Posts tagged ‘Lankenau Medical Center’

September 7, 2012

5 Lessons Every Nonprofit Can Learn from a Starbucks Barista

Starbucks has built an international reputation for making a fine cup of coffee. But, did you know that you can learn at least five valuable lessons from a Starbucks barista?

I’m not talking about learning how to make a great espresso or cappuccino. While a Starbucks barista could certainly help you with that, I’m talking about five lessons every nonprofit development professional can learn to be a more effective fundraiser.

The lessons don’t come from just any barista, though. I’m talking about Nicole who fixes beverages at the Starbucks in the Nashville International Airport.

Let me tell you my story, and share with you what I learned from Nicole:

Lesson 1: Never say, “It’s not my job.”

I was just passing through Nashville on my way to a speaking engagement for the Association of Fundraising Professionals St. Louis Regional Chapter. I had to make a connecting flight. I passed a Starbucks on the way to my gate. There was a line, but I had plenty of time. So, I queued up for my trenta-iced-unsweetened-green-tea.

I patiently waited to place my order with the cashier, the normal procedure. But, I was startled by the voice of the barista. She called over to me, before I had even made my way to the cashier, to ask for my order. I was surprised. It actually took me a moment to understand what she was doing. Then, I gave her my order.

By the time I made it up to the cashier and paid for my drink, instead of the usual wait, Nicole had it ready for me. I was stunned with how quickly the line moved and how quickly I was served. Because this experience was so vastly different than any other Starbucks experience I have ever had, and because I had some time to kill before my flight, I stood and just watched the operation. I wanted to understand what was so special about this Starbucks. That’s when I realized that the difference was Nicole.

She could have simply waited until the cashiers gave her drink orders to fill. After all, it was not her job to take orders. But, Nicole saw a line of passengers trying to rush off for their flights. She knew they needed to get in and get out as quickly as possible. And, because she was able to assist, she did even though it wasn’t her job.

In our own organizations, it’s easy to fall back on our job descriptions. It’s easy to think, “It’s not my job. Let someone else take care of it.” But, when everyone in our organizations goes the extra distance for those receiving service or those donating money, we show that we care.

My wife was recently treated at Lankenau Medical Center. It’s a large facility. When walking down the hall, if you even look confused, a member of the staff will stop and offer assistance. Even doctors will do this. This is just one small example of the caring culture at Lankenau.

At most other hospitals I’ve visited, this has not been the case. I guess folks at those other hospitals think it’s not their job to help lost visitors, that’s what the information desk is for. Anyway, can you guess which hospital has a warm place in my heart for this and so many other reasons?

If you and your colleagues refuse to say, “It’s not my job,” you’ll help take a step toward creating or enhancing your own culture of caring. When you do that, you’ll be building relationships that make fundraising much easier.

Lesson 2: Be customer/donor centered.

Nicole was definitely customer focused. She knew we were all concerned about making our flights. So, she did what she could to keep us moving along. And, she anticipated our needs.

One of my pet peeves with Starbucks is that after I get my beverage, I always have to hunt for where they have the straws and napkins. Then, I have to figure out which straw goes with my beverage size. It wastes time, and it makes me feel stupid as I stumble around trying to find these items.

However, Nicole knows this straw-hunt ritual is a time waster. So, understanding my needs, she made sure to have the correct straw right there next to my iced-tea.

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March 30, 2012

6 Anti-Marketing Lessons

“If you can’t be a good example, then you’ll just have to serve as a horrible warning.” — Catherine Aird

This was going to be a post about a legendary musician appearing at a stellar museum. I was planning on writing about how the museum was leveraging the appearance to generate positive publicity and to bring in a new audience.

Rock Legend Max Weinberg

I’m a huge fan of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. So, when I found out that Max Weinberg, the band’s longtime drummer and former music director of Late Night with Conan O’Brien, would be speaking at the National Museum of American Jewish History, my wife and I jumped at the opportunity and bought tickets.

Unfortunately, the experience itself took me in a different direction as I observed several anti-marketing lessons. The benefit for you is that you can learn from the mistakes of another nonprofit organization without having to make the same mistakes for yourself. So, in that spirit, let me share my experience.

No Problem Solving. When my wife called the museum’s reservation number to purchase our tickets, she was asked if she was a member. My wife then told the agent the reason why we’re not members. Before the new museum building recently opened, we bought a membership at another nonprofit’s fundraising auction. When she contacted the museum, she was told that the museum was closed pending the transition to the new building. Since there was nothing to really “join,” she was told that she could wait to activate our membership until the new building opened. However, when she re-contacted the museum to activate the membership as instructed, she was told that the membership was for the old building and, therefore, they would not activate the membership we had purchased! When my wife related this tale to the reservation agent, the person could not have cared less.

Instead of ignoring the problem, the reservation agent could have taken some initiative. For example, at a minimum, she could have expressed regret for our difficulty. Or, she could have gone a step further by offering to pass the information along to the membership office.

By its actions, or in-action, the museum clearly sent the message that it does not care about us. So, why should we care about the museum? If you want to read about the importance of caring, check-out my post: “The Most Important Part of Any Grateful Whatever Campaign is….”

Do Not Take Names. The telephone ticket agent at the museum was not interested in our name or contact information. The agent only wanted our credit card number. She then assigned us a check-in number. In other words, the museum was going to host hundreds of people, many first-time visitors to museum, and had no plans to capture the contact information for this new audience. As a result, we knew there would be no follow-up communication to see if we enjoyed the program, nor would there be any follow-up to invite us to future events or to purchase a membership.

Clearly, the museum should have captured our mailing address, email address, and phone number. In addition, at the event itself, staff could have even asked audience members to “refer” a friend who might be interested in learning about future events. Audience members who referred someone could then have been entered into a drawing for tickets to another event, free membership, or coupon for the gift shop. This is something that performing arts groups have been doing for years to successfully build their marketing lists.

No Add-on Promotion. When we checked-in, we were not asked if we were museum members. We should have been. If we were members, we should have received a heart-felt word of appreciation. If we were not, we should have been handed a membership brochure for our consideration as well as a list of upcoming events. Now, there might have been membership brochures at the counter, but I didn’t notice. And, I should not have had to notice. The staff should have seized the opportunity to be proactive as a service to those attending.

When you have a distribution channel, you have an opportunity to “sell” more services and/or products. The museum had over 300 people coming through its doors that evening. By further marketing to that large group, the museum might have sold some memberships or tickets to future events. By being, at best, passive, they forfeited that opportunity.

By contrast, I once visited the Victoria and Albert Museum in London to see a special exhibit. It’s one of the world’s truly great museums. The line for speical exhibit tickets was long, and we were unlikely to get in that day. However, a membership staff person came along the line to quietly offer to sell folks a museum membership. By joining, we’d be guaranteed of getting to see the exhibit that day which was great since we were leaving the UK the next. And, we wouldn’t have to wait in line! My wife and I were very happy to join. When you have folks coming through your doors, look for other opportunities for engagement.

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December 30, 2011

The Most Important Part of Any Grateful Whatever Campaign is…

Early in my development career, one of my hospital clients introduced me to the term “Grateful Patient Campaign.” The idea being that former hospital patients would be so grateful for the care they received, they would be willing to make a contribution to the hospital. 

Outside of development circles, most people would describe the relationship between a patient and his healthcare provider as transactional. The patient, or her insurance company, pays for the services provided by the hospital. Wise development professionals realized that turning the transactional relationship into a philanthropic one would require a strong measure of gratitude on the part of the patient. So, assumptively, the idea of the “Grateful Patient Campaign” came into being.

Beyond the healthcare environment, other nonprofit organizations are also involved in “Grateful Whatever Campaigns,” though by other names. They are attempting to take a transactional relationship and turn it into a philanthropic one.

Consider colleges and universities. Students, or their parents, pay a school in exchange for an education. Colleges may call a fundraising effort an “Annual Fund” but, really, it’s a “Grateful Alumni Campaign.”

The local animal shelter that charges adopters a fee for spaying/neutering and vaccines in exchange for a new pet runs a “Grateful Adopter Campaign.”

An art museum that charges a fee in exchange for admission to the exhibits runs a “Grateful Visitor Campaign.”

So, what is the most important part of any “Grateful Whatever Campaign”? It’s the Whatevers! Fill in the blank. It’s Patients, Alumni, Adopters, Visitors, etc. It’s obvious, right? Then, why do so many nonprofit organizations do such a mediocre, or even horrible, job providing service and then wonder why they have trouble attracting support?

As a development professional, you have an obligation to help make certain that your organization is providing outstanding service. I’m not just talking about the service provided by your development office. I’m talking about your organization’s core services.

While the direct service providers at your organization might be annoyed when you stick your nose into what they see as their domain, you nevertheless have a duty to do so for two important reasons:

  1. Stewardship is an essential part of the development process. It is your responsibility to ensure that donors’ money is used, as intended by donors, to further the mission of the organization. Making sure your organization provides great service in the pursuit of its mission is simply good stewardship.
  2. New donor acquisition is essential to any development program. You will have a tough time acquiring new donors tomorrow without happy service recipients today. Even when seeking support from third-party sources, your case will be strengthened if you can demonstrate the satisfaction of your service recipients.
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