non profit

They say nonprofits should think and behave more like for-profits but what if the paradigm was turned upside down?  One thing top performing nonprofits do better than a lot of companies is stewarding their donors. Their successful stewardship results in recurring donors and often leads to larger gifts.  How might this work for corporations?

Stewarding Customers

When first-time donors make a gift to a nonprofit, they are not only thanked, but flagged as a newcomer and placed on the mailing list unless they opt out.  If the donation is for a specific program or cause, that, too, is flagged so that future communications can be targeted to that area of interest.

Successful nonprofits lavish praise and thanks on their donors frequently.  Any company should do the same with customers.

If a customer’s interest has been identified because of a prior purchase or search, this knowledge can be used to target communications to them.  This can be highly effective on seasonal items.

Subsequent communications with donors remind them of the impact of their gift and also discuss the progress of the program or cause they funded.  After two or three donations, the donor’s name is often run through a wealth screening program to get an idea of the donor’s giving capacity.

And while it’s likely not viable nor practical to do the same at most companies, there are other indicators of customer capacity.  One is simple. It’s their zip code.

If a company sells high-end products, this kind of information could be very helpful.  That’s where identifying and tracking customer data can be invaluable in leveraging your marketing.

Another thing successful nonprofits do is to alert its donors about other ways they might consider like donations in memory of someone.  Here’s where tracking customer data is invaluable. If it is known when a customer’s wedding anniversary is, for example, send a special wish along with an offer to consider buying a gift for their spouse.

The same is true for information about a customer’s family, whether it’s the birthday of a family member or other special occasions.  First acknowledge the event and then make the offer. Most customers will cherish the attention. This will make the customer feel more connected with the company and will inspire brand loyalty.

The third and final thing successful nonprofits also do well is to initiate personal contact with their loyal donors.   A call to a loyal customer from someone in the customer service department would certainly be novel, wouldn’t it? The purpose?  The call would simply be to thank the customer for their business and invite them to contact the caller if they had any questions or comments in the future.

It would almost be like a customer concierge.  How impressive would that be? Some casinos do that well by having staff assigned to their players who frequent their location.  Just think about the publicity if the company was the first of its kind in that area of business!

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Ronn Torossian is the Founder, President and CEO of New York-based 5W Public Relations. He has overseen the company's rapid growth and expansion to the Inc. 500 list, as well as provided counsel to hundreds of companies, including members of the Fortune 500, Inc. 500 and Forbes 400. His work spans global interests, corporate entities, high-profile individuals, regional business entities, government agencies and academic institutions - both on routine public relations matters and extremely sensitive issues. One of the foremost public relations experts in the U.S., Torossian is known for his aggressive, results-focused orientation, as well as his close working relationships with members of the media, influencers, decision makers, politicians and celebrities. At 5W Public Relations, Torossian's client experience has included programs for Coca-Cola, Microsoft, Anheuser-Busch, Barnes & Noble, Cantor Fitzgerald, IHOP, McDonald's, Evian, EDS, VeriSign, XM Radio, Seagram's, The Loews Regency, Bad Boy Worldwide Entertainment, Marriott Hotels, Vail Resorts, Pamela Anderson, Snoop Dogg, the Government of Israel, and others. Referred to by The New York Post as a "publicity guru," by Fox News as a "high-powered PR CEO," by Tyra Banks as a "crisis management guru," and by CNN as "a leading PR expert," Torossian is regularly featured in and quoted by the media, including by CNN, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, NBC, The New York Times, and others. CBS National News said "Ronn Torossian knows spin," and a New York Times feature story on Torossian referred to him as "The consummate hard-driving, scrappy NY publicist." Earlier in his career, Torossian was a Vice President/Group Director for one of The InterPublic Group's (IPG) largest PR agencies, where he was responsible for significant client growth and successful client programs, including work for Clinique, Fox News Channel, DHL, Hard Rock Café and others. A resident of Manhattan’s Upper West Side, Torossian was named to the Advertising Age "40 Under 40" list, PR Week's "40 Under 40" List, is a regular lecturer at universities and conferences, a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO) and a board member of numerous non-profit organizations.