Blog Archives

Donor loyalty bibliography


dogThose of you who regularly follow this blog know that every post in May 2014 was dedicated to the idea of how non-profit organizations build loyalty among various stakeholder groups (e.g. donors, board members, staff, volunteers, clients, etc). All of those posts culminated yesterday when DonorDreams blog hosted this month’s Nonprofit Blog Carnival. The theme for the carnival was “Letting the Nonprofit Sector Go to the Dogs.”

This morning I realized that the month of May isn’t over yet and found myself faced with the following decisions while plodding away on the treadmill:

  1. Skip today’s post and let readers continue feasting on a ton of content left over from yesterday’s Nonprofit Blog Carnival
  2. Write one more post on loyalty
  3. Pretend that it is June and push forward with new topics

While it was tempting to skip a day, I ultimately decided to stay the course with one more post about building loyalty.

Instead of pontificating on the subject, it dawned on me that in all of my reading on the subject of loyalty there are always beefy bibliography sections and references. So, I decided to toss a bone to those of you who are thirsty for more reading on this subject by publishing some of the more interesting written and online references and tools (in a few cases the reources are books and the link points you to amazon.com).

dog2Enjoy the reading!

Have you read something recently on the subject of building loyalty hat your fellow non-profit peers might benefit from reading? If so, please use the comment box below to share that resource and point us in the right direction.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this month’s focus on building loyalty including the big build up to the May 2014 Nonprofit Blog Carnival.

Here’s to your health!

Erik Anderson
Founder & President, The Healthy Non-Profit LLC
www.thehealthynonprofit.com 
erik@thehealthynonprofit.com
http://twitter.com/#!/eanderson847
http://www.facebook.com/eanderson847
http://www.linkedin.com/in/erikanderson847

May 2014 Nonprofit Blog Carnival


May 2014 nonprofit carnival logoWelcome to the May 2014 Nonprofit Blog Carnival. This month’s theme was “Letting the non-profit sector go to the dogs,” and we asked bloggers to focus on how non-profit agencies can build loyalty among any number of stakeholder groups such as donors, staff, board members, volunteers, etc.

Bloggers were given extra special bonus points if they were able to weave into their post something about dogs.

Why dogs?

I think the American author, Jack London, summed it up best when he said:

A bone to the dog is not charity. Charity is the bone shared with the dog, when you are just as hungry as the dog.”

Is that quotation a bit esoteric for your tastes?

Then ask yourself this question: “Is there anything more loyal in this world than a dog?” If your answer is NO, then perhaps the non-profit sector can learn a thing or two about loyalty from our canine companions.

Enjoy this month’s carnival and please feel free to weigh-in with anything your agency is doing to build loyalty in the comment section below.

2011-12-25_22-08-07_863Donor loyalty & fundraising

  • Joanne Fritz talks about her granddogs, Mia and Sophie, in her post titled “Who’s bored? Probably not your donors” at about.com. Perhaps, Mia and Sophie can teach fundraising professionals a thing or two about the value of routine.
  • Ken Goldstein explains in The Nonprofit Consultant Blog that times have changed and donor loyalty isn’t as simplistic as a dog’s love of its owner. In his post “Are You Treating Your Cats Like Dogs?” he talks about information preferences, method preferences, and campaign preferences. As you may have guessed already, Ken is a “cat person.”
  • Claire Axelrad asks in her blog Clairification, “How to build donor loyalty and take puppy love to forever love?” in a post she titled “Just Puppy Love? 4 Ways Nothing Beats It When It Comes to Donors
  • Heather Stewart is a first time entrant to the Nonprofit Blog Carnival and is a blogger at Activate Fundraising in Scotland.  Her post — “What would Murdo do?” — has her 1-year-old Cockapoo take readers through the steps associated with building donor loyalty (e.g. clarity, relationship-building and engagement).
  • Arroyo Fundraising Fluency blog published “What I Learned From My Dog About Donor Loyalty.” This post lists 4 “lessons” from Kathie Kramer Ryan’s dog, Charles, and how these lessons can inform our work with donors. If we want donors to be loyal to our organizations, we need to be loyal to them.
  • Ann Greene’s Nonprofit Blog submission was “What Dogs Can Teach Us About Donor Loyalty.” Ann’s post is a little different from the others in this section. She suggests that we can learn something about donor loyalty from dogs, such as they are always excited to see us and provide unconditional love, but they also need a lot of attention and consistency.
  • Pamela Grow’s blog features an amazingly cute shepherd-poodle-terrier mix named Enzo. Her post is titled “Fundraising lessons from Enzo” and you need to read to the very end of the post to learn what the most effective fundraising professionals understand and practice every single day.
  • Lori Halley writes the always clever and informative Wild Apricot Blog (and she is hosting the June 2014 Nonprofit Blog Carnival). Her post — “The Low Down on Donor Loyalty” highlights her adorable dog, Teddy, and answers this interesting question: “What do loyalty programs and non-profits have in common?
  • Lance Leasure writes for Orange Gerbera blog and asked in a recent post “Are your donors as loyal as a dog?”  Lance includes his 13-year-old blind dog — Punch —  in his post. I just didn’t have the heart to exclude a geriatric blind dog from this month’s Nonprofit Blog Carnival. Besides, Lance offered a number of nice tips to non-profits on how to build donor loyalty. Nice job Punch (and Lance)!

BetrysStaff loyalty

  • Stephanie Arcella published “Don’t Forget Your Biggest Asset — Cultivating Loyalty in Your Employees” at Take Two blog.  Good, loyal, hardworking talent is difficult to find. With limited salary capacity, nonprofits are bound to lose their best talent if they don’t actively cultivate long term commitments from staff. Stephanie offers four awesome tips that you will likely find very manageable.

Your constituents and clients

2011-12-20_06-20-05_687Brand loyalty, marketing & social media

  • Our friends at Double the Donation blog wrote “Nonprofits — How to Use Social Media to Build Donor Loyalty.” This post focuses on how nonprofits can use social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn) to increase loyalty among their constituents (individual donors, corporate partners, and volunteers). Their suggestions include publicly recognizing donors, providing relevant stories, and asking questions!
  • J Campbell Social Media blog penned “10 Ways to Build Loyalty Among Your Online Community Members.” Julia Campbell writes that nonprofit social media campaigns are still focused on the numbers game (e.g. collecting the most Likes on Facebook, the most Twitter and Pinterest followers and the most views on YouTube). She poses the question: “Instead of focusing on growing your social media numbers, how about focusing on building loyalty – retaining engaging the fans/followers that you do have?
  • Douglas Gould and Company blogged recently “Media’s Best Friend (Communications Professionals)” and talked about pitching, fetching and blog outreach.
  • Joe Garecht wrote “How to Build Brand Loyalty for Your Nonprofit” at The Fundraising Authority blog. Towards the end of this post, Joe does an awesome job of highlighting brand loyalty fundamentals (e.g. consistent imagery, emotional connections, etc).


Stories from the front line
 

IMG_20140223_093758856At DonorDreams blog, I dedicated the entire month of May to this month’s Nonprofit Blog Carnival theme of loyalty.

Instead of pontificating like a consultant (it is an occupational hazard at times), I interviewed former clients and other non-profit friends about what they are doing to build loyalty with a variety of their different stakeholder groups.

Please click-through any of the following non-profit agencies’ stories and you might learn something from your peers:

I hope you enjoyed this month’s Nonprofit Blog Carnival submissions. I don’t know about you, but I think Saint Basil hit the nail on the head when he said:

Does not the gratitude of the dog put to shame any man who is ungrateful to his benefactors?

Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comment box below. We can all learn from each other, which is what the Nonprofit Blog Carnival is all about.

Next month’s Nonprofit Blog Carnival

Lori Halley at Wild Apricot blog will be next months host the next Nonprofit Blog Carnival. The theme will be “Nonprofit Inspiration and Innovation.” 

Click here for more details and how to submit your blog entry for consideration in June 2014.

As I say at the end of all my blog posts . . .

Here’s to your health!

Erik Anderson
Founder & President, The Healthy Non-Profit LLC
www.thehealthynonprofit.com 
erik@thehealthynonprofit.com
http://twitter.com/#!/eanderson847
http://www.facebook.com/eanderson847
http://www.linkedin.com/in/erikanderson847

 

Advice from a fundraising professional on how to build donor loyalty


In case you haven’t heard, DonorDreams blog is hosting for the second year in a row the Nonprofit Blog Carnival in the month of May. This year’s theme revolves around building loyalty among various non-profit stakeholder groups such as donors, employees, volunteers, etc. If you are a blogger and looking for the “Call for Submissions,” then click here. The carnival will be posted right here at DonorDreams blog on Wednesday, May 28, 2014(aka tomorrow). Stay tuned!

In the interest of building momentum, we’ve dedicated the entire month of blog posts to this topic. We’re specifically focusing on what a variety of non-profit organizations are doing (or are looking at doing) to build loyalty.

glenwood academyWhen I decided to ask local non-profit organizations to use my blog platform to talk about some aspect of building loyalty with a particular stakeholder group, I sent out a ton of email and social media requests to former clients and friends asking them to consent to an interview or send me something in writing.

The following is something I received from a former co-worker who currently works as the Vice President of Development at Glenwood Academy. Her name is Michele Wysoglad and she talks about their experiences with building donor loyalty.

“Loyalty is grown through being good stewards of the organization’s mission. If the mission/strategic objectives of the non-profit is not being fulfilled then loyalty is tested. The Board, donors, staff, etc. may question their involvement and loyalty to the institution.

One of the ways we develop a loyalty strategy (even though we have a faithful group of donors) is by providing good stewardship through information sharing on a regular basis.

Communication touch points through a stewardship plan is key but so is sharing how we are being good stewards of their dollars through face-to-face interactions and calls.

Providing high-quality data and testimonials are also ways to retain and increase the loyalty of all constituents.”

If you are looking for online resources on how to improve or refresh your donor stewardship strategies and tactics, then you may want to investigate some of these online resources:

 =================================

If you want to learn more about what other non-profit organizations are doing to build loyalty among various stakeholder groups (e.g. donors, employees, volunteers, etc), then tune in here to DonorDreams blog every Tuesday and Thursday throughout the month of May. We will also publish the Nonprofit Blog Carnival on May 28, 2014 (aka tomorrow) with a number of links to other non-profit bloggers who are talking about loyalty related themes.

Here’s to your health!

Erik Anderson
Founder & President, The Healthy Non-Profit LLC
www.thehealthynonprofit.com 
erik@thehealthynonprofit.com
http://twitter.com/#!/eanderson847
http://www.facebook.com/eanderson847
http://www.linkedin.com/in/erikanderson847

Advice from a non-profit CEO on how to build staff loyalty


In case you haven’t heard, DonorDreams blog is hosting for the second year in a row the Nonprofit Blog Carnival in the month of May. This year’s theme revolves around building loyalty among various non-profit stakeholder groups such as donors, employees, volunteers, etc. If you are a blogger and looking for the “Call for Submissions,” then click here. The carnival will be posted right here at DonorDreams blog on Wednesday, May 28, 2014. Stay tuned!

In the interest of building momentum, we’ve dedicated the entire month of blog posts to this topic. We’re specifically focusing on what a variety of non-profit organizations are doing (or are looking at doing) to build loyalty.

adviceWhen I decided to ask local non-profit organizations to use my blog platform to talk about some aspect of building loyalty with a particular stakeholder group, I sent out a ton of email requests to former clients asking them to consent to an interview or send me something in writing.

The following is a letter from a former client talking about their experiences with building staff loyalty. I didn’t secure permission to use their name. So, I edited their submission to protect their identity.

Dear Erik:

I think it (building loyalty) starts with choosing the right people. Some people have the capacity or desire to be loyal in the right circumstances. If you choose someone who is not wired in that way, nothing you do will make it happen.

Once you have that kind of a person on staff, you have to provide them with something to be loyal to. 

One of my big foundations — and I think it is key with younger employees — is work flexibility.  I let them:

  • set their schedules
  • take time when they need
  • don’t require a 1-for-1

I find that I get back more than I give and have people who are willing to work on the odd weekend, can be counted on putting in extra time, etc.

 If there are opportunities to make extra money (e.g. by working a rental event, etc), I never take it unless no one else wants it. That way, staff have the opportunity. 

I support my staff in all their decisions, always assume that they have made a decision in what they believe to be the best interest of our agency, and try to use mistakes as teachable moments.  I rarely get mad with staff as I find it to be a pointless waste of emotion on both sides. They are usually much harder on themselves than I would be, and they don’t need me adding to their burden.  If I have to countermand a decision they have made (which is extremely rare), I do it in private and make sure everyone knows I support my staff but just feel like they made a poor decision that one time.

I try to share lessons I have learned with my staff and help them benefit both from those lessons as well as from learning the process of working through making a decision. 

I make them treats, cook them breakfast, make them take time-off when they need, and get them cups of coffee when they are running on empty. 

I try very hard not to share issues or difficulties in my life as it is my job to help them, not theirs to provide “counseling” for me.  At all times, I try and keep in mind that I have more of a choice about whether to lay my “stuff” on them than they may feel they have to listen to it or not.

 By the same token, I have become a lot less tolerant of new employees who do not share our values or ethics and try and weed them out before they upset the balance of our little apple cart. 

I try and let my employees know how much I appreciate them, be there with the difficulties they have, and participate in all the nasty parts as well as the good parts of everything we go through. 

I try and make less work for them rather than increasing it.

Sincerely,

BW

Thanks for sharing, BW. You obviously work very hard at building staff loyalty and have put lots of thought into your strategies.

 =================================

If you want to learn more about what other non-profit organizations are doing to build loyalty among various stakeholder groups (e.g. donors, employees, volunteers, etc), then tune in here to DonorDreams blog every Tuesday and Thursday throughout the month of May. We will also publish the Nonprofit Blog Carnival on May 28, 2014 with a number of links to other non-profit bloggers who are talking about loyalty related themes.

Here’s to your health!

Erik Anderson
Founder & President, The Healthy Non-Profit LLC
www.thehealthynonprofit.com 
erik@thehealthynonprofit.com
http://twitter.com/#!/eanderson847
http://www.facebook.com/eanderson847
http://www.linkedin.com/in/erikanderson847

Building loyalty is like the “circle of life” with no beginning or end


In case you haven’t heard, DonorDreams blog is hosting for the second year in a row the Nonprofit Blog Carnival in the month of May. This year’s theme revolves around building loyalty among various non-profit stakeholder groups such as donors, employees, volunteers, etc. If you are a blogger and looking for the “Call for Submissions,” then click here. The carnival will be posted right here at DonorDreams blog on Wednesday, May 28, 2014. Stay tuned!

In the interest of building momentum, we’ve dedicated the entire month of blog posts to this topic. We’re specifically focusing on what a variety of non-profit organizations are doing (or are looking at doing) to build loyalty.

Staff-Kids-Volunteers-Donors:
Rinse. Lather.Repeat.
Boys & Girls Club of El Paso

BGC El PasoArt Jaime is the Chief Professional Officer of the Boys & Girls Clubs of El Paso, and he sees the challenges of building loyalty to his non-profit organization as an interconnected ecosystem of staff, kids, board members and donors. He points out that loyalty-based management is a simple concept, but it is something that is very difficult to achieve.

Here is a simplified version of how Art sees his interconnected world:

  • Hire and retain quality youth development professionals who are likable
  • Kids attend the Club because of their relationships with staff
  • Increased frequency of participation deepens the impact of programming which drives outcomes data
  • Good outcomes and impact data inspires board volunteers and provides confidence in talking to donors about the Club’s case for support
  • Good outcomes data creates great relationships with foundations and government agencies and contributes to a vibrant grant writing program
  • Long-term board volunteer relationships (who are consistently sharing awesome success stories from the frontline) with individual donors makes for happy, recurring investors in the Club’s mission

art jaimeIt all ties together,” explains Jaime. “The big challenge is creating a culture that appreciates and strives to create loyalty.”

So, how is Art trying to build an organizational culture of loyalty? He isn’t trying to over think it, and he is starting with things he can easily do. The following are just a few examples:

  • engaging stakeholders in a variety of planning activities
  • modeling loyalty in every day activities
  • recognizing staff
  • thanking and stewarding donors
  • trying to spend more one-on-one time with board volunteers
  • seeking advice and feedback from a variety of stakeholders

Frederick Reichheld is the author of “The Loyalty Effect” and one of thought-leaders on the importance of loyalty-based management. It is amazing how Art’s observations on the interconnectedness of it all is spot on with Reichheld’s words found on page 22:

If we think of businesses as atoms, with customers, employees, and investors as their subatomic particles, then we will study the way those basic components interact to create higher levels of stability and value creation.

Congratulations, Art. I think you are on the right path!

 =================================

If you want to learn more about what other non-profit organizations are doing to build loyalty among various stakeholder groups (e.g. donors, employees, volunteers, etc), then tune in here to DonorDreams blog every Tuesday and Thursday throughout the month of May. We will also publish the Nonprofit Blog Carnival on May 28, 2014 with a number of links to other non-profit bloggers who are talking about loyalty related themes.

Here’s to your health!

Erik Anderson
Founder & President, The Healthy Non-Profit LLC
www.thehealthynonprofit.com 
erik@thehealthynonprofit.com
http://twitter.com/#!/eanderson847
http://www.facebook.com/eanderson847
http://www.linkedin.com/in/erikanderson847

Building staff loyalty means engaging in conversation


In case you haven’t heard, DonorDreams blog is hosting for the second year in a row the Nonprofit Blog Carnival in the month of May. This year’s theme revolves around building loyalty among various non-profit stakeholder groups such as donors, employees, volunteers, etc. If you are a blogger and looking for the “Call for Submissions,” then click here. The carnival will be posted right here at DonorDreams blog on Wednesday, May 28, 2014. Stay tuned!

In the interest of building momentum, we’ve dedicated the entire month of blog posts to this topic. We’re specifically focusing on what a variety of non-profit organizations are doing (or are looking at doing) to build loyalty.

All-staff meeting results in health care discussion
Vietnamese Association of Illinois

vietnamese associationThe idea of how to build loyalty has bubbled into all sorts of conversations with my non-profit friends this month. Just last week I met my old friend and current President & CEO of the Vietnamese Association of Illinois, Paul Luu,  for a delicious lunch at Tank Noodle in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood. After ordering hot tea and pho, we started talking about his one year anniversary as the top dog at his agency. Quickly, our discussion turned to the topic of loyalty.

When the conversation turned to Paul’s staff, he got very excited and started talking about the quarterly meetings his agency hosts where every employee is invited and encouraged to attend. At these meetings, a wide variety of activities occur. The following are just a few examples of things that have ended up on quarterly all-staff meeting agendas:

  • trainings
  • updates from upper management and board members about the state of the agency
  • Q&A with the President & CEO

Recently, it was brought to Paul’s attention at one of the quarterly all-staff meetings that employees were struggling with health insurance issues. These struggles were going to become more pronounced with the IRS poised to enforce the Individual Mandate of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

loyaltyUnderstanding that it isn’t enough to just give the staff a forum, Paul and the board of directors listened and developed a plan of action to help employees with their healthcare challenges.

  • ACA navigators attended future all-staff meetings to work with employees
  • healthcare became a priority and repeatedly talked about in internal communication vehicles
  • the agency found funding to help underwrite some of the costs associated with giving employees a healthcare stipend

Why did the agency go to great lengths to meet their staff halfway on the healthcare question? Paul explained it as follows:

“Our staff is talented and could go to work for any number of other social service non-profit agencies throughout the city. We understand that we are only as good as our staff and the services they provide our clients. While we don’t have endless financial resources, we owed it to our employees to engage in a discussion that was very important and collaborate with them on working through the problem until an acceptable solution was found.”

As I heard Paul talk about this situation — one with which he and the board are obviously very happy — I couldn’t help but think about what Peter Drucker once said:

“All organizations now say routinely, ‘People are our greatest asset.’ Yet few practice what they preach, let alone truly believe it. Most still believe, though perhaps not consciously, what nineteenth century employers believe: people need us more than we need them. But, in fact, organizations have to market membership as much as they market products and services — and perhaps more. They have to attract people, hold people, recognize and reward people, motivate people, and serve and satisfy people.”

I believe that Paul and the Vietnamese Association of Illinois just put a huge down payment down on something called employee loyalty because they gave their staff a forum; they listened; they collaborated; and they acted.

I think Peter Drucker, Frederrich Reichheld and all of the other loyalty thought leaders would be very proud of this non-profit organization.

 =================================

If you want to learn more about what other non-profit organizations are doing to build loyalty among various stakeholder groups (e.g. donors, employees, volunteers, etc), then tune in here to DonorDreams blog every Tuesday and Thursday throughout the month of May. We will also publish the Nonprofit Blog Carnival on May 28, 2014 with a number of links to other non-profit bloggers who are talking about loyalty related themes.

Here’s to your health!

Erik Anderson
Founder & President, The Healthy Non-Profit LLC
www.thehealthynonprofit.com 
erik@thehealthynonprofit.com
http://twitter.com/#!/eanderson847
http://www.facebook.com/eanderson847
http://www.linkedin.com/in/erikanderson847

Membership organizations know a lot about building loyalty


In case you haven’t heard, DonorDreams blog is hosting for the second year in a row the Nonprofit Blog Carnival in the month of May. This year’s theme revolves around building loyalty among various non-profit stakeholder groups such as donors, employees, volunteers, etc. If you are a blogger and looking for the “Call for Submissions,” then click here. The carnival will be posted right here at DonorDreams blog on Wednesday, May 28, 2014. Stay tuned!

In the interest of building momentum, we’ve dedicated the entire month of blog posts to this topic. We’re specifically focusing on what a variety of non-profit organizations are doing (or are looking at doing) to build loyalty.

Serving people’s interests inspires loyalty
Elgin Area Chamber of Commerce

elgin chamberNot all non-profit organizations are the same. Social service agency are different from arts organizations, and colleges/universities have different wrinkles than churches. However, the differences in many cases are slight and everyone can always learn from each other if they just look hard enough for the teachable moment. So, it didn’t come as a surprise to me that I learned a lot about how to build loyalty from Carol Gieske, President of the Elgin Area Chamber of Commerce, a few weeks ago.

Unlike other non-profit organizations, membership-driven organizations need to focus on building loyalty because without members to serve there is no need to keep the doors open.

In the time that Carol and I sat down to chat, she shared two great strategies that any non-profit organization can use to help build loyalty.

Planning

Everyone does it because as the old expression goes:

If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail.”

planningEvery good planning process begins with some form of evaluation. It could look like a SWOT analysis. It could be significantly more intensive and involve going through an accreditation process. Regardless of what evaluation process you use, good planning starts with evaluation because it is difficult to figure out where you want to go if you don’t know where you are currently.

After establishing what “Point A” looks like, the planning process usually involves engaging in discussions focused on:

  • mission
  • shared vision
  • shared values
  • goals
  • strategies
  • tactics / action steps

While talking about strategic planning with Carol, she made the point that involving her chamber members in the planning process is critical to building loyalty. Why? Because when members participate in planning, they have buy-in to where the chamber is going. And when members buy-in and the ideas on the page are theirs, then they are more likely to roll up their sleeves and stay engaged.

Affinity groups

elgin leadership academyAnother loyalty strategy upon which Carol and the chamber of commerce focus is affinity groups. While this term takes on many different meanings, in chamber circles it simply involves bring like-minded people together to talk about their similar interests. The following are a few examples of affinity groups:

  • entrepreneurs who are in the process of opening new businesses in town
  • non-profit organizations
  • manufacturers
  • restaurant owners

You might be wondering how is this a loyalty strategy?

On the surface, this is simply a perk of membership for people who join chambers. So, giving customers what they want (and doing so with quality) naturally builds loyalty.

However, it goes a little deeper than just giving people what they demand in the marketplace.

When you place your agency at the center of a relationship building exercise and do a good job facilitating it, affinity group participants do more than just build relationships with each other. They also end up building a last relationship with you.

Members — in fact any stakeholder group — become more loyal to your agency as the strength and depth of your relationship increases. This is one of the reasons we hold staff meetings, develop donor recognition societies, host client focus groups, etc.

 =================================

If you want to learn more about what other non-profit organizations are doing to build loyalty among various stakeholder groups (e.g. donors, employees, volunteers, etc), then tune in here to DonorDreams blog every Tuesday and Thursday throughout the month of May. We will also publish the Nonprofit Blog Carnival on May 28, 2014 with a number of links to other non-profit bloggers who are talking about loyalty related themes.

Here’s to your health!

Erik Anderson
Founder & President, The Healthy Non-Profit LLC
www.thehealthynonprofit.com 
erik@thehealthynonprofit.com
http://twitter.com/#!/eanderson847
http://www.facebook.com/eanderson847
http://www.linkedin.com/in/erikanderson847

 

Nonprofit Blog Carnival call for submissions: Letting the non-profit sector go to the dogs


Betrys3Approximately 14 years ago, I was a young and eager executive director of a non-profit organization in Elgin, Illinois. While I had already worked in a number of different capacities in the non-profit sector, it was the first time I had held the job of “executive director.” Thinking back to that time in my life is where I pull my inspiration for the May 2014 Nonprofit Blog Carnival.

As a new executive director, everything was new and there were days I found my head spinning, especially when I thought about which metrics and indicators I needed to watch with regard to my agency’s health.

However, I very clearly remember the day when all of that stopped. It happened after a Board Development committee meeting, and one of my board members pulled me aside. He asked me how things were going.

We talked about the organization’s health and how I knew what I thought I knew. It was at that moment he decided to play Oprah and pointed me in the direction of the following two books written by Frederick Reichheld:

Just to give you a small taste of what these two books are all about, here is a short quote from chapter one of “The Loyalty Effect“:

“. . . businesses that concentrate on finding and keeping good customers, productive employees, and supportive investors continue to generate superior results. Loyalty is by no means dead. It remains one of the great engines of business success. In fact, the principles of loyalty — and the business strategy we call loyalty-based management — are alive and well at the heart of every company with an enduring record of high productivity, solid profits, and steady expansion.”

Not to be too dramatic, but that informal book club assignment changed my point of view on all things pertaining to the non-profit sector. After reading those books, my personal non-profit management litmus test usually centered around this simple question:

“What would Betrys do?”

As you’ve probably guessed, Betrys is our 13-year-old Welch Terrier who is featured in all of the pictures you see in this blog post.

This brings me to the May 2014 Nonprofit Blog Carnival . . .

With all of the talk about donor loyalty in recent years, I thought dedicating an entire Nonprofit Blog Carnival theme to the broader idea of LOYALTY might be fun.

So, calling all bloggers!  Please write and submit a post this month focused on how non-profit organizations can and should be building loyalty among any of the following stakeholder groups:

  • donors
  • employees
  • volunteers
  • board members
  • social media networks

If you can identify another type of stakeholder group with which you believe a non-profit organization needs to build loyalty, then please feel free to blog about that, too. This is intentionally a broad topic. Feel free to get creative. All I ask is that you include in your blog post strategic or tactical suggestions on how to build loyalty so that our collective readership can walk away from our content with lots of new ideas.

To help get into the spirit, I will dedicate all of the content at DonorDreams blog in May 2014 to the idea of building loyalty.

Betrys1But wait . . . there is more!

If you couldn’t tell from the title of this post, I am a dog lover. Is there anyone or anything in this world that embodies LOYALTY more than dogs?

At the end of the month, there will be difficult decisions made about which submissions get published and which ones end up on the cutting room floor. If you can incorporate some reference to the canine community in your Nonprofit Blog Carnival submission, then you will get bonus points.  🙂

So, I’m sure some of you are wondering what I mean.  

A reference to the canine community could be as simple as working your dog (or someone else’s famous dog like Spuds MacKenzie, Snoopy or Lassie) into your post. It could be more complicated like the time when John Greco centered an entire organizational development blog post titled “Puppy Perspective” around his dogs.

Good luck and regardless of whether or not you get a dog into your post, please have some fun with this month’s carnival!

Betrys2How to submit your work for consideration?

You are welcome to write your blog post anytime during the month of May (or even submit a post you may have previously published); however, I must receive your submission by the end of the day on Monday, May 26, 2014:

How do you submit? Simply email the following information to nonprofitcarnival[at]gmail[dot]com:

  • Your name
  • The URL of your post
  • A two of three sentence summary of your post

We will publish the May 2014 Nonprofit Blog Carnival on Wednesday, May 28, 2014 right here at DonorDreams blog.

Go visit April’s Nonprofit Blog Carnival

In April, the carnival was hosted by Nancy Schwartz at ” her blog — Getting Attention!”  The theme was “The Work Behind Your Work: Your Methods and Wants for Nonprofit Blog Carnival“. She asked bloggers to consider the following questions:

  • the methods and tools you use to stay focused, productive and happy on the job
  • or the barrier that keeps you from getting there

If you’re interested in reading what some very smart and talented bloggers had to say about this Nonprofit Blog Carnival theme, click here.

Betrys4Miscellaneous details?

Click here to learn more about the Nonprofit Blog Carnival. If you want to view the archives, then you want to click here.

Do you want to become a “Friend of the Carnival” and receive email blasts twice a month with reminders about the Carnival? Click here if you want to receive those reminders.

In a tip of my hat to the Nonprofit Blog Carnival that I hosted last May, I leave you with this Dr. Seuss-inspired quotation to inspire your much anticipated submission:

“You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go . . .”

I am very much looking forward to see what you decide to do and where you decide to take this month’s Nonprofit Blog Carnival.

Here’s to your health!

Erik Anderson
Founder & President, The Healthy Non-Profit LLC
www.thehealthynonprofit.com 
erik@thehealthynonprofit.com
http://twitter.com/#!/eanderson847
http://www.facebook.com/eanderson847
http://www.linkedin.com/in/erikanderson847

Does your non-profit put its employees first?


peoplefirst1Welcome to O.D. Fridays at DonorDreams blog. Every Friday for the foreseeable future we will be looking at posts from John Greco’s blog called “johnponders ~ about life at work, mostly” and applying his organizational development messages to the non-profit community.

In a post titled “People-Service-Profit,” John talks about the impact that Federal Express’ corporate philosophy of People-Service-Profit has on it employees . . .  which in turn has an effect on customer service and loyalty . . . which ultimately is reflected on the bottom line in profit

When reading John’s blog post this week, I immediately had two thoughts, which I will address below in two different sections.

Non-profit culture

People who work for non-profit organizations are different. In my experience, they aren’t motivated by the same things as their for-profit counterparts.  Here are just a few examples of what I’ve seen people on the frontline of the non-profit sector do:

  • They often agree to work for less money than they otherwise might earn working in the for-profit sector.
  • I’ve seen non-profit employees work longer hours than they’re asked (or authorized to do). I’ve even seen hourly employees fudge their timesheet in order to avoid overtime (e.g. they get in trouble for working unauthorized time . . . overtime isn’t part of most agency’s budgets).
  • I’ve seen program assistants purchasing supplies for their programs using their personal money because there isn’t enough agency funding to do so.

peoplefirst2The point I’m trying to make is that most non-profit organizations have built a culture that revolves around THE CLIENT. This focal point is so intense that ideas threatening to shift that focus are often seen as heresy.

While many people see a client-focused philosophy as altruistic, there can be a cost to this kind of corporate philosophy.

  • Low employee morale
  • Burnout
  • Cynicism
  • Poor staff cohesion

Another significant negative effect of this philosophy is “The Nonprofit Starvation Cycle”. I talked about this phenomenon in a previous “DonorDreams: O.D. Fridays” post on July 26, 2013 titled “Is your non-profit only living for today? Then you need Picasso!

In the Picasso post, I describe how senior leadership and board volunteers are blinded by the agency philosophy of CLIENT FIRST, which results in zero funding important organizational capacity building expenditures. The end result is a non-profit that has no capacity and starves itself out of business.

Heck, in yesterday’s post about budgeting, I confessed that when I was an executive director, my finance committee once convinced me to eliminate donor newsletters from the budget in order to balance it. Ugh . . . while this was done in the name of putting the CLIENT FIRST, the result was putting the donor second (which is the person who needs to see ROI on their investment if they are going to renew their support).  How did THAT make any sense?

So, let’s jump back to John’s post about company philosophy and FedEx.

If you are an executive director or someone who supervises staff, you should click-through and read the 10 bullet points located in the middle of John’s post. After reading those FedEx examples of how managers should treat their employees, I encourage you to complete the exercise described in the paragraph after the list.

It likely will be an eye-opening experience for you.

The Loyalty Effect

peoplefirst3I suspect many non-profit people who are reading today’s post are probably still not convinced that a CLIENT FIRST philosophy can be damaging.

More than a year ago, I wrote a week long blog series focused on “The Loyalty Effect: The Hidden Force Behind Growth, Profits, and Lasting Value,“ which is a book written by Frederich Reichheld. I mostly focused on translating some of his business themes into resource development messages.

However, one of Reichheld’s bigger points is how employee loyalty drives customer loyalty, which turns into profit on the bottom line.

If you are still one of those skeptics when it comes to this post, look at it from this perspective . . .

Many of your clients have “special relationships” with your staff. In fact, if you surveyed your clients, I suspect they would say they come to your agency primarily because of that relationship and secondarily because of your services. I know for a fact this was true for the kids using the programs at my former agency.

So, investing in your employees results in their retention and loyalty. This in turn keeps your customers coming back, which in turn drives impact and program results. When you communicate this impact (e.g. ROI) to donors, it improves your donor loyalty rates and you raise more money.

Please don’t misinterpret me here.

I am NOT suggesting you shouldn’t strive to make your clients happy and provide them with the best possible programming. However, I am saying  the non-profit sector needs to take a page out of FedEx’s book and figure out how to invest in its people. It will make a huge difference in so many different ways!

Putting your employees first IS putting your customers first because your employees will put the customer first especially if your organizational values drive them to do so.

If you have some time this morning, I also encourage you to jump in the “way back machine” and check out that six part blog series about donor loyalty as it relates to some of Reichheld’s loyalty principles:

Want to change? Where to start?

If this post has you thinking about creating a different company culture, you may want to check out a post by Inc.com titled “How to Create a Company Philosophy“. It is definitely worth the click!  😉

Did you click-through and read John’s 10 bullet points? If so, how well did your agency do? What are you doing to invest in your employees? Is your organization avoiding the starvation cycle? If so, how are you making the case for investments in capacity building? Have you ever correlated your employee turnover to client turnover to donor turnover? If so, what have you found? Please scroll down and share your thought and experiences in the comment box below.

Here’s to your health!

Erik Anderson
Founder & President, The Healthy Non-Profit LLC
www.thehealthynonprofit.com 
erik@thehealthynonprofit.com
http://twitter.com/#!/eanderson847
http://www.facebook.com/eanderson847
http://www.linkedin.com/in/erikanderson847

The big stewardship mistake


Oftentimes, I’ve been told by non-profit organizations that they have limited resources and cannot implement a donor-centered communication program to steward their donors. After trying hard not to roll my eyes, I find myself forcing a smile and encouraging them to segment their range of gifts (ROG) chart and get as personal as possible (e.g. handwritten notes, periodic phone calls, and a face-to-face visit or two) with their largest donors. This seems to work and it moves them in the right direction, however …

It was not the BEST advice I could have given them!

Penelope Burk says it best on page 111 of her book “Donor Centered Fundraising“:

“Which donors need the most diligent investment from you? The answer is the ones whose loyalty is not yet secure, the ones whose current affiliation with your not-for-profit may still be tenuous. And who are they? They are your first time donors, those new contributors who demonstrate the highest rate of attrition between the first gift and the next ask.”

So, if I could go back in time or hit the “do over” button, I would tell those non-profit and resource development professionals to get really personal with the top 10% or so of their ROG chart. The after taking a cleansing breath, I would double down and tell them to put together a special stewardship program for first time donors. And by special, I mean more than just the typical gift acknowledgement letter and flurry of newsletters. Here are just a few crazy ideas I’ve had:

  • Create a special Donor Recognition Society for first time donors with a bunch of special “courtesies”.
  • Host a special town hall meeting (b/c I just hate “open houses”) for first time donors to hear first hand, witness and participate in mission-oriented messages and activities. This should help them see exactly what they have invested in.
  • Develop a donor communications series aimed only at first time donors with testimonials from larger, very influential donors talking about their excitement about various ROI success stories and their sense of fulfillment as a donor.
  • Institute a policy that all first time donors get a phone call from a board volunteer somewhere between three and six months after a donor’s first contribution. This phone call should include ROI-based information as well as the offer to answer any questions the donor may have. It would also be a nice touch to ask the donor if there is any feedback they might have for the non-profit and if there is anything they might want to get involved in.
  • Host a quarterly focus group session with first time donors and report the results and findings back to all first time donors.

And the ideas can go on and on … what do you do to help retain first time donors? How successful have you been at retaining first time donors? Please feel free to add onto the list of ideas that I just started by using the comment section of this blog. We can all learn from each other.

Here is to your health!

Erik Anderson
Owner, The Healthy Non-Profit LLC
eanderson847@gmail.com
http://twitter.com/#!/eanderson847
http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/profile.php?id=1021153653
http://www.linkedin.com/in/erikanderson847
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