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Experience now counts

Our guest blog this week comes from Richard Turner (@ifundraiser), exploring why delivering an outstanding donor experience is essential when fundraising.

This is a guest blog from Richard Turner (@ifundraiser) from the Comission on the Donor Experience.

In less than a month the Commission on the Donor Experience will launch its compendium compiled by a who’s who of fundraising – all volunteering their time believing fundraising needs to change. Packed with guidance, with over 500 tips and 250 case stories from people and charities many will admire.

So what’s so important about the donor experience that it required a “commission”? The customer, or in our case donor, experience, is now paramount.

Why? Because we all now have a voice. And so, the experience people have counts. And that now includes bad ones too. Before it didn't matter. You could say the means justified the ends. It was about the response. If a person didn’t donate you simply targeted the next one. But now it does. Because anyone can share their opinion very easily. We are all now channels.

When the media has exposed fundraising, whilst charities and fundraisers have sometimes been unfairly unrepresented, it’s a story that often reinforces people’s own experience. The kickback against fundraising in the media is not a cause. It’s not a Daily Mail plot. It’s a symptom.

But with this comes a huge opportunity. You can see this already when you go into a thriving high street, or even online, shop. Because a GREAT customer experience also counts. Why? Because people will talk about you and recommend you to their friends and networks. It’s how we filter all the content that comes at us – by relying more and more on people and organisations we trust. And in this connected world you just don’t know who people know.

So, delivering an outstanding donor experience is not a nice thing to do – it is now totally strategic. And it goes beyond the direct donor experience we could provide. It’s also about people talking about your mission – why you exist – and why they support you. It’s how you can leverage people’s ‘social capital’, and where your mission story is better coming from them. This is where fundraising magic can happen.

What an opportunity!

The Commission outputs are a result observing the rapidly changing world around us through the eyes of experienced fundraising practitioners. They are all united in the belief that something is not right and we need to take steps to fix it.

The outputs showcase charities that are leading the way – sharing their learnings from doing, so you can build on them.  And this is just the start. No doubt they can be made even stronger over time. So get involved and add your thoughts or provide your own examples. For the next few weeks all the outputs are available for comment.  

If you work for an organisation that seeks to solve a problem in the world then you need to take on board this thinking. No problem is solved with a little money. This needs fundraising.

And to do fundraising in a sustainable way that grows, you will need donors who come back for more and tell others. This is an opportunity to help you unleash a new force for good. I recommend you seize it.

Richard Turner is a fundraiser with over 25 years experience and volunteered his time to support the Commission. Blogs and tweets as @ifundraiser


Commission outputs – currently available in beta phase to review: http://www.donor-experience.com/beta

The Commission on the Donor Experience will launch the 28 projects at the Institute of Fundraising Convention July 2017.

Link to Seth Godin blog:


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