Why mistakes are awesome and what to do about them

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Greg Warner is CEO and Founder of MarketSmart, a revolutionary marketing software and services firm that helps nonprofits raise more for less. In 2012 Greg coined the phrase “Engagement Fundraising” to encapsulate his breakthrough fundraising formula for achieving extraordinary results. Using their own innovative strategies and technologies, MarketSmart helps fundraisers around the world zero in on the donors most ready to support their organizations and institutions with major and legacy gifts.

Why mistakes are awesome and what to do about them - thumbnail imageI know the feeling. A supporter calls to tell you your email or letter spelled her name wrong. She’s pissed! You begin to sweat and your muscles become tense. You think to yourself – “This sucks!”
But what you really should be thinking is, “This is a terrific opportunity to make things right and build a deeper relationship with a supporter who cared enough to call.” Let’s face it, if the supporter wanted the relationship to be over, they never would have called you in the first place.

They don’t want it to end. They just want to be heard. They want you to make things right.

Yes! These events ARE opportunities disguised as complaints.
Amazon.com’s mission statement is: “To be Earth’s most customer-centric company where people can find and discover anything they want to buy online.” Jeff Bezos once said, “We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.”

Wow! They want to be the most customer-centric company on the entire planet and they do it by behaving like hosts!

And what about Disney? Walt Disney himself once said, “Give the public everything you can give them.”

Finally, Donald Porter of British Airways said, “Customers don’t expect you to be perfect. They DO expect you to fix things when they go wrong.”

The MarketSmart takeaway here is that your supporters will continue to support your mission and will actually dig deeper to give more if you:
First, be glad they called.
Second, respond promptly.
Third, apologize profusely— and mean it! Be real!
Fourth, bend over backwards to make it right.
Fifth, make sure you made it right.
Sixth, thank them for allowing you the opportunity to make it right.

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3 responses to “Why mistakes are awesome and what to do about them”

  1. Mike CowarT says:

    Thanks for the wisdom and challenge!

  2. A seasoned and very successful fundraiser taught me this lesson. An angry donor is a donor who cares, the question is can that anger be addresses and a new and fruitful relationship built?

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