Earlier this week I posted an article talking about how fundraising professionals need to become Engagement Journey Guides. One of my readers, Amy K., suggested that was a mouthful and offered up the term “Engagement Sherpa.” That got me thinking, so I looked up the word. Sherpa means “a member of a people noted for providing assistance to mountaineers… [and who] have achieved world renown as expert guides.” Hmmn. I really like that!
Think of your donors as mountaineers. They’re on an ascent. It’s not just towards the top of your donor pyramid. It’s towards their own vision. One you can help them fulfill. One where you can lift them up and elevate them as heroes.
Think of yourself as an expert guide. You don’t just stop at a one-time gift. You offer donors an experience. One that stays with them and makes something meaningful. One that puts them in touch with their emotions and engages them with their humanity.
The best guides create not only positive experiences but also brilliantly shareable ones. And these days the best sharing opportunities come via social media. That’s how you get new supporters and grow your base. That’s how you become sustainable. That’s why Mt. Everest has become a Disneyland (I recently heard there is even a whiskey tasting bar at 17,600 feet!).
The best fundraisers are engagement experts who think beyond asking for and getting money in just this moment. They think beyond this trek and onto the next. They imagine strategies that will influence others to join the journey. They are always one step, or more, ahead.
The best organizations have teams of “Engagement Sherpas” operating within a culture of philanthropy. Engagement is then measured by the actions, sentiment and outcomes that result from each interaction with the organization. Fundraisers are not siloed in a corner. Marketing does not work at cross purposes. Program staff do not undermine the work of development staff. No one says “that’s not my job.” Doors between departments and groups that traditionally haven’t talked to each other are opened.
Everyone contributes to a positive donor experience that moves folks along the path in your favor. You recognize that your ‘customer’ only sees one organization. If the receptionist is rude, this impacts how people feel about making a donation. If the fundraiser never calls them again except to ask for more money, this also impacts how they feel about making a second trek (aka investment in a philanthropic gift). If you don’t make it easy for folks to share their positive experiences with their tribes, they may never get around to it. You’ve wasted your growth opportunity. You’ve squandered your resources. It makes me sad.
How will your organization manage the customer (aka donor, aka mountaineer) journey and gently lead them in ways that work to your favor? How will you leverage the work you’ve done so it gains momentum?
Grab my Attitude of Gratitude Donor Guide. You’ll learn how to make giving more meaningful for your supporters – so much so they’ll want to give again and again! If you want to guide them towards becoming ongoing donors this is your chance to pick up tons of tips you can implement immediately. You’ll get 106 pages jam-packed with the theory and practice of gratitude, one of the most effective yet least effectively utilized donor engagement and retention strategies. Lots of samples, scripts, templates and tips. And if you aren’t fully satisfied, I offer a 30-day money back guarantee.
Loved cultivating an Attitude of Gratitude. Highly recommend! – Third Sector
Photo: Flickr, McKay Savage
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