On either side of the Atlantic, the wisdom you get to build relationships with your donors is interesting to learn. This came true when Professor Ian Bruce, President, Center for Charity Effectiveness at London’s Cass Business School talked about the theory and practice of building effective relationships.
According to Prof. Bruce, successful relationship building has four components: establishing relationships, strengthening relationships, customer appreciation and relationship strategies. In American terms, this means relationship building, stewardship and ongoing donor communications.
You scan your environment to seek out the most influential people interested in your cause. Engage them well, pay close attention to their needs and consider them the most important people in your network. Prof. Bruce advises that you must be ready to talk about the negative things that are happening at your organization and how you are trying to fix them. What are the pillars that need to be strengthened?
Often, most of us forget the common sense initiatives we need to take to build relationships. This includes reliability (deliver what you promised), responsiveness (give prompt service always), assurance (convey trust and confidence), empathy (a caring attitude), and always make sure that you provide the best tangible experience of your assets.
Sometimes, giving up top spots allotted to your CEO or leadership to high value customers will help strengthen relationships. According to Prof. Bruce, this will help you build financial and social bonding with your high value customer.
His highly acclaimed book “Charity Marketing: Delivering Income, Campaigns and Services,” elaborates on the theory and practice of building effective nonprofit marketing strategies.
No one talked.
The boss did not call meetings. We worked in silos thinking that everything was going on well with the world. Until, one day work became an autonomous unchallenging tryst with life itself.
A very common situation. During the mid-1990s, I worked for a boss who sat just two feet away. A very nice man but he never believed in feedback. If asked, he would shrug his shoulders and say: “You are doing just fine.”
Managerial feedback is as important as workplace harmony. As human beings, our innate curiosity makes us ask: How and Why.
“You’ve got to look into the mirror before giving feedback to others,” says Suzanne Peterson, Ph.D., Assistant Professor at the WP Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. “Giving and receiving feedback enhances your credibility,” Dr. Peterson said at a recent coaching session I had the good fortune to attend.
How many of us have asked (or rather dared to ask) direct reports about our own performance? I’ve done it and it has helped me immensely. In one instance, a direct report said: “You need to tell us clearly what you want us to do and then let go.” Translated, it meant: “Shut up and trust me with my work.” I understood clearly that trust matters.
Here are some common sense tips to improve feedback:
- Make a list of what you do once every two weeks
- Share important achievements and challenges with your boss
- When good things happen, let your boss know. This adds up during your performance review.
- Jot down key accomplishments as they will help you in your career
- Always keep an eye on where you want to go (make better lists)
- Seek feedback from direct reports and peers
- Even if your boss doesn’t respond, keep sending lists. We all know that record keeping helps.
- Finally, believe in yourself. We can improve and help others be better.