Learn about Something Better

This is a follow-on article for Listen to Clients, Hear New Ideas.

After a client has completed your program, you can learn from the client’s experience. What you learn will provide your nonprofit with a competitive advantage, help your nonprofit become a high-performing service provider, attract more clients and donors, raise your nonprofit’s sustainability, and increase the effectiveness of your mission.

Imagine a short while ago a client completed your program. As a result, in a few months or years your client will experience the outcomes promised. Now would be a good time to interview the client and ask questions like:

What challenges (expected and unexpected) did you face when in our program?

Now that you have completed the program what could we have done to enhance your success since leaving our program?

What are the challenges (expected and unexpected) you currently face?

Let us assume that all of the responses are mission centric. The first two questions will tell you how to enhance your program, extend the value of your mission, increase your clients’ potential to successfully complete your program, and raise the probability that your clients will enjoy the outcomes predicted by your mission’s promises. The third question will tell you how to add breadth and depth to your programing, which will also extend the value of your programing and increase the probability that clients will enjoy the outcomes.

The answers to the preceding three questions will provide you with information your competitors are lacking. You will have practical and actionable ideas to help your clients and to help you create one or more competitive advantages. You can use your clients’ words to help your donors visualize how your enhancements, and their next gift to fund those enhancements, will change lives and increase your clients’ success. Your past clients will enable you to build your nonprofit’s future and increase its sustainability.

Next Step:

Use the three questions above with other questions based upon your mission and competitors’ programing to uncover opportunities

Share what your clients say with your donors

Make the enhancements the donors are most willing to fund

Report the results of your enhancements and your clients’ satisfaction to your donors

Nonprofit funds are limited. Therefore, you will need to limit your enhancements to the ones that will change the most lives and attract the most donor support. Increasing the value of your enhancements will make funding the next set of enhancements easier and allow you to undertake larger and more challenging enhancements.

When your donors, alumni, and staff collaborate, your current clients will achieve greater success.

Take It Further:

Talk to your clients’ families for additional ideas

Invite a past client to a board meeting to answer the three questions in front of your board (hearing it directly from a client will have a deeper impact on your board than reading your report)

Follow up regularly with clients who have the best insights and those who are struggling the most


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