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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?

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