Leadership in the donor experience transformation world is purposeful in its approach to creating a long term sustainable change. Change efforts will be designed in a top-down approach in some cases. And they will be constantly refined from the bottom-up.
Employees are not expected to conform as much as they are expected to be involved and engaged. The communication approach of nonprofit executives is more like a campaign rather than a carefully refined command and control approach. Change activities for the donor experience are more likely to be a refine and reinforce approach.
Key leverage teams are the middle managers and not the frontline employees. The primary communication focus of nonprofit executives is one of why change for the donor is important rather than what is changing. The nonprofit executive knows it is in his or her heart that without engaged volunteers and employees, there can be no true transformation.
Transformation is the primary mission of the nonprofit development executive. In serving as a donor experience leader obsessed with the donor experience, the focus is to engage most employees as ambassadors for the movement. The leader knows that every employee needs to own creating amazing donor experiences. It is not the leader alone who is accountable. All of us are accountable.
What this is about is really a change in the culture and ultimately the soul of the nonprofit. The donor experience executive doesn’t shy away from that reality. If senior executives are not on board yet, that is job number 1. Not much of substance will happen until the C-Suite embraces transforming the culture of our world for the donor.
Beyond changing the culture (a people issue), processes need to be aligned to support donor experience transformation. As much as we think we have solved the problem, the culture won’t change if processes are not supportive. This takes time and energy. It takes discipline and effort. It takes money and investments.
Ad hoc initiatives, particularly some quick wins, will be important. An ad hoc approach will not work in the long run. This is a commitment to see it through to the end. Discipline is the key. We need change donor experience processes in place that are sustainable. This cannot be seen as a senior management flavor of the month.
The transformational donor experience executive starts out by knowing what he or she wants to accomplish. They are nothing, if not purposeful. They don’t proceed without knowing “the why” of what they are doing. As Stephen Covey rightly suggested, they truly start with the end in mind. What does the optimal donor experience look and feel like?
Executive leadership’s commitment and buy in is essential. We all know this is true. If we don’t have it, we must get it. It is worth the time and effort. Beyond that, middle managers are crucial to donor experience transformation. Most change will not start with front line employees.
Donor facing employees will win the battle. Without a true commitment of the heart and soul of the employee who is in front of the donor right now, not much will happen.
One obstacle to overcome is the amount of time devoted to learning. Do middle managers have enough time to learn how to improve the donor experience? Are agendas for most meetings focused on what can be done this week to improve the experience? Do we spend enough time learning what frustrates our donors?
Here are the key ideas:
- Leadership in the donor experience transformation world is purposeful in its approach to creating a long term sustainable change.
- Employees are not expected to conform as much as they are expected to be involved and engaged.
- Key leverage teams are the middle managers and not the frontline employees.
- Transformation is the primary mission of the donor experience executive.
- What this is about is really a change in the culture and ultimately the soul of the nonprofit.
- Beyond changing the culture (a people issue), processes need to be aligned to support digital transformation.
- Discipline is the key.
- Begin with the end in mind.
- Executive leadership commitment and buy in is essential.
- Donor facing employees will win the battle.
- One obstacle to overcome is the amount of time devoted to learning.