It’s a thing of beauty to sit across the table from great MGOs who are telling stories about their donors. They have such passion and energy. Many times the hair on the back of my neck stands up when I’ve been in the room with an MGO who is speaking about an experience with a donor.
Another trait that Richard and I and our team at Veritus have found that is common among magnificent MGOs is that they all have an incredible customer service orientation with their donors. This means they are constantly in a mindset of figuring out how best to serve each individual on their caseload.
This is not about meeting expectations; it’s about exceeding what the donor actually expects. So, thanking a donor for a gift promptly does not fall under great customer service. That is an expectation that a donor has, regardless. However, with that being the case, just about everything else is unexpected by donors, so there are plenty of ways to provide amazing customer service and wow them.
It starts with a real desire to know a donor first. You see, magnificent MGOs are constantly trying to figure out what makes their donors tick. They are researching, probing, asking questions, being curious, and being MORE curious about their donors.
The following are a number of ways magnificent MGOs that we have managed over the years have provided great customer service to their donors. This will give you insight not only into how they think and act, but will hopefully inspire you to do the same with your donors.

  1. Passion and desires — Magnificent MGOs always, always figure out the passion of the donor. They know that if they can figure that out and really understand it, they will be able to present projects and programs that their donor will find joy in giving to. And the really amazing MGOs go beyond how the donor is connected to their organization. They find out why their donors give to other organizations and why it’s important to them. Those MGOs celebrate that passion and actually help facilitate discussion with the donor on why that is an amazing thing. I’ve witnessed some MGOs actually help encourage a gift to another organization because they knew the donor would want to fund that specific project. That may seem counter-intuitive, but it actually has created such goodwill that it only served to endear the donor more to the MGO’s organization.
  2. Hobbies and Interests — This is no small thing. Knowing a donor’s outside hobbies and interests is such a key part of providing outstanding customer-service. Magnificent MGOs take great effort in creating touchpoints and making connections for donors who are not directly related to the organization they are working with. These MGOs understand what it means to be “donor-centered,” not organizationally centered. If you are donor-centered, you are all about how to serve the donor even if it’s not in a way that is directly related to the mission of your organization. I know incredible MGOs who look for articles in magazines or on-line and send the information to their donors on an ongoing basis. I know one MGO who had a donor who loved to go duck hunting. That MGO sent him a resource about a great area in the country to hunt. She put him in contact with the company that runs the expedition and the donor was beside himself with the experience. Did that have anything directly to do with the mission of the organization the MGO was working with? No, but it created a bond with the donor.
  3. Reporting Back — While this actually should not fall under the “providing outstanding customer service” mindset, it still applies here, because, as stated earlier, donors don’t expect it much. I think this is the area where magnificent MGOs really shine. They know how to work with program folks and get them to connect with donors, either in person or through reporting back. These great MGOs surprise their donors with amazing ways to report on how their donors are making a difference, using video, text, Facebook, personal notes and phone calls, etc. The key is that they go above and beyond any expectation of the donor.
  4. Bringing love and joy into a donor’s life — Magnificent MGOs know that ultimately they are brokers of love and joy for their donors. They are the bridge between the donor’s greatest passion and desire and the heavy needs of the world. Every day they wake up with that responsibility. Yes, they are concerned about goals and strategy and details, but ultimately they are most concerned about helping their donors find joy. With that motivation they become successful.

So, there you have it — another amazing trait of magnificent MGOs… providing outstanding customer service. You can, too.
Series details:

Magnificent MGOs quality #1: Teamwork
Quality #2: A True Customer-service Mindset
Quality #3: Persistence and Patience
Quality #4: Planners!
Quality #5: Competitive and Restless
Quality #6: Brokers of Love and Joy