KPMG's Six Pillars: A blueprint for charities to elevate donor engagement | Dreamscape Solutions

KPMG's Six Pillars: A blueprint for charities to elevate donor engagement

Regarding customer service, KPMG and their '6 Pillars of Experience' are renowned as the essential building blocks of customer service excellence.


These pillars have been tried, tested, and proven in the commercial sector, setting unparalleled customer care standards. The question arises: how can these established principles be adapted for the Nonprofit (NFP) sector?

Like their commercial counterparts, charity donors and supporters harbour expectations for a high level of customer care. In fact, their connection with a cause often demands an even greater degree of engagement - considering that donors contribute to charities, often without receiving a tangible product or service in return. With this in mind, the lessons embedded in KPMG's pillars offer invaluable insights for charities seeking to enhance the donor experience.

  1. Integrity: Building Trust at the Core

Ensuring integrity is even more critical for charities, given the nature of their transactions. Compared to commercial consumers who see tangible outcomes, charity donors often contribute without receiving a physical product or service. Trust becomes paramount as donors rely solely on the organisation's integrity to ensure responsible and effective use of their contributions. This makes financial transparency, accountability, and ethical practices not just admirable traits but imperative ones. Charities prioritising integrity create a solid foundation for long-term relationships with donors and stakeholders.

  1. Resolution: Turning Challenges into Triumphs

Every interaction is an opportunity, even when faced with challenges. Charities can learn from the resolution pillar by transforming potential setbacks into positive experiences. Effective communication, swift issue resolution, and a commitment to turning a poor experience into a great one can strengthen donor relationships and loyalty. Consider running surveys to ask lapsed donors for feedback; demonstrate your commitment to listening and, when appropriate, actioning their responses.

  1. Expectations: Managing and Exceeding

Managing, meeting, and exceeding customer expectations are essential components of a successful charity. Aligning communications and actions with donor expectations fosters a positive and reliable donor experience. For instance, illustrating strong stewardship, with timely thank you messages as a minimum. Charities that consistently exceed expectations stand out, building a reputation for excellence in the eyes of their supporters.

  1. Time and Effort: Streamlining Processes for Supporters

Minimising donor effort and creating frictionless processes should be a priority for charities. Simplifying donation processes, optimising website navigation, and ensuring hassle-free interactions contribute to a positive donor experience. Charities that respect their supporters' time and effort are more likely to build lasting connections.

  1. Personalisation: Fostering Emotional Connections

The power of personalisation cannot be overstated. Tailoring interactions based on individual preferences and giving histories allows charities to create emotional connections with their supporters. Understanding the unique needs and interests of donors, with personalised communication, fosters a sense of belonging and commitment, demonstrating care for your supporters and improving retention.

  1. Empathy: Understanding the Human Element

A deep understanding of donors' circumstances is a cornerstone of impactful engagement. Charities can drive deep rapport by demonstrating empathy, acknowledging the personal stories behind the donations, and showing genuine concern for the well-being of their supporters. This human-centric approach builds a more profound connection.

Key Takeaways for Charities:

  • Prioritise transparency and ethical practices to build trust - Share regular updates on appeal progress and fund allocation with your supporters.
  • Turn challenges into opportunities for positive engagement. Conduct surveys or feedback sessions to understand why donors lapse and what donors expect from the charity.
  • Align communications and actions to manage and exceed donor expectations. Demonstrate gratitude through thank you messages and automated stewardship campaigns.
  • Streamline processes to minimise donor effort and create a seamless experience. Review your current process through the lens of your supporters.
  • Embrace personalisation to foster emotional connections with supporters. Segment your donor lists based on giving history, donation type, frequency and more to ensure engaging and relevant communication.
  • Cultivate empathy by understanding and acknowledging the human element behind each donation.

 The six pillars of excellence provide a roadmap for charities to navigate the ever-evolving landscape of donor engagement. By incorporating these insights into your strategies, charities can elevate customer experience and build lasting relationships with authenticity and impact.

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