You have a passion for your mission. You want to do the right thing for your donors. You believe in a better donor experience. You are on a journey. This is a world that brings about radical change for your nonprofit. Your journey will require that you master “change management”. “Change management” is your primary role as a visionary who truly believes your nonprofit can end up in a better place with more reach for your mission and with an improved bottom line to fund it.
You are a champion of transformation and innovation in your nonprofit. You will face a lot of challenges. It will require hard work, perseverance and support from many. You will discover many allies and a few enemies.
Part of your work is about discovery. Much of it is about communication and formulation of strategy. A focus on going from strategy to a few actionable next steps is critical. This is definitely hard work. You are up to it, which is precisely why it is interesting. Not everyone can lead the way.
All the hard work will lead to the reward. Unparalleled growth is the promise of an enriched donor experience. (Yes, there is data to support this.)
Too often, the donor’s experience of your brand is an afterthought. Your main focus is to become intentional about everything you can. To bring the issues front and center, you and others need to champion internal transformation. It doesn’t matter that you are unclear where to begin right now. Getting started will help you figure it out. You are going to need lots of helpers. And you probably need at least one mentor.
Acknowledging that the world is changing may be a wonderful place to start. We know consumer behavior is changing rapidly. It is impacting how donors view your nonprofit. Documenting how it is impacting your nonprofit is another key focus area. It is already impacting your bottom line.
Another focus of the journey may be to break a few deadly habits. We all have habits. One nonprofit habit is seeing donors from the view of a single transaction. This is called direct response. This habit can cause you to miss the donor (they are a millionaire) who has recently made a series of small transactions.
What experience did they just have with you? As a result of that experience, are they on a journey with you to engagement with your mission? How did they feel about that experience? How easy was it to make the donation? Did that experience meet their goals? After they made the gift, did they get engaged in your mission?
Moving from a transaction mindset to a relational and engagement mindset can remarkably impact the experience the donor has. This has huge rippling effects into loyalty and total donation.
And so … it is a journey. Donor behavior is changing and changing fast. As a hero leading the journey internally, it is your role to help leaders see the impact to your bottom line and help everyone keep up.