Why Donors Expectations Are On The Rise

Donors expect your every direct mail letter to be perfectly personalized.  They expect your special events to begin precisely on time, to last just long enough (but not too long!), to be inspiring and engaging.  They expect to receive a gift receipt before the ink dries on their electronic check.  They expect your website to be easy to navigate and viewable on mobile devices.  They expect your institution to raise large sums of money without spending much.

And, no, you are not imaging things – these expectations grow more demanding with each passing day.  Our donors expect more from us today than they did yesterday.

Why is this?

The answer, really, is simple.  It’s because of you.  And, it’s because of me, too.  It’s because of all of us.

I rarely shop in an actual “bricks and mortar” store any more.  I go to Amazon or a hundred other stores online.  And you do too.  And so do all your colleagues and neighbors.  It’s far more convenient, faster, in many cases cheaper.

Additionally, these online stores keep track of my preferences and personalize my experience by directing me to the types of items or services I might have an interest in learning more about.  These are the same reasons why I bank online, sometimes give online, and order my wife flowers online.

We all demand faster, easier, more personalized, less expensive, higher quality, better service, etc.  We all demand it from the organizations with which we engage.  We can download and begin reading a book we heard about on CNN at 11:30pm while sitting on the couch in our pajamas!  Takes about 1 minute.  And it’s cheaper than going to your local bookstore.

Of course, all this personalization, ease, less expense, and better quality is great when we are the consumer.  Not so great when we are the provider.  We  can’t have it both ways when representing our institutions to donors.  They have high expectations of us. . . and so would you.


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