SO you’ve been told that you need to be on all of these social media platforms. Do you really?

Are your donors on Facebook?

Not necessarily.

Did you know that 80% of the people on Facebook are not in the US? Did you know the fastest growing demographic on Facebook is 50+ year old women? Are they your target audience?

Are your donors on Youtube? If they are an 18-25 year-old man, they might be! Is that your target donor?

This interview blew my mind

Video streaming by Ustream

zapposListen to the above Smart People interview with BJ Mendelson.

It’s fascinating.

One of my favorite parts of the interview is where BJ Mendelson goes into detail about how you have to know where your donors/customers are active online.

When asking yourself, where do we need to be? Ask yourself first, “Where are our donors?”

If you don’t know, here’s a quick way to find out. Just follow these steps.

  1. Get a SurveyMonkey account.
  2. Create a survey. Ask these questions:
    • Where are you most active? a) Email  b) Facebook  c) twitter  d) Linkedin  e) Youtube  f) Somewhere else.

And that’s the way you do it!

Zappos = Social media success story? Think again.

Another thing that BJ Mendelson said about Zappo’s incredible success is that it’s ALL ABOUT the telephone. It’s not a social media success. It’s a customer service success. But since telephones aren’t sexy, the media obfuscates the issue and calls them a social media success. But they aren’t. The incredible thing about Zappo’s is that you can call them up at 10pm and ask, “I need to find pizza in Las Vegas, can you help me?” And someone will help you find a pizza place that is open. Zappos has a 70% customer retention rate. They don’t even need to go find new customers.

Imagine if your donor retention rate was that good! 50% of donors never make a second gift!

The way this relates to your nonprofit is that your front office staff and your fundraising staff ARE your customer service department.

What do you think happens if your fundraising staff is a staff of one, and changes every 10-18 months? What if the same goes for your front desk staff? Or what if your front desk staff is entirely volunteers, who may or may not show up?

I used to have a boss who wouldn’t let me leave the office because “Someone has to be here to answer the phones.” I could have been out meeting donors. I could have been tabling for our nonprofit, putting up flyers, or creating coalitions, but instead I was tied to my desk on his command.

So when you want the magic bullet to grow your nonprofit, social media will not be that bullet. It isn’t that bullet for anyone really. Not even big companies like Zappos.

If you want to be different and better than all of the other nonprofits out there, the way you can truly differentiate yourself is to TREAT YOUR CUSTOMER (DONOR) SERVICE PEOPLE WELL.

That means your staff. Especially your fundraising staff. If you can’t afford to give them a huge salary,  then:

  • Increase their training budget.
  • Give them a better job title.
  • Give them more vacation.
  • Give them better healthcare.
  • Ask them how you can improve as a manager.
  • Ask them how you can better support them in their fundraising for you.

This means they will stay longer. When they feel secure and happy, they will be happier to represent you with a smile in the community.

Don’t just run around using Twitter, Youtube and Facebook willy nilly without looking at your donor processes and seeing where people fall through the cracks.

Does it take days for your executive director to answer a donor phone call?

Does it take weeks for thank-you notes to get sent out?

Do your grant reports go out months late?

These are all symptoms of bad donor service.

Do yourself a favor and get a friend to make a donation on your website right now. Find the holes in your service and you’ll start to learn how you can improve your donor retention and be “the Zappos” of nonprofits.

If you want to be a better nonprofit leader, don’t jump on the bandwagon. You don’t need to be everywhere. You need to be creating relationships on the phone, via personal emails and communications with your supporters.

How about you?

Have you ever done an audit of how fast you send out a thank-you note? How many donor phone calls do you have each week? How well do you treat your donors?

Want more donors? Maybe Twitter, Facebook, Youtube AREN’T the answers.

But we do know what works.

Check out some new ways to find donors here