HeroinGoldI woke up today to two emails that got me thinking about how we, as fundraisers, work with donors and prospects.

The first was from Chris Brogan (@ChrisBrogan, Human Business Works). He puts out a Sunday Newsletter. I enjoy reflecting on this ideas as they all begin with relationships, which I know are the at the root of every interaction.

Chris started with the model of servant leadership and then moved to outline his concept of “service craftsmanship.”

“Everything works better if you consider yourself to be operating in service of others. If your buyer believes that he or she actually matters, then he or she will likely respond with loyalty. If you have an issue, but have acted with service in mind, a resolution will work better. If your service mindset is end-to-end, people will know how to work to resolve their challenges faster. People will complain less, overall, if service is your goal.”

The rewards of service craftsmanship are crucial when translated from “buyers” to donors and prospects. Loyalty will increase giving (current and future), boost advocacy, and amplify championing your charity’s impact in your community.

Chris outlined questions to consider, which I’ve reframed for the fundraiser’s lens:

1.)    Is it easy for my donor to reach me if he/she has a question?
2.)    Is my charity’s website or mobile site inviting? Will prospects or donors know what to do first? Do I guide them where they should go next? [Aside: Did you participate in Be Your Donor Day?]
3.)    Do I make my charity’s impact clear and understandable?
4.)    Am I doing my work to make my donor the hero?
5.)    Am I ready to commit to full satisfaction from my donor?

Good questions to ponder (and even share with your team) when thinking about the meaning of our fundraising work.

A few hours later came the email from Seth Godin. I love his daily nuggets; they give me food for thought. Today it was about performance; he wrote about how, in the industrial age, there were two measures of performance: good or bad.

“In the connection economy, the post-industrial age we’re moving into now, there are two other kinds of work worth mentioning:

remarkable performance is one that exceeds expectations so much that we talk about it… In just about every field, it’s possible to be remarkable, at least for a while, and thanks to the increasing number of connections between and among customers, remarkable work spreads your idea.

It’s difficult to be remarkable every day in every way, though, because expectations continue to rise. Which leads to a fourth category:

personal performance.

A good job is largely anonymous and forgotten (but still important). A personal job, on the other hand, is humanized. It brings us closer together. It might not be remarkable, but it stands out as memorable because (however briefly) the recipient of the work was touched by someone else. Often, remarkable work is personal too, but personal might just be enough for today.

The number one job of your charity is to create a better community or world. Your number one job is to engage, cultivate, solicit and steward donors to continue that impact. Service and performance dictate your success.

Are you working with your donors to ensure that the impact of your charity will continue?

How are you providing service to your donor that’s remarkable? That feels personal? That makes the donor the hero? Share your examples!

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