Respond: Don't Leave 'Em Hanging

Part 5 of a 6 part blog series on effective philanthropy program management
Mar 18, 2014 8:40 PM ET

Respond: Don't Leave 'Em Hanging

Having a successful philanthropy program is crucial to a company’s image. As we've discussed, there are key elements to a successful program. Now that philanthropy requests have been received in a streamlined manner, routed to the right person and reviewed accordingly, it is time to respond to those requests. Responding is one of the most critical aspects of the process - a company must set expectations for their requestors up front, and stick to them. Every request deserves a response, regardless of whether or not each can be supported. An online system makes responding easy.

Take a view from your requestors’ perspectives.  Their request is the only one that matters, and they do not know how many requests your company receives. Bottom line- they want a response. They want to know that you care about them as a customer as much as they care about you as a company.  If expectations are not met, that could cause brand damage, and you could lose them as a customer. Let’s take a closer look at what’s important to a requestor, and break down how an online system can satisfy their needs without overworking your staff:

Did they get my request? If requestors are mailing in their requests, there is no way to know that the request has been received or even sent to the right person. This could lead to a lot of frustration when that request goes unanswered. An online system can give instant proof the request is received and even send a confirmation message. With no extra work on your part, your requestors have peace of mind their submission went to the right place.

When am I going to get a response? Setting expectations from the get-go is essential. If you tell your requestors they should receive a response within 6 weeks, they take this as your word. Many of them will plan around when they expect a response so they can arrange their event or program. Regardless of whether or not you can support their request, this timeline is important to honor. As we’ve discussed in previous installments of this series, an online system will help you review requests in a timely manner, keeping your responses on time too.

Well, that was an impersonal answer. If a company receives more requests than they can support, it is difficult to  respond to each request in a heartfelt and personalized way. With an online system, you can have as many different and personalized responses as you need. If an organization does not meet your criteria and you are unable to support them, you can have a customized, branded response to explain why you are unable to support the reqeust. The personal touch is important when it comes to responding, especially if you are unable to support an organization.

I got approved! What happens next? Receiving a donation from a company is a wonderful thing. So, when your donation request is approved, being notified quickly is essential, as well as knowing how you are being supported. Whether it be an email or a phone call, giving your approved requestors the details of your donation keeps them informed and organized. With an online system, approval emails can be sent directly to a requestor, with a personalized email giving them all the information they need about their donation.

 In any healthy relationship, communication is key. By setting response  expectations and following through with them, you continue to build on the relationship  with your community. An online solution lets you easily respond to all of your constituents, ensuring your relationships are long lasting and positive.

We've almost made it through the Five R’s of Great Philanthropy management. Stay tuned next week when we discuss the final R - Report.  Or, download our eBook now.