The other day Tom posed the question, Are You a Fundraising Professional?and answered it by concluding that “If you see your role as facilitating a positive donor experience, then yes, you are.”

The morning Tom’s post ran I received news that Jay Love, the co-founder and CEO of Bloomerang, the donor management software firm, is changing jobs.

He’s been elevated to Chief Relationship Officer and Board Chair of Bloomerang.

Congratulations! To Jay. To Bloomerang. And to all the clients and donors that Bloomerang serves.

So, what does all this have to do with being a ‘fundraising professional’? Everything.

You see, for decades Jay has been helping nonprofits to better understand, serve and communicate with their donors. He not only led the way in the early days of online tech with the founding of e-Tapestry, but worked tirelessly on a variety of nonprofit boards such as Indiana University’s Lilly School of Philanthropy and the Association of Fundraising Professionals, to name but two of dozens.

Jay has been relentless in the drive to improve donor retention in our sector. He’s made a mighty contribution in terms of his leadership and support of AFP’s Fundraising Effectiveness Project and in the creation of the Bloomerang platform itself, which is designed and programmed to help organizations focus and act on donor retention.

And, as readers of The Agitator well know, Jay has commented on our posts involving retention and donor experience more times than Tom has shirts.

NOW… Jay is taking on a task that every organization should be assigning a most senior officer to do: take charge of forging and maintaining one-one-one relationships with its customers/donors.

I’m not talking about routine thank you and cultivation contact by a member of the staff. While that is important and essential, it doesn’t quite send the message to customers/donors that getting a non-solicitation call or visit from the Chair of the Board, or other top officer does.

In a world where customer service and donor service is generally lousy, the customer-facing involvement of an organization’s top official — not to mention its founder — sends a powerful message not only to the customer/donor, but to the entire staff of the organization. Suddenly, the proper treatment of customers/donors takes on new importance throughout the organization.

My guess is that even the current customers of Bloomerang who are pleased and satisfied with the company’s product and service will be even more pleased when they get a call or visit from Jay. Good for retention.

And they’ll tell others. Good for new customer acquisition.

And I’ll bet Jay will learn some things about his company and its customers’ needs and problems that he didn’t know before. That’s the way this relationship business works — a two-way street.

I’ll be looking forward to Jay’s reports on his new job with the hope that he’ll share some of his insights with the rest of us.

And, I’m hoping that his example will encourage others to have their top officers spend time talking to — not soliciting — donors and customers.

What steps are you taking to involve your top guns in building better donor relationships?




This article was posted in: Board Meeting Swipe File, Communications, Donor Centricity, Donor retention / loyalty / commitment, Nonprofit management.
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