Engaging and interacting with donors is a top priority for most nonprofit organizations. The only problem is, sometimes the contributor defines donor engagement differently than the organization.

Donors make the call

Customer Think made the point that many businesses and organizations confuse, or fail to differentiate, engagement and experience. Engaged customers are typically those patrons who routinely interact with a business; this term refers to the actions the person takes when referring, following, buying from or communicating with a company. On the other hand, customer experience is more of an emotional connection between a person and an organization. These true definitions will vary depending on a nonprofit’s goals, cause and outreach, though it’s important to make the distinction.

As Social Fish pointed out, whether an organization approaches its customer relationship strategies in terms of experience or engagement, the patron (or donor) is in charge of defining what that relationship truly entails. This means that even if a charity thinks it is failing to reach a contributor, that donor may feel incredibly involved with the organization’s activities.

For example, a donor could a nonprofit’s blog, read every article posted, like its social media pages, forward its emails to friends but donate only once per year and never make a public comment on a single platform. To the organization, this may seem like a disengaged donor. However, the contributor may feel that he or she is actually very involved in the actions of the charity and form a special bond with the community surrounding it over time.

Provide options for members

Customer relationship management expert Paul Greenberg told HubSpot that it’s really up to the business, or in this case, the nonprofit, to understand how its constituents define value. Charities need to offer donors a multitude of options for giving funds, getting involved and being heard so they are free to choose the path that best suits their needs and wants. Plus, negative relationships and interactions with organizations are shared more frequently with family and friends than positive ones; be sure to leave all donors happy at the conclusion of each interaction with the charity.

Regardless of whether a nonprofit chooses to focus on experience, engagement or a combination of the two, investing in donation management software can help charities better connect with their donors. It streamlines processes and stores contact information in a way that makes communication much easier, and more personalized.