Today as I got my morning cappuccino, I noticed Starbucks is running a huge promotion – centered on buying beans, k-cups, syrups, cups and taking the Starbucks experience home.
Why would they do this? Isn’t the whole concept of drinking coffee at home Starbucks competition? Don’t they want me in their stores?
It’s because Starbucks has figured out something many charities haven’t tapped into yet: When you like something, you like doing it in different ways, and at different times.
I love going to Starbucks in the morning. I love chatting with the barista about my day as I grab my cappuccino. But I also love a cup of coffee in the office, a quick k-cup jolt in between staff meetings. I love a cup of decaf at 8 pm, enjoyed in my pajamas, on my couch. Having options makes me drink more coffee, not less.
If Starbucks was run like a charity, this promotion might not have happened. The director of In-Store Sales would be at the throat of the Director of K-Cup sales. “Those are MY customers, they come in the store every day – they get to know the baristas! It’s about relationships! K-Cups are a dumb fad you millennial idiot”… “No! In-store sales are dead! Convenience is the thing! K-Cups are the way of the future! MY customers want convenience, you dinosaur.”
As funny as that is, it is a sad reality for many charities – with annual giving, events, major gifts and planned giving all fighting over donors. “You can’t talk to event participants about monthly giving!” “Hey planned giving, back off my mid-level donors, you’re making them uncomfortable.” “Get out of here major gifts, no one invited you, you glory hog.”
It makes me sick.
When did we start thinking of this as a competition?
When did we become so entitled?
When did we start thinking we owned our donors? Like they are our property?
They are not YOUR donors, you are THEIR charity.
That means you have a responsibility to put aside the egos and the silos, and do what is best for the DONOR. You need to trust each other enough to help one another, and to make smart decisions about how to offer your donor the chance to give and be involved in all the ways THEY choose.
Because if your donors love your cause – the way I love coffee – they are going to choose to give in different ways, at different times and in different amounts. Good customer service means you make sure those options and choices are there – when THEY want them.
Rory Green has been in the philanthropic sector for over eight years and is currently the Associate Director, Advancement for the Faculty of Applied Science at Simon Fraser University. Rory has also worked in major and corporate giving at BCIT and the Canadian Cancer Society.
Rory has spoken at national and international fundraising conferences, most recently starring in the “Kaleidoscope of Philanthropy” Plenary Session at AFP International, San Antonio.
In her spare time Rory is the founder and editor of Fundraiser Grrl, the fundraising community’s go-to source for comic relief.
Image credit: Esparta Palma from Flickr via Creative Commons.