Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia

YOU, the customer service focused fundraiser

In Uncategorized on November 27, 2012 at 3:25 pm

YOU’ve seen the images: customers lined up in the dark, cold, early hours after Thanksgiving, fighting for a good deal at a big box store. YOU’ve seen the ads, filling you inbox with giant text about the deals YOU can save online the Monday after Thanksgiving. “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday” have become titled days focused on shopping in the United States, but more and more, also here in Canada. And now, there is another day to add to the sequence: “Giving Tuesday.”

Giving Tuesday’s goal is to have “charities, families, businesses and individuals come together to transform the way people think about, talk about and participate in the giving season. Find a way for your family, your community, your company or your organization to join in acts of giving. Tell everyone you can about what you are doing and why it matters.” The creative behind it stems from the fact that in the United States, Thanksgiving has become less about spending time reflecting on what YOU have and more on what can be bought in the coming days. And while Canada celebrated Thanksgiving last month, we have focused a lot of time in the past few years building “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday” into our vernacular. And I don’t think “Giving Tuesday” should be any different.

As a fundraiser there are things we can learn from ‘Black Friday” and ‘Cyber Monday” that can help YOU as YOU kick off the giving season/plan for next year:

1. Take a moment to look at what companies do to promote/advertise. Notice the advance notice, social media campaign and directness they use to sell YOU not products, but the notion that YOU want, need, to participate in these selling days. For customers – just like joining a fundraising walk – it is being a participant that is half the fun. They wait in line at 1 a.m. to go shopping, all the while tweeting about their experience! Do your event participants buy in to your event with as much passion? Why, why not?
– Are YOU building a campaign for your events? Participants are like customers, they want to be a part of something big; of something others are doing. Tell them in advance what is upcoming, give them tools that will help them share their participation and experience. For example during they lead up to our Walk event, we created Facebook timeline photos (sized to the right requirements) that participants could post to share their experience. At another event we created a Twitter hashtag and used it frequently before the event.

2. Look at how business’ treat their customers on these days. From free gifts, to free hot chocolate while you wait in line, customers are respected and thanked, for showing their passion, commitment, loyalty to a big box store. Do YOU do the same for your fundraising participants?
– Do YOU think of your participants as “customers/clients” in your organization? What thank YOU’s do YOU offer loyal participants? It could be free registration or swag. During wait times, registration lines, lulls in the program, do YOU send volunteers/staff/Board Members into the crowd to mingle/hand out stickers/say thank YOU? These may seem like small things, but they will show how grateful YOU are of supporters who have taken the time to give to YOU.

3. At the bottom of a lot of “Black Friday” receipts, customers are asked to give their feedback. And during web surfing on “Cyber Monday” surveys pop up or are emailed, asking about the customers experience. Why? Because business’ want to know how to bring the customer back. And they don’t mean back next year for these days, they mean bring them back next month. Business’ have used tools already in place, for these tactics. And customers feel appreciated for being asked (and sometime receive a discount/gift in return). Are YOU using tools you already have in place, to gather customer feedback?
– Have YOU set up a Facebook page, happy to start receiving analytics, but turned your back on a “Facebook Group”? Social media is a wonderful tool for communicating – if used properly. Have open discussions between participants, post questions about the event in public to gather feedback.
-Are YOU using your tax receipt process to the best of your fundraising abilities? Our staff had a brainstorming session a few years ago, when our Donations Coordinator turned to Fund Development and said, “YOU know, I send out a lot of receipts, why don’t YOU include something in that envelope?” How easy is that? A survey to registrants, or a thank YOU with a link to a survey. It costs us nothing extra and our fundraising participants get to be a part of the planning of an event we know they enjoy, and hopefully feel so engrained with, they come back as repeat participants.

Today in my inbox there were more than a few “Heldover from Cyber Monday” emails, as business’ continue to reach out to me the customer, to participate in “Cyber Monday.” Which for a change, is corporations learning from the philanthropy world; “Giving Tuesday” we are lucky enough to say, isn’t a one-day, mass communicated, discounted items for sale, Marketing ploy. It’s our way of living: learn more from the promotion of “Giving Tuesday” but live it whenever you can.

Thank YOU to all those who participate in not just giving today, but all year round. YOU make organizations, your community and the lives of so many, better because of your participation in Philanthropy. And that is a feeling, that YOU can’t buy off the shelf.



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