How to reduce attrition 50% by doing (almost) nothing

This is how my daughter plays hide and seek. She thinks if she can’t see me then I can’t see her.

In defence of her strategy she’s only two years old. But isn’t this exactly the same approach we take with the people we label our ‘supporters’? We act like if we didn’t hear about a ‘supporters’ experience, good or bad, like it didn’t happen.

Everyday your organization has numerous interactions with donors across all channels. These interactions range from great to neutral, all the way through to terrible. The experience of that interaction determines at least 50% of your ‘supporters’ decision whether to interact with you again. So what is your organization doing to monitor and act on those experiences, to ensure ‘supporters’ actually support?

If you’re like the overwhelming majority of charities out there the answer will be ‘nothing’. And so a broken experience, for example, on your donation page, in your retail store or with donor services stays broken. Or a great opportunity to build on the warm glowe of a positive experience in the moment is lost. All that we measure and monitor is the transactional data gathered long after the experience happened.

But that data can never tell you just how much money you could have raised, but lost. And it can never tell you why you lost it!

It can’t ever tell you why someone went to your donation page but didn’t donate. It can’t ever tell you what they like about your e-news and how it’s affecting their decision the next time they receive an appeal. It can only tell you what happened. It can never tell you why.

That’s the reason you can’t buy anything these days without being asked for your feedback about the experience. It’s not because the commercial world cares more about its customers than we do our ‘supporters’ (although based on the fact they seek and act on feedback and we don’t, who can argue we care more?) It’s because they know that the best time to fix a broken experience, or build on a great one, is in the very moment that it happens. And because they know that the only way to find out is to ask.

Just the mere act of offering the opportunity to feedback causes massive lift in behaviour. Our research involving donors to 250+ non-profit organizations in the U.S.A., Canada and the U.K. found that for every donor who provides feedback their retention increases 15 points. And this happens before you actually do anything about it!

One charity that’s got into the business of listening and acting has reported a 93% resolution rate and twice the rate of up-sell and cross-sell for those providing feedback about their supporter care experience.

What are we waiting for? Recently the Agitator made online feedback tools available for free (free!) forever. It takes 5 minutes (tops) to set up and requires zero staff time. The results they reported were staggering, including a 50% drop in attrition for those given the opportunity to give feedback (not a typo!)

If everyone from multi-national corporations to my local curry house has got into the business of asking for and acting on feedback isn’t it time we did?



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