April 29, 2012

I received an email graciously reminding me that I hadn’t renewed my investment. I thought that I had so I called.

The woman in the development office quickly found my record. She told me that I had given. She nicely apologized for the erroneous email. Quick. Efficient. No worries.

A couple hours later, I received an email from the organization apologizing. Very nice. Apparently a computer glitch sent out renewal notices to several (many?) donors.

Later that same day, I received a personal phone call from the chief development officer. She, too, was apologizing. It was Friday about 6:30 p.m. She was calling all the donors that received the erroneous email.

Wow. What great customer service. How very donor-centered.

Neuroscience reports that correcting a mistake makes people very very very happy. A dopamine high, apparently. I sure was happy. I was very impressed.

And it gets even better.

On that personal telephone call, the development officer thanked me for being a loyal donor. “You’ve been giving for 20 years,” she told me. “In fact,” she said, “this is your 20th anniversary right now. On April 10, 1992, you gave your first gift to EMILY’S List.”

Thank you, EMILY’S List for the extraordinary work you do to elect pro-choice, Democratic women in the U.S. Thank you for the extraordinary communications and updates you regularly provide to us donors.

And thank you for the extraordinary apology process. Everyone makes mistakes. Organizations make mistakes. People make mistakes. It’s how we “fix” the mistake that matters.

What an extraordinary experience I had that day.

And how proud I am to be a loyal donor of EMILY’S List.


About Simone Joyaux

A consultant specializing in fund development, strategic planning, and board development, Simone P. Joyaux works with all types and sizes of nonprofits, speaks at conferences worldwide, and teaches in the graduate program for philanthropy at Saint Mary’s University, MN. Her books, Keep Your Donors and Strategic Fund Development, are standards in the field.

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