This past weekend, my husband and I took our three kids up to Seattle for what we called a Tourist Weekend. Living so close to the city, we've often popped up there for ballgames or concerts, or just to spend a day or two in different surroundings. But we generally make it a point not to travel like tourists, preferring to ferret out the spots where locals go, the neighborhoods where people actually live. So it had been years since we'd done any of the typical tourist things that visitors to Seattle often do.
We booked a hotel near the Seattle Center, visiting every tourist attraction we had time and energy for. I'd forgotten what a vibrant and fun city Seattle is for travelers, and how much history and knowledge there was for my kids -- and me! -- to soak up.
Our Tourism Experiment got me thinking, though, about how donors experience their interactions with the organizations they support.
Are they tourists, visiting the highlights on your website, giving to the flashiest campaigns?
Or are they travelers, enjoying the chance to feel like insiders in your cause, proud to support efforts that might not be popular, but are just as deserving?
And when was the last time YOU acted as a tourist to your own cause?
As we head into the last rush of year-end madness, it might be a good time to take a fresh look at how your donors experience your organization…and how you experience the organizations you support.
- Log onto your website -- or another organization's -- with a specific question and see how long it takes to find the answer.
- Try giving a gift over the phone.
- Ask a friend to read your newsletter and report what stands out to her -- without coaching!
- Browse through a few old blog posts and see how long it takes you to read them -- and what you retain.
- Respond to one piece of direct mail, taking time to note how easy or difficult it is to follow the instructions. Track how long it takes to receive an acknowledgement.
How does this Tourist Experiment make you feel? Excited about the cause you're touring? Or exhausted and ready to curl up in your generic hotel room?
There is room in most organizations for both Tourists and Travelers, and the most successful organizations are adept at catering to both. And the easiest way to figure out how well you're doing is to take a tour yourself.