, and sit back and watch all the results. The plus side of all this is that in my 34 years working for nonprofits, any job I was in always came with the promise, take care of the immediate work we hired you for and we’d be more than happy to give you expanded responsibilities (think—leadership opportunities).

Implementation therefore is the final step in the leadership process and by far the most important. You can have a great Vision with motivated Constituencies and clearly identified Individuals but mess up Implementation and the whole deck of cards comes tumbling down. The key is to have alignment, precision, and not be afraid of hard work.

There are some simple steps to follow:

  1. Lay the Vision out for the entire year (where do you want to be tracking against your Vision in 12 months’ time) and then break your year down by quarters. What does success look like three months from now?
  2. Line up your Constituencies who need to be behind that Vision for the next three months. Who are they? What do you need them to do? List them out with their action steps.
  3. What about the Individuals? Who is key to the Vision? Who leads those Constituencies you identified? What do you need them to do for your Vision the next three months?
  4. Grid this all out in a matrix–and every Sunday night before you start the next week, take an hour to plot your work for the coming week. What phone calls do you need to make this week? What emails to send? What meetings to arrange? What power points and reports to create? All in service to your aligned Vision.

So often we get distracted. Of course emergencies and curve balls come up. Of course we can get thrown off track. But we need a quarterly adjusted, weekly implementation plan to literally keep us on track. Without the plan your Vision stands no chance.

Let’s face it. There is little that is sexy about Implementation… it’s hard work! Often it is the manual labor that feels like grunt work. But Implementation can be oh so satisfying in our sector because it is the day to day work that literally leads to successes in everything from stellar fund raising campaigns to profound mission wins.

One last thought.  The concept of Implementation when done right also comes with a healthy dose of humility. The reality is that we in nonprofit are above no duty, no task is too small. If it needs to get done and there is no one else to do it and/or one might inspire many others to do it also, then let’s roll up the sleeves and get the job done. And most importantly, if you came into this business looking for the credit, then you are in the wrong business. As you implement always be looking for those you can heap praise and credit on.  In the end, humility in nonprofits borne out through disciplined implementation is the quickest route to leadership (and success!).

More on Mark Roithmayr

Mark currently serves as Chief Relationship Officer for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. In his role, he provides strategic direction and overall leadership running the Field including the management and fiscal performance of the 56 Chapters as well as the development of key volunteer relationships on behalf of the society locally, regionally and nationally. Prior to the current position, served as Chief Development officer overseeing the Society’s donor development activities including major gifts, foundation giving, planned giving, corporate giving and outright/restricted gifts. Oversee all donor development activities at the national and chapter levels for LLS–the $300 million leader in blood cancer research.

Before LLS, Mark worked as first full time President of Autism Speaks–the largest autism science and advocacy organization in the world today. Merged three organizations into AS in 20 months. Raised over $60 million annually. Invested over $170 million into autism research. Passed national and state bills increasing funds for autism science while reducing out of pocket expenses for families. Helped make “autism” a household word through award winning Ad Council Campaign and the United Nation’s declaration of World Autism Awareness in perpetuity on April 2nd.

Prior to AS, Mark worked 20 years at the March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation in a series of progressive jobs. Turned around ailing flagship chapter doubling revenue. Oversaw all national fundraising leading the Foundation to record years in it’s signature March for Babies event. Earlier in career served as the Foundation’s head of communications. Prior to March of Dimes worked as Director of Public Relations at the New York Lung Association.  

What is the one über competency for being customer obsessed?

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TopgradingWe all need to be passionately focused on great customer experiences. This is the driving force for profitability.

Is there one über competency that out shines them all? Brad Smart suggests that we think about resourcefulness. This is the one big thing that Topgrading suggests out of 50 overall competences.

Resourceful staff find a way, no matter what, to amaze customers they interact with. They don’t let anything get in the way. They have a drive that focus on the customer beyond anything else. Their passion is contagious.

 

There is one über Competency, and that is Resourcefulness. A Players are very strong in resourcefulness.  It’s so powerful that if a candidate has “it,” then almost certainly that candidate is very strong on many other competencies.

What is Resourcefulness? It’s a combination of drive, passion, analytic ability, decision making, perseverance, resilience, integrity, tenacity, and energy that, when applied, snatches success out of the jaws of defeat.  Resourcefulness is figuring out how to get over, around, or through barriers to success, and then doing it.

Resourcefulness is the opposite of coasting along, giving up, running to bosses to solve problems, whining, making excuses, and then giving up some more.

via Topgrading’s MOST Important Competency » Topgrading.com.

How engaged employees create engaged customers.

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Sam Stern at Forrester ResearchEmployee Hiring has some great ideas about hiring customer-centric employees.

We know how important it is to get the right people on board, and keeping them passionate about creating amazing experiences for the customer is so critical.

Engaged employees create engaged customers.

Here are a couple of Sam’s ideas.

  • Get Customer-Centric Applicants Into The Hiring Funnel. A customer-centric hiring process starts by attracting the right kind of applicants and filtering out the wrong kind. The careers section of a website provides an opportunity for companies to tell applicants what they value in employees. For example, The Container Store’s website describes the company’s commitment to putting employees first and draws a clear distinction from other companies that focus on shareholders first. Contrast that first impression with the careers landing page on Bed Bath & Beyond’s site, where the opening sentence talks about stock performance and its expansion.
  •  Focus The Interview Process On Candidate Storytelling. When candidates reach the interview process, it’s time to vet their customer centricity by getting them to tell stories: Have them describe specific examples from past jobs where they exemplified a particular trait or competency. Companies should infuse their interview guides with questions that provide insights about core customer experience competencies. Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI) focused on three core competencies of its eight-competency model — customer-driven focus, accountability, and teamwork and collaboration — that it believed were the most important markers for its interviews.
  • Reinforce Key Behaviors With Customer-Centric Onboarding. It’s not enough to hire people with the right mindset. Companies also need an onboarding process that creates clear linkages between individuals and their role in delivering the right experience. Enter learning maps: visual representations of existing or desired states that facilitate training and coaching sessions. They can provide a framework for customer experience training and empower employees with enough understanding of the experience to make their own decisions and adjustments. Barclays Africa worked with consulting firm Trainiac to create large-scale visualizations that are part of the onboarding process.

Source: How To Hire And Onboard Customer-Centric Employees | Forrester Research

Is managing the donor experience an art or science?

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Is managing the donor experience an art or science? It is part art and part science and a whole lot of social science. It is about people.

It is more social science than technology. In understanding how donors connect with our mission, it helps to understand a little about psychology, sociology, and anthropology.

It is all about the experience. Understanding “why” an experience wasn’t enjoyable is important. Falling into the trap that it is all about “likes” on social media can be misleading. It doesn’t matter how many likes we get if the other experiences aren’t enjoyable, simple and meet what the donor needs.

The digital experience is about people. It is about how they feel about all their interactions with us. They may have just attended an amazing event and had a lot of fun. They enjoyed it. When they went to your website afterward to find out how the event did, they couldn’t find what they wanted. Then, no one bothered to thank them after the event.

A few days after the event, they got an email asking them to give clearly indicating you don’t know them. What is their overall experience with us?

Both digital and real world experiences add up to answer that question. Focusing on what people said to you on the way out the door of the event can give a false impression.

A totally branded donor experience will come down to the role we play in listening, engaging, and meeting the needs (translate deliver value) before, during and after a transaction. That is precisely why the habit of direct mail applied to the connected donor is so dangerous. What is that habit? Ask for a gift. Ask more. Then ask again. Ask 12 times. Finally wonder why they haven’t given.

Being thoughtful and intentional about unifying the donor experience ensures we are listening and connecting. The kind of content we create or curate needs to be engaging and consistent with our brand promise. Do we understand the psychology of why a donor experience was inconsistent with a donor expectation and hence unenjoyable?

Is the past killing our future? Do we have the courage to do the right thing?

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There is a tough thing in life. We make business decisions and invest millions of dollars. Many times it doesn’t work out. How soon did we actually know that before we launched?

Was it one week before the launch?

Was it one week after we started?

What if we had pulled the plug on the project one week after we get started?

I have lied to myself and my team before about projects that I knew early on weren’t going to work. We can’t plod ahead hoping for the best. As we all know, hope is not a great strategy. Courage is a better approach. Courage, however, can get you fired.

The worst thing is figuring out one week before we launch that the product won’t work for long.

Even worse, what about one year after we launch.

One time I was called in to evaluate a project that the company had already spent $15 million on and had been in the marketplace five years. Every year it was bring the company’s balance sheet down. Pretty soon they would be in a death spiral. Not pretty.

Being the new guy, the CEO asked me what to do. I assessed what was going on, ran the numbers and recommended that he cut their losses and kill it. He immediately agreed and had only been waiting for someone to say that to him.

Past expenses have nothing to do with future economic decisions.

Source: Seth Godin

Is Donor-Centric Real or a Unicorn?

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There is a lot said and written about being donor-centric and the donor experience. I am one of those who does it. Kevin Schulman poses a great question.

Is donor-centric real or a Unicorn?

It is worth knowing the answer.

In our prior post we stipulated that donors want to donate. They don’t want massive frustration and irritation in doing so, which is precisely what all the asks (i.e. volume) causes.  There is a study here proving that point.  And it doesn’t irritate some tiny, minority of folks who really aren’t “good” donors anyway, it irritates the majority of your donors.

In short, most give in spite of the fundraising volume machine and the irritation it causes, not because of it.

Source: Is Donor-Centric Real or a Unicorn? | Kevin Schulman | Pulse | LinkedIn

Leadership: Some thoughts on our challenging leaders

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What do you do if you currently work for a leader that isn’t helping you? Michael Hyatt has some very insightful ideas.

All five of these are spot on. Leadership - Feels like

But what if you are in that situation right now? Here are five ways to cope:

  1. Manage your expectations. When you read a lot of books and blogs about leadership, it is easy to become idealistic. If you are not careful, you can create a set of expectations that no one could possibly meet. You have to remember your boss is human—and fallen at that. He struggles with his own fears, wounds, and weaknesses. He has his own accountabilities and pressure. He will experience good days and bad.
  2. Evaluate the impact. What kind of effect is your boss having on you and your teammates? Is he over-bearing and abusive? Incompetent or careless? Or is he checked out or inaccessible? I have worked in all of these situations and each of them requires a different response. Some are easier to put up with and manage around than others.
  3. Consider your options. If the situation is bad enough, it may warrant your resignation. I have only been in one job where I did this, and frankly—knowing what I know now—I wish I had stayed. But your circumstances may be different. Most situations provide an opportunity to learn, if you are alert and teachable. Some of the best lessons I ever learned were from bad bosses.
  4. Be assertive. Bad bosses have a way of creating a culture of fear, where people are afraid to speak up. But this may be the perfect opportunity for you to become more courageous. This doesn’t mean you have to be disrespectful. Nor does it require that you become inappropriately aggressive. Being assertive means giving voice to your needs and establishing clear boundaries.
  5. Support him publicly. Someone once said, “public support leads to private influence.” I think that is exactly right. When I have been in these situations, I have refused to publicly debate my boss or to gossip about him behind his back. I looked for positive attributes (everyone has them) and publicly affirmed them. I was loyal when he wasn’t present. This gave me credibility when I needed it later.

Source: What If You Work for a Bad Leader? | Michael Hyatt 

Disruption 101: Transforming an Innovative Idea into a Sustainable Business

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Are you a software company? Should you be a software company? Are you about to be disrupted because you don’t see yourself as a software company?

The new capital of the digital world is the customer experience. Without that, technology will fail us.

It is happening across myriad industries: New companies are rolling out solutions and services that tap into changing customer behaviors and expectations, forcing incumbent firms to keep up or become obsolete. But for every company that disrupts an industry like Airbnb, Uber, and Spotify, there are others that quickly fizzled out (MySpace) or lost touch with its customers (BlackBerry).

via Disruption 101: Transforming an Innovative Idea into a Sustainable Business.

How You Need to Change Your Social Media Strategy

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What Makes Successful Social Content?

First of all have a goal that is measurable, as having a goal is critical to effectively measure success. Based on your goals, you have to produce content that can have the maximum impact on your potential customers. Here are some content types that are found to be the most effective on social media:

  • 34% of the US audience use webinars to make a purchase decision. (Source: Eccolo Media).
  • Hashtagging is found to generate a fair amount of response. Map an evergreen hashtag and your followers will automatically start tagging content with it. This is an excellent way to grow your followers and generate publicity.
  • Personalization and segmentation will remain the key factors for deciding the content success. Add a human touch to your posts. Use personal comments from the CEO, use pictures, personalize or segment sharing for a particular user/group, engage with campaign participants etc.
  • Content that considers audiences a part of it will be most effective. Offer prizes, free product samples, discounts or even simple public recognition in order to boost participation in your campaign.

Per Statista, the numbers of social media users are expected to reach 2.13 billion in 2016.

Source: How You Need to Change Your Social Media Strategy in 2016

Facebook has yet again changed the algorithm behind its news feed. What does that mean for online publishers?

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Facebook has yet again changed the algorithm behind its news feed to the effect that its users will see more posts from friends and family and fewer from brands and media outlets. What sounds like good news for users, will probably cause some concern among online publishers around the world.

The organic reach of news articles or other branded content on Facebook has reportedly been declining for a while now and after this week’s announcement, publishers might fear a further decline.

As the chart illustrates, Facebook has become an important traffic source for news publishers in recent years. In fact, it even overtook Google to become the largest source of referral traffic according to data published by Parse.ly, a company providing online publishers with analytics tools. Given its importance as a traffic source, limiting the organic reach of articles is probably a clever way for Facebook to entice publishers to spend more money on promoting their content on what is the world’s largest social network.

Source: • Chart: Facebook’s Importance to Online Publishers | Statista

How will it end?

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Return on Investment

Return on Investment

How will it end?

There are many things about the customer experience we may not have the resources to impact. We have to have priorities and make some tough choices.

How the experience ends has a huge impact on how the experience will be remembered. Have we thought it through? Do we know what feeling we want customers to come away with? Have we invested in that critical moment?

We can be intentional about that. It will make a difference.

Is hope a strategy?

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Hope in lightIs hope a good strategy? Generally hope is a a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.

Having hope doesn’t mean anything will happen.

It may not.

Hope is a good tactic however. If there is a good vision and goal, then the desire to see it through and make it happen is a good thing.

We want people of hope working with us. My attitude is important.

Despair isn’t good in any world.

Fix Computer Security by Acting like Macy’s

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Cyber Security

Cyber Security

Retail operations have very effective security. We should look at their approaches and design computer security in a similar fashion.

Computer systems, corporate and government, will continue to be breached at an alarming rate, which is of course much higher than is publicly disclosed. More money will be spent and people hired. More standards will be set, regulations promulgated and enforced. As should be obvious by now, most of the money will be wasted, most of the people will accomplish nothing, and the regulations will increase costs while making things worse. Unless something changes.

The problem of cybersecurity can be solved. But it can only be solved if: we acknowledge we’re at war and act accordingly; we apply within the guts of our systems common-sense methods whose principles are clear, obvious and proven in other domains; and we start acting as though we actually want to solve the problem, as opposed to the current strategy of denial, cover-up and blame-shifting.

Source: Fix Computer Security by Acting like Macy’s

 

What are The Most Popular Apps in the World?

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As we have recently learned, smartphone users in the United States spend more time using apps than ever before. On average, they spend more than 40 hours a month using their favorite apps. Meanwhile, the number of apps they use has plateaued since 2012. 27 appears to be the magic number in terms of how many apps people need.

So which apps do people actually use? According to SensorTower data reported by ReCode, there are few surprises when it comes to the most popular apps in the world. Big players such as Google, Facebook and Twitter dominated global app downloads in May, with Facebook owning four of the five most-downloaded apps in the world.

Source: • Chart: The Most Popular Apps in the World | Statista

Individuals are one of the Four Keys to Nonprofit Leadership by Mark Roithmayr (guest article)

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Welcome back to the fourth in the series of blogs on Nonprofit Leadership namely Vision, Constituencies, Individuals and Implementation. Today the focus is on Individuals.

Individuals

Perhaps in no other industry is the power of one so self evident. Every movement, crusade, event and innovation in our sector has been begun with an individual. From the curing of polio to the moonshot for cancer, to the invention of walkathons, endurance events, red nose days and ice bucket challenges. All started by someone with an idea who had the ability to work with and through a nonprofit for the greater good. No patents have been given. No one has become a billionaire. Yet so many nonprofits and in fact all of society has benefited so well.

Individuals are everywhere in our sector. They come as staff, volunteers and in constituencies. Their ideas range from the conventional to the unconventional. They come with ego and agenda and often passionately compete, collude and collide. It is the role of the leader to establish an atmosphere that allows the very best of individuals and their ideas to rise to the fore in benefit of the mission and vision of the organization. Not an easy task!

Creating such an atmosphere starts with staff. Key leaders in key positions who understand as individuals it is not about them. It is about the mission and it is about the volunteers. It is about attracting those with leverage–leverage to raise dollars, leverage to advocate for mission, leverage to deliver programs.   Recruiting strong, selfless staff that get and put volunteers first is imperative.

It is then about attracting volunteers. Volunteers with an interest (for whatever reason) and ultimately a passion for your cause. Volunteers who are smarter, wiser, and stronger than you are. The trick is not to be afraid to embrace someone who can figure out how to do this better than you can.

Next it is about setting guidelines. Guidelines that point toward a vision and a purpose but leave room for interpretation, innovation, creativity, collaboration and ownership. Guidelines that are flexible enough to allow for individuals to bring their own unique ideas and skill sets to fill in the details. We need a new event…we want to raise money through social media…we want to cure cancer.

As a nonprofit leader the ability to see a direction, recruit individuals, and then let go takes strength. It takes restraint. It takes trust. It takes leadership.

Next up in the series, Implementation. See you next month.

More on Mark Roithmayr

Mark currently serves as Chief Relationship Officer for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. In his role, he provides strategic direction and overall leadership running the Field including the management and fiscal performance of the 56 Chapters as well as the development of key volunteer relationships on behalf of the society locally, regionally and nationally. Prior to the current position, served as Chief Development officer overseeing the Society’s donor development activities including major gifts, foundation giving, planned giving, corporate giving and outright/restricted gifts. Oversee all donor development activities at the national and chapter levels for LLS–the $300 million leader in blood cancer research.

Before LLS, Mark worked as first full time President of Autism Speaks–the largest autism science and advocacy organization in the world today. Merged three organizations into AS in 20 months. Raised over $60 million annually. Invested over $170 million into autism research. Passed national and state bills increasing funds for autism science while reducing out of pocket expenses for families. Helped make “autism” a household word through award winning Ad Council Campaign and the United Nation’s declaration of World Autism Awareness in perpetuity on April 2nd.

Prior to AS, Mark worked 20 years at the March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation in a series of progressive jobs. Turned around ailing flagship chapter doubling revenue. Oversaw all national fundraising leading the Foundation to record years in it’s signature March for Babies event. Earlier in career served as the Foundation’s head of communications. Prior to March of Dimes worked as Director of Public Relations at the New York Lung Association.  

From a millennial to nonprofits – Can you give us bold and robust?

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This is a stunning way to see what can happen when you are a digital nonprofit. It is a challenge to be sure but seems to me it is the way to go.

If someone can feel that coffee can create a “I can’t imagine the world without this coffee kind of experience”, then imagine what we can do for the mission of our nonprofits. There is an amazing opportunity here for stunning experiences for nonprofit constituents.

Today is the day we need to imagine a group of people differently.

Coffee Experiences

Last night, the finest, rarest coffee beans in the world, known as Jamaican Blue, found their way into my cup.  And it was truly remarkable.

A cup of coffee?  Really?  I mean.. it’s just a cup of coffee, right?  No. This coffee was robust.  It was bold. It was like nothing I’d ever tried before. And it wasn’t just me.  I looked around at the coffee shop, and everyone else was blown away too.  Suddenly, we were all a part of this incredible, mind-blowing experience. Instagram.  Twitter.  Facebook.  Pinterest.  All channels blown up.  I wanted people to know what I was going through – to be a part of what I was a part of.  I had to share what was happening with my circle of influence in hopes that maybe – just maybe – one person would see this masterpiece and buy this cup of coffee too, only to have his or her life impacted forever.

If I felt this way about a cup of coffee, how much more enthusiasm could your cause inspire?  Imagine what could happen if your organization bridged the gap with my generation..

via From a Millennial: Give Us Bold and Robust and We’ll Share It With The World | npENGAGE.

Social Media is about the customer, not us

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Social MediaWe all know that the social media scene is shifting fast.

What we may think is a trend may have already become a digital business reality for enough of our customers that we need to have them in our current mix of initiatives.

The biggest shift is that it is all about the customer. They decide what is important not us. It requires an obsession with the experience they are having in our digital business.

Social media has introduced a completely different way of interacting with both people and organizations. From a little-known channel just a few years back, social has grown to become an important tool in brands’ marketing and service arsenal and investment in social channels have quickly become a necessity for those companies that want to succeed. Source: 6 Social Media Shifts to Prepare for

 

Here are some to have in your mix:

  1. A picture perfect medium
  2. You snooze, you lose
  3. Quality over quantity
  4. Bring social to your property
  5. It is all about collaboration
  6. A customer-owned experience

Most Cyber Attacks Are An Inside Job

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According to Statisa, “Cyber attacks are a constant threat to businesses around the world with vast sums of money being spent to protect against them. The image of some nefarious character plotting in his or her bedroom is one most of us have when thinking about hackers and cyber criminals. While in 2015, 40 percent of attacks stemmed from ‘outsiders’, a surprising 60 percent were actually perpetrated by company insiders.

“IBM, who produced the figures based on information from over 8,000 of their clients devices, revealed that although 15.5 percent of such ‘attacks’ were caused inadvertently, 44.5 percent were deemed to have been malicious.

“An insider is defined as anyone who has physical or remote access to a company’s assets. IBM note that although this would often be an employee, it can also mean business partners or maintenance contractors – people you trust enough to grant system access to. Insiders not only have this access, they may also be aware of your weaknesses and thus exploit them more effectively than an outside agent might be able to.”

Source: • Chart: Most Cyber Attacks Are An Inside Job | Statista

Why Digital Transformation Must Begin with You

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We can agree that transformation is mission critical. Our business survival may depend on it.

Where does it all start?

If starts with me as a leader. I must transform myself and my approach. Not much will happen without that.

Let’s face it.  Your organization is not going to transform unless you transform as its leader.  Your personal transformation will affect the way you spend your time and what you talk about.  You must develop a laser-like focus on speed, flexibility, and customer obsession.  And these tenets will also change the way you lead.

Source: Why Digital Transformation Must Begin with You

Social networks are very mobile friendly. What does that mean for your content?

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We all know that mobile has become a huge part of being a digital business. We may not be aware of how fast it is moving in the social networking world.

If your customers are seeing your posts in social media, what happens when they click on the link? How good is that experience? How mobile friendly is your content?

As mobile devices play an increasingly large role in our everyday media consumption, social networking was among the first activities to become mobile-first: However, some social networks are more mobile than others as our chart shows.While Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter are used almost exclusively on mobile devices, Facebook usage is more evenly distributed across devices. The future of social networking is clearly mobile though, with Tumblr and LinkedIn the only notable exceptions to the rule.

via • Chart: How Mobile Are Social Networks? | Statista.

Statista-Infographic_2091_mobile-usage-of-social-networks-

What kind of business technology scorecard do you use?

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Do you have a scorecard that translates your key goals and strategies in a way that drives performance? Have you created a framework for what it looks like? Here is a framework for a balanced scorecard that is a little different from many I’ve seen. Do you have one you could share?

Metrics are very important to both lead and lag indicators. Being clear what what goals and strategies will make a difference is leadership’s responsibility.

I highly recommend the approach that Forrester is advocating for in this blog article. It has some great visuals in it as well.

It’s time to re-think the report card used by CIOs to report on BT performance – tomorrow’s BT CIOs must look beyond the traditional IT Balanced Scorecard (BSC).I realize this is sacred ground for many people in IT (and some of my colleagues here at Forrester), so let me explain myself before I receive a barrage of complaints. The philosophy behind Business Technology (BT) recognizes technology as integral to every facet of every organization – as such, IT is very much an integral part of the business; we can no longer talk about “business” and “IT” as if referring to two distinct things. I’m suggesting that in the age of BT, we need a new scorecard that better reflects the impact of BT on the business.

via Does BT Need A New Report Card? | Forrester Blogs.

Why don’t donors don’t always give year after year?

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The challenge is that donors don’t always  give year after year. Donor Retention

Donors staying loyal is the exception, not the rule. According to Chuck Longfield, ten years ago the average retention rates of a newly acquired donor were roughly 33%.  Today it’s 27%.

What can we do about this? Make a donor retention calendar to keep your donors loyal!

OK, so donor retention isn’t part of your job description. Your boss probably doesn’t religiously count how many donors were retained and how many were lost every year. You just have to get money in, by any means necessary. Meanwhile, that grant needs to get written, that trade show with potential sponsors is next week and you’ve got to craft your pitch, and your big event is coming up in two months and there’s still so much to do!

There’s so much on your plate! How can you keep your head above water?

“Remember, good customer service is often just deciding what you’re going to be bad at, so that you can focus on the things that matter.” – Uncommon Service, by Frei & Morriss

Here are 4 Steps to help you focus on the things that matter: via Making Your First Donor Retention Calendar, Step by Step | npENGAGE.

Twice the Time – Same Number of Apps

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“These days, smartphone users have millions of apps to choose from. But how many apps do they actually use? According to a recent Nielsen report, the answer is: a little more than two dozens.

“In the fourth quarter of 2015, iPhone and Android smartphone users in the U.S. used an average of 27.1 apps per month, spending more than 40 hours with them. Interestingly, the amount of time people spend with apps continues to increase, whereas the number of apps they use pretty much stopped growing three years ago.

“Apparently, there’s a limit to how many apps people actually use, regardless of how many apps are available and how much time they spend using them. To put it differently: there’s an app for every need, but there’s no need for every app.”

Source: • Chart: Twice the Time – Same Number of Apps | Statista

Lack of Accountability: Is it the enemy within?

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Are we our own worst enemy? As we build a digital business, what is a very important people issue not to ignore? Accountability.

We must build accountability into how we and our teams function. Accountability starts with ourselves as leaders. Are we holding ourselves accountable? Once we are there, we can focus on our team.Accountable - 01

As leaders, we get the behavior we tolerate. When it comes to holding people accountable, we are often our own worst enemy. Instead of practicing accountability, we practice avoidance. That was certainly the case with me. Along the way, I learned 3 valuable lessons:

1.  Clear expectations must be established.

2.  Bad news does not improve with age.

3.  It’s not personal.

I learned these lessons the hard way. I figured there’s got to be a better way to build and sustain a culture where accountability is part of the DNA of high-perform­ing organizations.

via Lack of Accountability: The Enemy Within.

What are the rules of employee engagement for a great customer experience?

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More and more, we are beginning to recognize that a key to the customer experience is highly engaged employees. Gallup has lots of data on the correlation. Building a digital business will require strategies and initiatives to improve employee engagement. It shoulEmployee Engagementd also be a key lagging indicator for the customer experience.

People are central to all we do. Goals are important but engaged people make it happen.

Engaged employees are the backbone of an organization. But while business leaders recognize the importance of an engaged workforce, several organizations have been facing high levels of disengagement for a number of years. In fact, numerous reports have pointed towards a serious problem in the United States. According to the latest Gallup report on the State of the American Workplace, only 30 percent of employees in the United States are engaged, while the other 70 percent are not reaching their full potential. While there is no magic recipe to achieve and retain high levels of employee engagement, there are certainly a number of ingredients that, when combined, will steer organizations in the right direction. These components are not dissimilar from the ones needed to have a successful relationship and manage a household.

via Employee Engagement | Rules of Employee Engagement.

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What are the fundamental elements for the digital C-Suite?

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Digital Transformation

Digital Transformation

If you are a member of the C-Suite or a senior manager, what does it really mean to “be digital”?

Here are some things to focus on:

  • Developing your digital business strategy
  • Identifying areas for business model disruption
  • Connecting with other market leaders and fast followers
  • Sharing best practices
  • Vendor selection
  • Providing contract negotiations and software licensing support
  • Implementation partner selection

The digital mindset applies to every aspect of what we do.

The stage is set for Digital Transformation to be one of the hottest trends for 2015. Market leaders and early adopters have already embraced the movement. Yet, massive hype is coming soon as digital transformation hits mainstream awareness. While digital may be applied as an adjective to every movement or trend, Constellation defines digital transformation as the methodology in which organizations transform and create new business models and culture with digital technologies.

via Quips: Digital Transformation – Defining The Fundamental Elements For Digital CXOs | Constellation Research Inc..

Who Owns Enterprise Analytics and Data? How about the CEO?

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This is a very interesting suggestion that the CFO owns enterprise analytics and data. My sense, while it is well meaning, is that it is misplaced. Many will argue their function should own it. This article eventually argues it should be the CIO.

My suggestion?

How about the CEO?

Who else owns “the enterprise”?

My thought is that this is too important to delegate to a department and have one more siloed activity. Only the CEO can get everyone pulling in the same direction. Only the CEO can provide the leadership that is needed so desperately.

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Constituencies are one of the Four Keys to Nonprofit Leadership by Mark Roithmayr (guest article)

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Constituencies

Constituencies

Welcome again to our ongoing series on the Four Keys to Nonprofit Leadership namely, Vision, Constituencies, Individuals and Implementation. This in our third in a series of monthly posts, each focusing on one of the key elements.  Today we continue with Constituencies.

Of the four keys, Constituencies is perhaps the most complex and potentially perplexing.  All missions and causes are accomplished through others.  In the case of nonprofits it’s groups of others.  Boards, chapters, departments, volunteers, fundraising participants, donors—and that’s just for starters.  Each of these Constituencies has further breakouts: national Boards v. local Boards, West Coast chapters v. East Coast chapters, fundraising departments v. program departments, walkers v. runners, million dollar donors v. $10 donors, etc.  One thing all these Constituencies have in common is that they tend to be very passionate.

The role of the leader is to align Constituencies to the Vision while being cognizant of the reality that 100% alignment on any given day on any given topic can be near impossible.  The trick, make that the art, is to know when you have aligned enough Constituencies to move decisively.  Communication is key.  Political judgment and wisdom are a must.

One need not look far in our industry to see where this has been done well and where it has been done poorly.  The Komen/Planned Parenthood controversy from four years ago is the perfect example.  Ignore for a minute, the politics of the controversy.  Instead focus on the Constituencies.  One nonprofit misjudged their constituencies completely while the other knew exactly how to ignite theirs. One clearly had a better grasp of the feelings of their local boards v. their national, their small donors and their large donors, you can pretty much run down the list of key Constituencies and get the same result.

Before making a big decision, it is imperative to think through your key Constituencies gauging potential reaction audience by audience.  Determine what channels their passion and see how that can align with your vision. Not sure of a Constituency?  Make a couple of phone calls (few in the nonprofit space are shy about sharing their opinions!).

The other tricky thing about Constituencies is that they are fluid by nature. Some more important one day, others the next. Prioritizing Constituencies on key decisions is critical.  Who does a new direction affect more than others?  Are there ‘must haves’ for a particular decision in your Constituency matrix?  Who needs to be brought in to hear it from you directly?  It is paramount to determine what Constituencies are most important in what situations.  This is where judgment and wisdom really matter.

No matter what your leadership role in nonprofits, we all have Constituencies.  Take a moment.  Write yours down.  Your internal groups. Your external groups.  Keep the list next to you.  The next time you need to make a big decision, go through your matrix.  Tailor your message.  Work your Constituencies.  And see what a difference it will make.

Next month’s topic, Individuals.  Speak with you then…

More on Mark Roithmayr

Mark currently serves as Chief Relationship Officer for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. In his role, he provides strategic direction and overall leadership running the Field including the management and fiscal performance of the 56 Chapters as well as the development of key volunteer relationships on behalf of the society locally, regionally and nationally. Prior to the current position, served as Chief Development officer overseeing the Society’s donor development activities including major gifts, foundation giving, planned giving, corporate giving and outright/restricted gifts. Oversee all donor development activities at the national and chapter levels for LLS–the $300 million leader in blood cancer research.

Before LLS, Mark worked as first full time President of Autism Speaks–the largest autism science and advocacy organization in the world today. Merged three organizations into AS in 20 months. Raised over $60 million annually. Invested over $170 million into autism research. Passed national and state bills increasing funds for autism science while reducing out of pocket expenses for families. Helped make “autism” a household word through award winning Ad Council Campaign and the United Nation’s declaration of World Autism Awareness in perpetuity on April 2nd.

Prior to AS, Mark worked 20 years at the March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation in a series of progressive jobs. Turned around ailing flagship chapter doubling revenue. Oversaw all national fundraising leading the Foundation to record years in it’s signature March for Babies event. Earlier in career served as the Foundation’s head of communications. Prior to March of Dimes worked as Director of Public Relations at the New York Lung Association.  

 

Is it all about transformation? What about agile initiatives to solve urgent problems?

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I am an advocate for transformation. I am also an advocate for speed.

There is work to be done that can’t wait for the culture to change.

What about that website that isn’t mobile friendly and sucks from a customer experience point of view? Should that really wait? NO. It shouldn’t.

And there are a 100 more things like that we some urgency around to change. They need to change now. They need to change fast. We need to urgent and agile.

We know those will be consistent with transformation change. Move ahead and move on in peace.

It needs to change now. We need agile transformation.

So … it isn’t either / or. It is yes / and.

In the world of business technology, speed is huge. Executing is huge. Results reign supreme. Experiments are the norm. We ought to obsess about the customer and sweat the details about executing what helps them.

We should keep moving and never stop thinking of what the customer experience is like. No stone should be left unturned in our pursuit of amazing customer service. It is in fact the small courtesies that great an emotional connection to our products and services. Is every contact with us memorable? Did we add value?

Are we doing it? Are we getting it done today?

We have a strategic plan. It’s called ‘doing things.” —Herb Kelleher, Southwest Airlines CEO and Founder

I don’t think I would advocate not having a strategic plan but they probably could be simpler than we make most of them. Regardless of what you call it, the focus should be on getting the right things done fast. The focus should be execution.

How do you create a digital business when experienced leadership is hard to find?

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Teamwork is essential in business. Volumes have been written on it. There is current a dearth of digital leadership due to the fast paced nature of this business change. How do we move ahead without talent to draw from?

Intel when faced with extremely rapid growth and new markets some ten, or more years ago, used to describe their management style as ‘Two in the Box’, meaning in their case the experienced leader would manage with their likely replacement in duopoly slowly taking responsibilities. One leader, one mentor and team of really sharp staff.

How would you frame this up?

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Will a satisfied donor renew their gift?

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Donor satisfaction

Let’s start with the premise that many donors are not engaged, committed and will probably not renew their gift. You may disagree but hang with me on this.

If their motivation to give the first time was because a friend asked them, the motivation to renew is low or non existent. Motivation is not the same as satisfaction, even if I am highly satisfied.

If we survey that donor, they might be very likely to say they would recommend you to a friend. Why wouldn’t they? Are they motivated to give again?

What has that told us? They aren’t currently planning on giving again, unless the same friend asks and maybe not even then. The original motivation was from who asked not a nonprofit that they are committed to because of an amazing mission and clear results with helping people.

The point of this post is to share some recent analysis we did looking at what we call the “key drivers” of both Donor Commitment – our brand of donor loyalty – and donor satisfaction. Satisfaction or Donor Commitment scores (or Net Promoter Scores) are a lot like one hand clapping . What you really also need is identification of what your organization can do to impact those scores – i.e. how do we create more Committed or satisfied donors?

To answer this one conducts a statistical analysis to identify the “key drivers” – the marketing, communications and fundraising activities that show a math based link to stronger donor attitudes and loyalty.

We did this key driver analysis using both Commitment and Satisfaction as the framework. What we found is there are seven activities (or key drivers) of Commitment (broken out into Personal and Functional) and hence, the roadmap to higher retention requires adhering to all seven. Using satisfaction only identifies 3 of the 7 – the roadmap is incomplete. The insidious part is that groups often don’t know what they aren’t getting – i.e. they are blind to, in this case, the missing 4. But make no mistake, the theory one ascribes to for why people elect to engage in repeat business matters.

via Why a Satisfied Donor is Not a Retained Donor | LinkedIn.

How Smooth is the Path for Mobile Customer Support?

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Consumers who are inseparable from their smartphones and apps increasingly represent the average customer across industries, placing pressure on companies to deliver excellent mobile experiences. ComScore reported Americans spend the majority of their time consuming digital media within mobile applications.

Apps account for seven out of every eight minutes of media consumption on mobile devices and when broken down between smartphones and tablets, they account for 88 percent and 82 percent of usage, respectively, according to the study.

What if you have a number to text for help in your store or predominantly on every page on your website? Would that allow for faster customer support and responses? While some will call a 800 number, more and more customers like to text.

Web chat is taking off but is still fairly sparse on many sites. Do you have a plan to enable web chat.

How easy is it to contact you with your mobile app itself?

We need to think through all the new ways we can support and service customers. Think mobile all the time. That is what customers prefer.

Source via Smoothing the Path for Mobile Customer Support.

Mobile Devices

Mobile Devices

Improving the donor experience so as to never fear it being shared

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Major Donor - The pyramid is dead

Major Donor – The pyramid is dead

Our donors are sharing experiences they have with us. This profoundly influences the journey others they know will take and the decisions they will make to become engaged with us. Our marketing efforts have one level of effect but they are always seen as our marketing efforts. What others say, in a peer-to-peer way, are the most potent influencers of all.

Word of mouth has always been powerful. Technology now allows for exponential reach for the person who shares their experience of us. It isn’t what we say about ourself but it is all about what others say about us that counts.

At some point, a donor will start a journey with our nonprofit. It may be small and unnoticeable to us to begin with. Maybe it was that $10 donation they made when a friend who was participating in an event asked them to give. They can give a lot more and they might.

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