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What Do Your Clients Need?

Every nonprofit should have the same answer to, “What do your clients need?”

Ideally the answer is, “Nothing. We already provide everything they need.” Many nonprofits are able to provide that answer. Most of them are regularly asking the question in the hopes of keeping their programs fresh, relevant, and effective.

Asking the introductory question periodically keeps a nonprofit in tune with the evolving needs of its community. Asking a different questions places the nonprofit in a leadership position in the community.

Nokia was the number one cellphone company in the world. Today, they are scrambling to catch up to the leaders (Samsung and Apple). Today’s leaders are the leaders because they asked themselves, “What will our clients need?” The answer to that question has allowed them to surpass Nokia. In addition, all of us have the potential to benefit because of the new tools and services we have available to us.

Naturally, the new leaders had to provide what Nokia was providing (“what the customers need”) as well as the something we were going to need (“What will the customers need?”). The leaders become the leaders and will sustain their leadership by being able to answer both questions.

It takes a few years from the time the leader recognizes the need before the solution is available. It only takes a few days for everyone else to recognize the need after the leader delivers the solution to the market.

Money follows success. Your donors will be more generous when they see your nonprofit as a leader. Donors are as concerned about your future clients having what they need as the donors are about ensuring your current clients receive what they need. In addition, leading nonprofits have the strength (sustainability) to weather the storms.

Next Step:

Remember it is more important to focus on the future of your clients than their present needs

Ask what your clients will need in the future at least once every 6 months

Develop a plan to meet the future needs of your clients and incorporate everything they currently need in the plan

Engage your donors in support of the future needs of your clients

Leaders demonstrate their expertise and understanding of their clients by having solutions before the clients have problems.

You have a choice. You can define the future or let someone else define what your future will be. Asking the question, “What will our clients need?” allows you to control your mission’s future.

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