Tap into the Next Generation of Philanthropist

By | Industry, Organizational Health, Volunteers | No Comments

Did you know that 1,750,000 people graduate college every year? That’s a lot of people jumping head first into the “real world.” In many situations these young executives are moving to a new city where they hope to land a good job, meet new friends, and establish themselves, and if you’re a nonprofit, this is your next generation of philanthropists.

Whether it’s a new graduate or a young executive who has been in the workforce a few years, they are going to get involved in something. Shouldn’t it be your nonprofit?

So many nonprofits seek board members who are well established in their careers. There’s nothing wrong with this as these volunteers typically bring professional expertise, connections, and deep pockets that nonprofits need, but don’t make the mistake of neglecting the young executive! In addition to the existing board of directors, nonprofits should be cultivating relationships with a younger generation of volunteers and philanthropists.

Young executives have a deep network and usually have more time to offer than someone more established. Getting them involved early taps into an entirely new network of volunteers, members, and donors that you otherwise would not have.

Many organizations create committees, Junior Boards, or Young Executive Boards that target this generation. This group wants to get involved in something that moves them and somewhere they can make an impact.

I’ve been an active member of a nonprofit junior board for the past couple of years. The nonprofit we serve has a “big board” that is responsible for connecting the nonprofit to companies and people who are willing to make large capital donations to the organization while the junior board is responsible for putting on a huge annual event that attracts more than 1,000 people and raises around $300,000 a year.

We are taught about the organization and the cause it serves. We are exposed to the people the organization helps. We are involved and invested and as a result, we work our fingers to the bone to put on the best event of the year to raise as much money as we can for this nonprofit.

There are thousands of nonprofits in my city. The fact that I got involved with this one relatively young in my career means that it will always be a part of my life in some capacity. I’ll continue to share its story to whomever will listen, I’ll donate annually, and I’ll volunteer time when I can. This will be a charity of choice for me and it’s because the seed was planted early.

Young executives are going to establish their charity of choice early in their careers. Shouldn’t it be yours?

The Number-One Thing You Should Be Doing to Engage Members

By | Customer Experience, Engagement, Industry, Mission Delivery, Programs | No Comments

When it comes to membership engagement, there are lots of things you can do, but I recently ran some data that now has me convinced there’s one most important thing you can start doing that will increase your retention rates: make sure new members have their first engagement within 24 hours of joining. If you do that, you’ll increase their odds of still being a member in a year by four.

Specifically, I ran data on 128,000 randomly selected members of YMCA’s across the country. I looked at only two things: the length of time between joining and the first card scan, and whether or not they were still members one year later. What we found was startling, but makes sense: Members are most excited about getting started when they join, not when you have time to do an orientation with them.

I equate it to whenever I get excited about something I want to buy on the Internet. Often, by the time it comes in the mail, I’m over it. I used to do that with books I would order from Amazon. Now, when I want to read a book, I buy it, it’s delivered to my iPad, and I can be reading within seconds of the purchase.

People come to your organization to join. Why can’t we be set up to get them started at the point of purchase? Members need to leave after that first visit feeling they have begun their health journey. If we can figure out how to deliver that experience, I know we will see major gains in member engagement and retention.

When Hold is Not an Option

By | Customer Experience, Industry | No Comments

A little over a year ago, I started working remotely for Daxko Support. One of the biggest changes for me was no longer having the co-worker sitting beside me to rely on. What I found was that when I worked in an office setting, I would place someone on hold to quickly ask a team member a question. However, after starting to work from home there was no one sitting next to me. My resolution: remove the option to place people on hold.

You may be thinking that I am nuts for doing this, and I’d agreed that there are still times when asking to place someone on hold is completely appropriate. What I found was that by removing that option, I got to know my customers on a more personal level. While I would test something for them or research an item, we would share stories about life, family, football… you name it. Not only was my goal to make their time with me more enjoyable but to be honest because I work from home I valued their conversation. Trust me, there is only so much time in the day you can spend talking to your dog before you begin to think you’re crazy :). I began to love picking up the phone to call someone to discuss an ongoing item to which I’d be asked something like “So how did your test go?” Ultimately, removing the option to place people on hold helped me to build stronger relationships with our customers.

I realized the value that removing this option had on me daily, but I had never thought about the impact it could have on a customer until I was getting ready to travel internationally in March. Prior to travelling, I had put off calling my credit card company until the very last moment- dreading being on hold while they got my account prepped for travel. To my surprise, I was never placed on hold. Now, anytime I am placed on hold I think of the sweet girl who I spoke with that day, how she asked me about Tennessee and told me that she was getting married in the Smokies this fall. I found it so interesting that someone I had never talked to before took the time to get to know me while she was getting me all set for travel. It wasn’t like I was a regular customer she worked with daily, I was a first time caller. However, she made my experience fantastic.

Since March anytime I think about putting someone on hold I ask myself if it’s necessary. If it’s not, then why not have a conversation and get to know each other? Because unlike my call with my credit card company, its likely you’ll be hearing from me again and I’d rather be friends than just acquaintances any day. So forgive me, if you ever call and aren’t in the mood for a conversation, I work from home and placing you on hold isn’t an option.

My challenge to those reading is try removing the hold button from your phone and I bet you’ll find that it will make your workday even more rewarding!

Connecting Members to Your Mission: Part 3

By | Facilities, Industry, Mission Delivery, Programs, Videos | No Comments

In our Connecting Members to Your Mission series, we’ve showcased nonprofits who are finding ways to get their connected members talking. The Kansas City YMCA’s member, volunteer, and coach Matt told us his YMCA life story, and Greg Lee of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro YMCA shared how his association got members connecting on Facebook.

We know that connected members are far more likely to be retained—and they also give of their time and give to your programs. But just how far can one single connected member go?

In Champaign County, Illinois, member Amy Armstrong helped lead the way to build the first all-accessible recreational facility in the country. A self-proclaimed “momologist” and mother of Larkin, a special needs child, Amy and her group Larkin’s Place partnered with Daxko and the Champaign County YMCA to provide a safe, secure, and contained environment for those with disabilities. Her vision met with the Y’s need for a new facility resulted in meeting not only their community’s needs, but also the needs of a community within their community.

With natural light, soft colors, wide hallways, and rubber flooring, the new facility meets not only the needs of disabled individuals but of the older population, as well. The Y also features sensory rooms, therapeutic rooms, and dedicated space for parents and caregivers to work one-on-one with children. Even the facility’s waterslide is accessible to all.

Amy is a great example of a truly connected member who came alongside the Y’s mission for youth development and social responsibility and made a real impact. Are your members connecting to your mission by playing important roles in the development of your association’s strategic plan?

Additional resources:
• Amy’s blog: momologist.com
Hear about the project in Amy’s words in this video