How Demanding is Your Customer?

How has your market changed in the last two years? I’ve spent the last several weeks meeting with several of my best clients, discussing with them how their markets have changed. It’s interesting because these clients are large nonprofit organizations that are leaders in their fields.  They represent causes that are changing the world every day and in many ways.  My role with these clients is to help them raise money for their causes and determine the best ways to engage their members in their communities.  Without engagement, we’ve discovered that their funding dollars start to dry up.

What surprises me is how demanding their communities have become.  I don’t mean this in a bad way but it has changed their role significantly in the past several years.  The directors are challenged to create something new for their patrons.  Because of the uncertain economic times, they are challenged to recreate the nonprofits in a more supportive way. They need to help their community by providing additional value for the dollars their supporters put into their nonprofits.

With further discussions with the clients, I’ve uncovered several intangibles supporters expect for their money. Their supporters’ expectations don’t surprise me, but the speed that the change has come to their markets does.  I thought you might gain what we’ve uncovered for these clients.  See if they map up with your client’s expectations.

1.  Earn my trust. With all of the things happening in the word today people need to feel they can still trust you. Many leading institutions are no longer trustworthy and your patrons want to be assured that they can trust you with their resources. You need to look no further than Penn State to see how quickly you can lose your patrons trust.  People want to be assured that you will do what’s right for them and make these decisions quickly.

2.  Make it easy for me to help you. People are busy today and have a lot of things going on.  If you make it difficult for them to support you, they will find a similar cause that makes it easy for them. Taking different payment plans and the ability to share your information with their community is critical to their continued support.

3.  Provide me with an extraordinary experience. WOW me or risk losing me. Our larger supporters want to be treated to exceptional experiences that cannot be found elsewhere. Your supporters are short on leisure time.  They want to combine their limited time investment with an incredible experience that they can share with others.  Are you creating a splash when you could create a waterfall? Successful nonprofits are looking for ways to help their best supporters enjoy their time even more when they interact with their cause. Are you helping your members by creating memories that will last a life time? If you’re not, you might want to step up or they will walk away.

It’s interesting to me that in many ways these are the same challenges facing my corporate partners. Clients and customers are showing little tolerance for the mundane or challenging experiences. We must provide our clients with outstanding experiences or risk losing them to global competitors.  So, do you know how to create trust with your markets? It doesn’t take a lot of money but it does take time to consider what you’re creating for your clients.

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