Nonprofit managers have to handle both internal obligations — staff — and external obligations — donors. The two groups are generally seen as different, maybe even mutually exclusive.
During the AFP 50th International Conference on Fundraising, however, William F. Bartolini, associate vice president for development at The George Washington University, floated the idea of managing staff as if they were donors, utilizing what nonprofits know about donors to help understand, motivate and mentor staff.
So, what are the marks of donor loyalty? Bartolini identified four:
- Identification. Perceiving one’s identity as part of an organization or group. Higher levels of participation have been found to translate to higher levels of loyalty.
- Satisfaction. Donors who have indicated satisfaction with the quality of service provided were twice as likely to offer an additional gift than those less satisfied.
- Trust. Trust is demonstrated by communicating impact, honoring promises, exhibiting good judgment, making clear the organization’s values, ensuring that communications match donor expectations, engaging in two-way communication and excellence in customer service.
- Commitment. There is a promise for the future, whereas identification is an evaluation of past experience. Active commitment involves passion for the cause and usually involves giving to only a small number of organizations. Passive commitment means a belief in the organization or cause but not a passionate belief in it.