Posts tagged ‘Citizens Bank’

September 21, 2012

There is No Next Best Thing to Being There

I was in the car in downtown Philadelphia with my wife when I noticed an interesting advertisement at a bus shelter while we were stopped at a red light. It really resonated with me. The ad, promoting Citizens Bank, read:

Talk to us, because brochures are terrible listeners. Sit down with us today to find out how good banking can help you.”

The ad provided the address to two bank branches in the downtown area. The ad also provided the bank’s URL.

I thought it was a pretty good ad. It was customer focused and talked about how the bank can “help you” and how the bank is a good listener. It was folksy and friendly, using the phrase “Sit down with us…”

The customer-centered orientation of Citizens Bank is one that all nonprofit organizations should embrace. Being customer and donor centered, actually talking with people, will build stronger, lasting relationships that will result in more funds being made available for mission fulfillment.

So, what are the things that nonprofit organizations can do that are inspired by the Citizens Bank ad? Here are just eight ideas:

1. Brochures can be useful, but… At most organizations, a great deal of time, effort, and money is spent designing, writing, and printing brochures. Just this week, there was even a discussion about brochures on the listserve of the Partnership for Philanthropic Planning. Very often, brochures are written and designed by committee which means a great deal of staff resources are invested. Yes, brochures can be somewhat useful. However, actually speaking with a prospect or donor is a far more powerful way to communicate. Brochures can broadcast a message, but they can’t tell you how the reader is reacting.

Just as you invest a great deal of time and money into developing brochures, you should make the same or greater investment in polishing your presentation and listening skills. Read and attend seminars about making effective presentations. Learn about powerful sales tactics. Discover how to be a better, active listener. If you’re already a good communicator, strive to be a great one. And, remember, there’s no substitute for actually being there for your prospect or donor.

2. Invite the public to contact you. Be open to talking to the public. I mean everybody, not just big donors. Let people know your door is open. Encourage calls and visits.

Throughout the course of the year, try to get in front of or on the phone with more folks than you did last year. Take more folks on a tour of your facility. Engage more people. Even if people do not accept your invitation, they’ll still appreciate your openness.

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