Let’s continue our discussion of a major problem for nonprofits in the second part of my special report. You may remember how I compared your organization to a gym that is eager to make prospective members feel special. But once those people become members, the gym looses interest in them and takes them for granted. Management feels like they’ve got a customer for life.
That is until a new gym opens in town. Then you start to see a mass exodus to the new place. Suddenly you may see the old gym get a bit of a face lift with things like balloons. New membership offers will be promoted as a way to pull in more members. But as a current member, you’re not getting anything new or better out of the situation. So why should you stay?
A lot of businesses treat their customers like gym members. Don’t forget the people who helped make your business what it is and instead only focus on getting new customers. People will stay loyal to a place that they feel cares about them. But if you take them for granted, they’ll run to the next new thing in town.
When was the last time you reached out to a longtime customer and told them that they are appreciated? Do you ever go to them for advice or guidance? Do you communicate with them about exciting products and services that are coming in the future or is your only contact with them, a monthly bill?
In this economy, relationships matter more than ever. If you treat your customers like a dumbbell, then don’t be surprised if they drop you. You’ll be guilty of “no sweat stupidity.” How often to you reach out to your donors? As a rule, it’s good to have at least seven, “touches,” with them every year. A touch can be defined as any contact, including a newsletter, a phone call, a meeting, or social marketing.
The nice thing about social media is that it’s a low cost way to stay in touch with your donors. It’s also not very intrusive which can work well for those donors who want to know more about your organization but don’t like phone calls or meetings. Even if they just read the headlines, they’ll believe that your information is a sign that you’re continuing to do good work in your community. You can use Twitter to keep them in the loop on other developments in your area of expertise.
At a time when printing and mailing newsletters can be very expensive, why not consider shifting some of that outreach to social media sites like YouTube, Facebook, and blogs?Of course you may want to continue doing things the way you always have. That’s fine but don’t expect your competition to do the same.