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See GivingDNA in action alongside your peers in fundraising. Tour the Platform on 5/26/21 @ 12pm CDT.


If you have any experience as a customer, the brand that served you will evoke some sort of feeling in you, whether it’s positive or negative. Those feelings often are associated with specific experiences you or someone you know have had with that brand. Consider what immediately comes to mind when you think of these brands:

  • Disney
  • United Airlines
  • Starbucks Coffee
  • Comcast
  • Southwest Airlines

What do you think of when you see these brands? What feelings do they evoke? What do you associate with each brand?

Some of these companies are well known for their focus on delivering excellent customer experiences, and others are known by their negative word of mouth. The fact is that for Disney, Starbucks, and Southwest, the culture that they have built around exceeding customer expectations and creating positive, memorable experiences has also paid off in terms of revenue for those companies.

You may think that Southwest or Disney or Starbucks are unique and their success is a result of something other than a culture that is designed around the customer.  But there is a lot more evidence supporting a tangible link between a relentless focus on the customer and positive business results. Let’s take a closer look at why customer experience matters.

The American Customer Satisfaction Index is the largest study measuring satisfaction among American consumers. There is also a fund made up of companies that receive the highest customer satisfaction scores. If you were to have invested $100 in that fund in 2000 – your money would multiplied 6x in 14 years. That same $100 in the S&P 500 would gained only $30 over that same period of time. Customer excellence yields results.

Another measure of customer experience is the Net Promoter study which uses one question:  “Would you recommend this company/product or service to a friend?” to determine if a company is meeting its customers’ needs. Those who score highly are called “promoters” and those who score a company poorly are called “detractors.”  Promoters account for 80% of referrals for most businesses while detractors account for 80% of negative word of mouth.

On average, an industry’s net promoter leader outgrew its competitors by a factor greater than two times.


You may be wondering what all of this has to do with nonprofit organizations.  As it turns out….quite a bit!

Dr. Adrian Sargeant’s research on Relationship Fundraising yielded a number of interesting findings. Among them was this statistic: a 10% improvement in your donor retention rate can equate to a 200% increase in donor lifetime value.  

Focusing on building a relationship with your donors and engaging them in a manner such that they want to stay with your organization will result in more than just short-term retention gains – it will have a lasting impact.  Doing so is easier said than done.  It often requires time to unwind old thinking and structures that have been in place for years.  But there are tangible steps you can take to begin to shift your organizational cultures and create better experiences for your donors.

A positive donor experience is directly connected to an increase in revenue and donor loyalty. What can you do today to design an experience that wows your donors?

Learn more about Pursuant’s approach to donor journey mapping here.

If you’d like to have a conversation about turning your data into actionable insights, click here.