Elaine Fogel


np-customer-serviceNonprofit customer service. What’s that? Well, the same as it is in the business world, except that most nonprofit “customers”  represent stakeholders like donors, volunteers, members, and clients.

So, why do nonprofits need to focus on customer service when these “stakeholders” aren’t traditional “buyers?” Because, like other organization types, customer service excellence ties into their customers’ brand experiences and contributes to their organizations’ sustainability and success.

Makes sense, right? But, in my experience, not enough nonprofits are customer oriented and “get” why it’s so important.

As I head out next week to do two days of nonprofit customer service training, I thought it would be à propos to share some of my ideas.


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Social impactNo matter how small or large your company is, if it’s involved in cause marketing - supporting a charitable cause - there are new guidelines out for you. According to the 2013 Cone Communications Social Impact Study, social impact is the new standard for how companies address social and environmental issues to drive meaningful and positive change.

And, what is social impact?

Social impact is a core part of corporate social responsibility and manifests itself in holistic brand integration and investment. Leading companies are not just identifying issues they want to solve – they are articulating how those issues are relevant to their businesses and to individual stakeholders. They are providing consistent validation for participation through dynamic activation, clear communication and ongoing proof of progress.”

Who’s driving cause marketing programs?

The study says that multicultural consumers – specifically African Americans and Hispanics – “are burgeoning forces in the broader U.S. culture and economy. As they gain in numbers and influence, so too does their optimism and enthusiasm for social impact.”

Another market segment is Millennials – those born after 1980 - who are instrumental in shaping the very way companies do business today.

Here are the study’s 5 GUIDING PRINCIPLES to achieve social impact:

  1. Turn your stakeholders into partners by making their participation urgent and necessary.
  2. Integrate social impact within your company’s business and CSR efforts to maximize potential for impact.
  3. Seek out new opportunities to innovate and accelerate solutions.
  4. Explore new communication channels to broaden reach and appeal.
  5. Provide ongoing and transparent proof of individual and collective impact.

What have the results been for your company’s cause marketing efforts? Can you demonstrate their social impact?

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