The WOW moment (part 1)

Three months ago I was part of an audience listening to Karen Osborne giving a presentation on ‘Stewardship’. Great presentation, as usual, most of which I had heard before. But at the same time we can’t hear enough about the importance of being donor centric, delivering on the promise, showing the impact. It makes me realize we can still do much better.

But there was something else in Karen’s presentation that triggered me. That I kept thinking about. She was talking about the WOW-moment (not meaning the ‘normal’ things like delivering on the promise). And when asking the audience: when was the last time we were ‘WOW-ed’ by an organization and when was the last time we were really pleasantly surprised, I realized I couldn’t think of any example.To explain what a WOW-moment is, she described one of her experiences and I expect she doesn’t mind me sharing this with you. Because, if we would all engage in creating WOW-moments, it would change our fundraising into real stewardship.

Karen shared with us her getting a tour at a shelter of Kids in Distress. KiD provide shelter for abused and neglected children and families in need in Florida. At the end of the tour she wrote a cheque of 1.000 USD. This meant to be a one time, unrestricted gift. Because as most donors, she supports a more or less fixed selection of charities and she had no intention of adding KiD to that list.

She received the EXPECTED Thank you letter, acknowledging her gift. Then she started receiving newsletters, which she ignored as it was only a one time gift and moreover because it was also EXPECTED.

Eight months later, when the area was hit by 4 hurricanes she received this email from Kids in Distress. The email contained a picture of the staff and the children. She EXPECTED an ask but the message she received was: Your building stood, Your generator worked, Your children are safe! Thank you again for your support, we hope you are safe too. Let us hear from you.

The WOW-moment…..the impact of her gift was shared with her and they asked her if SHE was safe. The result, Karen wrote another cheque. Even though there was no ask for money in the email, KiD raised more money than with any other appeal ever. The WOW-moment is about the UNEXPECTED. More about this subject in part 2 of this blog post!

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