I recently moved house. One of the major hassles of the experience was contacting my bank, utility providers, insurance company etc to update my details.
I had a real mixed bag of experiences from the good to the awful, but what was uniform across the companies I contacted was that within 24 hours of interacting with them I received a phone call, text or e-mail asking me to rate the experience.
These surveys happen all the time because companies know satisfaction is one of the key drivers of loyalty, yet I have never received a similar e-mail, text or call after donating to a charity.
In fact, in all my research across the sector the only two examples I can find of people doing anything similar is a charity using phone calls to rate face to face fundraisers and in a mystery shopping exercise to rate a phone call. Both examples were done on an ad-hoc basis and I haven't seen any evidence that these scores were then used to measure attrition or lifetime value of donors*.
At conferences, on blogs and in the sector media we're always told how important thank you letters are (and I believe this to be the case), but we need to do much more to provide the statistically robust evidence that backs these claims up.
If we really want to measure the impact of our thank you letters and service, shouldn't we be making this type of satisfaction survey the norm?
The Agitator and Donor Voice continue to bang the drum for greater insight and understanding of donor's attitudes to increase retention. Learning from the corporate world and starting to measure the giving experience in a consistent and measurable manner might help us to increase our appalling donor retention stats as a sector.
It's only then that we'll truly know the value of a great thank you and donor experience.
*If anyone is doing such feedback measurement, then I would love to learn more and discover how you apply the learning from it. I'm guessing that those organisations doing it are so far of everyone else in terms of retention that they probably want to keep it quiet!
This post is my contribution to the November non-profit blog carnival. This month the carnival is hosted by Pamela Grow and the theme is 'How are you saying thank you?'