Supporter Engagement and Experience Summer School and Summit: a series of webinars and workshops to help you
Keep your eye on the prize...

Why supporter experience starts with team culture (free webinar)

Click here to register for the free webinar on Wednesday 24 July.

There is no doubt that fundraiser’s want to improve supporter experience, deliver engagement and raise more long-term income.

Everyone is talking about it, but so few (if any) charities have actually cracked it. There are some excellent products, services and solutions available to fundraisers. Yet, I hear of so many engagement initiatives failing or stalling before they’ve even began.

Why is this the case?

I’ll be sharing some thoughts in the coming weeks, but at the top of the list is the failure to build the right culture in the team that has to deliver on improving supporter experience and engagement.

In our webinar next week, Emily Petty will share four key tools that can help you on this journey.

One of the most interesting pieces of work in this area came from Google. They looked at what makes their teams effective.

The surprising result?

It wasn’t who is on the team, but more about how the team members interact, structure their work and view each other’s contributions.

The research discovered five key dynamics that set successful teams at Google apart:

  1. Psychological safety: Can we take risks on this team without feeling insecure or embarrassed?
  2. Dependability: Can we count on each other to do high quality work on time?
  3. Structure & clarity: Are goals, roles, and execution plans on our team clear?
  4. Meaning of work: Are we working on something that is personally important for each of us?
  5. Impact of work: Do we fundamentally believe that the work we’re doing matters?

Number one was by far the most important factor and from my own experiences it makes total sense. When I’ve done my best work it is when I’ve been part of a team I trust, respect and feel safe in.

So how do we create that psychological safety in the teams we want to engage with to improve the supporter experience?

This needs to be much more than just letting people know they are safe. You need to demonstrate it through your behaviours and actions.

How can you do this? Here are some thoughts to get you started:

  • Reward risk-taking – how do you support people to take risks? You want to encourage your team to admit mistakes, to ask questions and to offer new ideas. Think about how you reward and recognise this in people.
  • Demonstrate vulnerability – mistakes happen. Teams that are open about this and don’t blame and criticise are likely to thrive. Don’t be afraid to admit when you’ve got something wrong and to ask for help when needed.
  • Call out negative behaviours – the make or break time is when someone demonstrates behaviours that risks the psychological safety of the team. How people react to this and how you as a leader deal with that in a way that maintains the safety of the team is crucial.
  • Challenge and speak truth to power – this doesn’t mean we want teams that only agree with each other. You need to critically assess any idea and project and to be able to share any concerns or potential issues. Avoiding groupthink and encouraging different opinions is essential for any leader undertaking change.
  • Support each other – setting clear responsibilities and providing support to those who ask for help is key to building trust.

Before you start planning the operational delivery of any project, spend as much time thinking about how you will create the right culture within the team to make that project a success.

For more info and ideas on how to do this, please do join Emily and me on Wednesday 24 July at 13.30. Together we’ll guide you and explain how you can build the right team culture to support your supporter experience and journey efforts.

For more info on the other webinars in the Supporter Experience Summer School and Summit, check out my last post.