Philanthropic Concierge

04/06/2018 at 20:48 Leave a comment


Have you had the opportunity to stay at an amazing resort? Perhaps a five star hotel? Traveled first class on a long haul flight? Took a cruise for more than 30 days in the best suite on board?

If you haven’t, most of our best donors have.

While we may not share their experience, we can imagine or know the level of service they receive and expect.

If that is where they are coming from, how can we serve as as their philanthropic concierge? Our goal is providing them with five star donor engagement experiences with our institution.

Note: All of this must be focused on donor interests and guidance. We also have donors who are very conscious of nonprofits “going over the top” and “misspending their contributions”. We use our listening skills and donor indicators to be the best philanthropic concierge providing five star experiences appropriate to each donor.

The highest level of concierge is Les Clefs d’Or (Golden Keys) Society of Concierges. They may have “out of the world requests” but the bottom line is customer focus and service.

No request is too large or small for the concierge! The motto for the concierge team of The Pierre is that the impossible will be done immediately and the extraordinary will take a few moments longer. Maurice Dancer, chief concierge, The Pierre New York, A Taj Hotel

As philanthropic concierges we can’t or shouldn’t respond to “out of the world requests” but we can provide best in class, donor centered experiences. Experiences that are meaningful to the donor (and their families) and bring them closer to their philanthropic interests and passions. And allow our organization to stand out in the mind of the donor. For me, this goes beyond “donor stewardship”.

For our very best donors in our portfolios we can create a five star experiences:

  • Create individualized donor engagement plans that anticipate what donor would want to know and from whom.
  • Think about where you might meet a donor that makes the connection special. Is there a place in your organization that can be an experiential and donor focused.
    • At an animal rescue – can you walk a dog while you talk to the animal behaviorist and learn the story of that dog as an example of the work.
    • At a hospital – is it possible to sit with the professional who is reading a CT/MRI/PET scan and talk with them about how and why the equipment the donor funded changes and saves lives?
    • At a cultural institution – can they meet a dancer/painter/actor on stage or in a their work space to hear about their journey and how a current work came about? Going “on tour” has been a staple of cultural institutions – how can we level up from there?
    • At a university – can you connect a donor with a professor/student/alumnus in a classroom/laboratory to have a chat?
  • Get feedback from the donor. (Hotel concierges are rated all the time.) What worked and didn’t as well as what they’d like to see next. Who else would they like to invite next time?
  • How can we differentiate the donor and CEO/program staff meeting from other institutions?

What would be a five star experience at your institution? How can we can provide five star experiences for our best donors that are meaningful, unique and that donors share with others,

“You won’t believe what I got to do today/who I got to meet –  it was amazing!”

Just like their five star vacation experience – something they’ll be talking about until the next time you call with an invitation, opportunity or next gift.

We need to meet and exceed donor expectations of how they want to be treated by our organizations. It is worth this effort to stand out from the crowd, engage the donor and keep them wondering, “What’s next?” in our work and their philanthropy.

Entry filed under: Fundraising, Nonprofit fundraising. Tags: , , , , .

Nonprofit Branding – Focus on the Donor Secret Lives of Leaders by Kishshana

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