They’re peeved off, now what

Why is it that some in the charity sector don’t know how to handle donors who may be annoyed with you, donors who may feel you’re not deliverying on what you say you will do.

It’s not rocket science, dealing with disgruntled donors is and should be treated in the same was as businesses would deal with disgrutled customers. Simple, customer service skills are needed.

We all know the importance of having, and maintaining donors and that if donors aren’t happy how this can impact on the work of the organisation; so knowing what to do is important, as is acting in a timely manner.

As with dealing with a grumpy customer, dealing with disatisfied donor means listening to what the donor has to say, not forming judgement, and doing things to placate them whilst sticking with your organisation’s mission and policies.

The key to dealing with donor complaints is to listen, you can’t handle anything if you’re not listening. And by listening, I don’t mean hearing; you need to be able to isolate what the real issue is that the donor has.

Donors don’t just have the choice to call and complain these days, they will (and do) take to email and will share their experiences online; sometimes on your social media platforms, sometimes not. Where ever and however they complain, you need to know and acknowledge their complaint (which may not even be a complaint as such).

It’s important when dealing with any complaint to be patient, to not respond rashly and to show the donor you care about the issue they have raised.
You don’t want to just be answering their immediate concern, you should be referring to other things your organisation is doing to improve donor relations. Remember, people, donors or shoppers simply want to be treated courteously and to be listened to – AND – they want their problems resolved.

If the ”complaint” is online, make sure you repsond, even if you simply say ”thanks for raising your concern, let me look into and I’ll get back to you.” Anything is better than nothing. But, make sure you look into it, and make sure you follow up with the person.

Having said respond to online comments, one thing you should be doing, which many organisations don’t seem to be doing is monitor their social media accounts.

If someone says something on one of your accounts, it’s not just to vent, they do expect a response, so make sure you are getting notified when someone posts on your FaceBook or Twitter, or other site you use. Be timely with any reponse, it shows you care, not only care about the person raising an issue, but it also shows you’re aware and professional to others who seethe post – current and potential supporters.

Not all complaints or concerns will be by letter, phone or online, some people will send an email Most often the email they will send it to will be the, but does this ensure the person who can respond gets the email? Probably not, so make sure whoever receives emails to info@ knows what they are expected to do when they receive a complaint or other emails raising concerns.

Whatever way you handle complaints, remember never take it personally, the person complaining isn’t complaining about you, they are complaining about a situation. If you take things personally you will react in ways that won’t do you, the donor or your organisation any favours.

Remember too, that in the main donors are nice, kind and understanding, there are only ever a few occasions when things can go sour, so don’t dwell on the negatives, this won’t do you any good.

Social Media Fallout

You may have seen the article on about the hotel employee who was dismissed for making disparaging comments on Facebook about a blogger; how would you handle something like this, do you have a policy about what staff (and volunteers) can say and do with their personal time, their person social media posts?

Have a read of the article, then have a think about how you would handle such a situation.

Hotel worker sacked over abusive Facebook post to columnist

A Sydney hotel supervisor has lost his job after making a sexist and offensive comment on the Facebook page of Fairfax Media columnist Clementine Ford.

The Meriton Group confirmed that Michael Nolan was no longer employed by the company, after he labelled Ford a “slut” when she spoke out publicly against misogyny and online harassment.

Ford, a weekly columnist for Daily Life, made a number of posts on her Facebook page on White Ribbon Day, which aims to prevent men’s violence against women, in which she highlighted recent examples of online harassment she had received.

Ford included screenshots of a number of abusive messages that had been sent to her, including images Ford said were a “little violent in theme”, and included unsolicited images of male genitalia.

Continue reading  the full article here

There are organisations that have internal social media policies, these generally state that an employee/volunteer won’t say or do anything that will bring the organisation into disrepute. They often will also point out the consequences should someone say or do something that could tarnish the reputation of the organisation.

But, is this acceptable, can an organisation state what an employee can or can’t do in their own time?

What’s your take?

Note: I don’t condone bullying, trolling or any such behaviour, so I am not defending the guys actions, merely raising a point of discussion.

Social or Anti-Social, Social Media

It’s not new, people have often said that social media said that social media is making us anti-social. A couple of discussions I’ve seen of late are seeming to bring this discussion to the forefront again, so I thought I’d bring it up – again.

Duncan Garner, a New Zealand media identity recently went on a family trip, he decided to take time out from social media (and other communications; emails, txt, calls) in a recent article “No wi-fi, no worries” – Duncan said “Much like kicking heroin, the first 24 hours of smartphone withdrawal are the toughest. It took every ounce of mental strength to leave it behind at the accommodation (a strangely tough decision even though it was useless to me).

What would it feel like to you if you gave up social media for, lets say 24 hours … how much anxiety would it cause, could you cope?

If you do this in your own time, your evenings, weekend, or holiday; it may not seem as bad, but what if you did it during your work week – your personal social accounts, that is?

Often people in the nonprofit (NFP) sector have a perception that they should be using their personal accounts to “promote” who it is they work for, the work of the who they work for; the issues etc, but should staff be allowed, nay, encouraged to disconnect?

We all need downtime, there’s a time when we need to just disconnect; whether this is to spend time with family, friends or just on our own – we should do it.

If you share, post or other things associated with the organisation you work with, you could be doing yourself a disservice; could come across, at least to your immediate (family, friends, close associates) as being needy for your employer?

Sure, there’s the argument that family, friends etc would only see this as being “who you are” – but to others it could be seen as something negative, negative to you and your organisation.

When did you last take a break from social media – how did you cope? (I last took a break a few days ago, didn’t last long, all of 8 hours, and 6 of those I was sleeping).

Technology Trends for Nonprofits in 2014

Came across this and thought it was worth sharing – what are your thoughts on the trends, do you see more use of Mobile, Social Media use?

“In 2014, technology will continue to have an even greater impact on nonprofits,” said Mary Beth Westmoreland, Blackbaud’s vice president of product development. “Tremendous opportunities exist for these organizations to use technology to deliver on their missions in a very effective and scalable way, both when engaging with supporters and when managing back-end operations.”

Key Technology Trends to Watch in 2014:

  • Mobile will be even more pervasive:
    Mobile will continue to be an essential part of how nonprofits engage with supporters and expand the reach of their staff.Nearly half of emails are now read on mobile devices. This means having a mobile-friendly approach to engaging donors has never been more important. Mobile devices are quickly becoming the platform of choice for computing and collaboration versus sitting behind a desk, and will change how organizations leverage data and drive mission delivery.

Read the full article

Workshops – Social Media for Social Causes


Want to know how to connect, engage and encourage support for your organisation with social media, then this workshop is for you.

Everyone raves about the power of social media, but unless you know what you are doing it can seem like a challenge and too much work, this workshop will help you see that with the right tools and strategy you can make social media work for your cause.


Learn the best platforms to use for your organisation – is it, FaceBook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+

  1. How to put together your social media strategy
  2. Get tips on how to ensure effectiveness of online activity
  3. Setting goals and measuring outcomes
  4. Come away with practical, instantly implementable tips on putting social media to work for your organisation

Places for the workshops will be limited, early registration is essential. 


Tauranga 12th Feb

Hotel Armitage

Wellington 21st Feb – Postponed


Hamilton 26th Feb

Bill Gallagher Centre – WINTEC

Christchurch 28th Feb


Auckland 5th March

Jubilee Centre, Parnell


9:00am to 12:30pm

Registration from 8:30am


$150 pp (incl GST)

Morning Tea is included

To register your interest in attending please email

To register your place, email your details along with event you wish to attend. An invoice will be sent along with confirmation. Payment is due 7 days following the invoice.






Don’t abandon Social Media – change the way you use it

There’s been recent talk that businesses are abandoning social media, maybe some are, in my view it’s likely to be those that dived in without having any idea on what they wanted to achieve using it.

Don’t let talk of people ditching social media put you off from using it, even if you haven’t gained all you though you may from it, instead look at the way you’re using it – is there anything you can do differently?

Perhaps your feel you don’t have the time being time poor can be a reality, but there’s ways around that.

Something I often suggest to organizations I talk with about using social media is that you don’t need to be on Facebook or Twitter (or any of the other platform) all day everyday. What I suggest is that when you take yourself away from your core work to check emails etc, take an extra couple of minutes to check your social media sites. 

When you do it this way you’ll soon find that time isn’t really the issue, it’s more likely you didn’t know what (or how) you wanted to achieve using social media. Would you run an advertisement in the paper if you didn’t know what it’s goal was – no – social media is no different.

Have goals, plans and be part of the online community – talk about your organization yes, don’t only talk about “you”, talk about your donors/supporters. Their stories are likely to gain you more traction than talking about yourself.

If you’re not sure how you can better make use of social media – you’ll find a wealth of information and knowledge online – if in doubt ask, ask and ask some more. 

Social Media, Relationships and the Playground

How difficult do you think it is to use social media for your organization? 

Some organizations seem to think they need a degree in aeronautics, or have spent a period of time on the space station – or that they need to employee someone to do it for them.

It’s not that difficult, in fact it’s pretty much common sense, getting started is the key – knowing what you have to share and where you want to share it is important, so a strategy is recommended, but then it comes to how you share.

When you’re online it’s important to follow a few ‘rules’ – this article from Social Media Girlfriends is worth a read.

“All You Need to Know About Relationships and Social Media, You Learned on the Playground!” 


Your reputation matters – a social media tightrope

We all know what social media can do, the positives and the negatives – sometimes it can be like walking a tightrope, a balancing act.

Being personable, being yourself is important, people want to engage with an individual not a hum drum corporate code of practice, but in being ourselves online we do run the risk of our reputation coming into question, or tarnishing the reputation others have of us. 

Whether a business, a community organization the same applies – “

Protecting your Online Reputation – Walking the Social Media Tightrope” Simpson Grierson say “Social media offers new and powerful opportunities to connect with customers and build brand but carries with it significant reputational risk. In this FYI we suggest some strategies for managing your online reputation and mitigating the risks of using social media” 

Food for thought in the article are around 

  • a damaging post on a lesser known blog site gets picked up by mainstream media. Once damaging material is available online, it becomes difficult to completely remove the material or references to it, leaving your organisation vulnerable to on-going or resurrected attacks years down the track;
  • dissatisfied customers engage in digital picketing to criticise, complain or leave negative reviews about your product;
  • protestors or activists hijack your organisation’s social media presence and use it to vent their criticisms;
  • current or former employees make offensive, derogatory or commercially sensitive remarks via your organisation’s social media channels;
  • your website inadvertently publishes or republishes defamatory content, potentially exposing your organisation to unwanted publicity or legal liability; or
  • “fans” on your Facebook page post comments about your products, attracting the attention of the Commerce Commission. 

Who’s the most generous – Twitter or Facebook users?

This maybe out of the UK, but it’s worth a read given that Twitter is like all other social media – global, maybe it’s too soon to know if this is the case in New Zealand, but it’s worth storing the information away ready for when you’re planning your next campaign.


Twitter users most generous charitable donors on social media Facebook users give to charity more often but Twitterers are more generous, new research suggests. 

Data compiled via charitable website JustGiving suggests that Tweeters give £30, YouTube viewers give £28 and people on Facebook £18.

LinkedIn users averaged £25 while users of the new Google+ social network currently donate an average of £17.77. 

JustGiving claim that “social giving, or donating to charity as a result of a call to action from social media, has increased exponentially over the past year, with Facebook the core driver”. Donations driven from Facebook make up over a quarter of all donations made on JustGiving in September 2011 – a rise of 130 per cent over the past year, while by comparison

Twitter currently drives less than 1 per cent. JustGiving estimates that by 2015, Facebook will be responsible for up to 50 per cent of all online donations.

Read the full story here