Lessons from Zappos on Donor Stewardship

Fundraising and shoes? Together in one session at the Bridge Conference? I just had to check this out. Valerie Vierengel and Nosa Adetiba of ASPCA did not disappoint. It all began with a phone call to Zappos that left Val, well frankly, unbelievably delighted and happy.

It’s no surprise when you consider that Zappos company values include “Deliver WOW through service” and “Build open and honest relationships with communication.”

The ASPCA Donor Stewardship was inspired. In their session, they shared how they are working to transform their relationships with donors and deliver WOW experiences. Here are just a few of their WOW ideas that you can put to work in your organization.

  • Invest in training for the people who answer the phone when members and donors call. Explain how you want the donor to feel: ‘when the donor hangs up, we want them to feel good about how they are changing the world.’
  • When people call to give you their new address or update their credit card number, send them a thank you note!
  • When sustainers call to cancel, it’s usually about financial hardship. The heavy push to “save” them can create bad feelings. Most people feel bad enough that they have to cancel. So, let them know that they’ve done their part. Let them leave feeling like a hero.
  • Track every interaction with your donors and identify the ones who want to hear from you more. Offer them chances to be more involved in advocacy or volunteering.

Great job Val and Nosa, we learned a lot and had fun too. Thanks for wowing us! What is your organization doing to surprise and delight your donors? We would love to hear from you.

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