Well, apparently many charities don't know what they do. Or at least they don't help their staff answer questions about the work they do.
As I've posted about previously, I've become a bit of a voyeur, mystery shopping charities all around the world, and last year here in Canada.
The upshot is, as a sector we are crap at looking after our donors. I've written lots about this, see one of my articles here on SOFII.
The fact that we can't get the basics right (thanking, responding, setting up gifts) drives me batty.
I was recently sitting in the reception of a charity (whom shall remain nameless) and overheard a conversation between the receptionist and a donor/potential donor, whom has enquired about donating but wanted more info.
Whilst I couldn't hear the other end of the call, I got the crux of it. Someone was ringing to ask about making a gift and clearly enquired about some specific areas of this organization's work.
The receptionist answered, "I'm sorry I can't help you with that, the person who could help talk about those specific projects is on vacation till next week".
They then proceeded to say goodbye and the call ended.
Of course, I wasn't shocked. I've heard this countless times. The point is, it wasn't the receptionist fault. In most cases, shoddy donor care really isn't the fault of the individual communicating with the donor.
It's the fault of the organization and the leadership within for lack of investment in training.
Not providing the resources (and I mean training) for staff is cutting off your nose to spite your face.
Great donor care requires leadership. It requires leadership seeing the value in treating donors well and doing something about it.
Even if someone is on reception for a day, they should be told where each 'type' of call should be directed. That's it.
I wouldn't expect that person to know the ins and outs of the organization but being given the tools to direct donor enquiries is not negotiable.
Fair to say that donor likely won't call back.