This article on ‘Why is First Point of Contact so important?charityvillage.com.was originally posted by Susan Fish on
It can be argued that staff who are the first point of contact with your organisation, which includes but isn’t limited to receptionists, call centre employees, and gift processors, are among the most important positions in an organisation and should be supported as such.
Each staff member is your organisation, says behaviour change consultant Derek Stockley. An organisation can have 10,000 employees but for the customer — the volunteer, donor, client or member of the public — the one person they meet functions as the organisation’s representative or ambassador.
Donna Lockhart, partner with the Rethink Group, notes that first point of contact can be anyone from a senior executive to a volunteer, but that there are certain roles that include this function as a primary responsibility. Marketer Allison Gauss says, “Starting off on the right foot can be the difference between landing a valuable donor or falling off their radar.” The same can be true for first contact with volunteers or the general public: first impressions matter.
This can be translated into very tangible terms for the organisation, cautions fundraising consultant Fraser Green of Good Works. “If you contact a charity and they treat you like a queen, you might stay with them for twenty years.” In a world where donor retention and loyalty are legitimate challenges, Green adds, “Every opportunity to create donor loyalty is an opportunity to make a huge return on a small investment.”
Effectively, it comes down to customer service, even if a nonprofit’s customer base may be a more complex group than a for-profit venture’s. Staff who are the first point of contact need to be trained, for instance, to recognize their role within an organization’s philanthropic goals and to help potential and existing donors, as well as to engage with and support volunteers and clients as valued customers.
When we asked CharityVillage followers on Twitter which nonprofit organizations in Canada had the best receptionists, the Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver was quick to reply that their receptionist, Kat Palmer is “amazing.” Interim CFO Jules Marshall explained…
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