Skip to main content

CX by Design

My recent customer experiences have gone from one extreme to the other.

Great customer experiences: I took my car to my local dealership for the annual inspection. I had an appointment, the attendant greeted me by name, the waiting area was clean, coffee was fresh, and there were rooms where I could use my computer with a bit of privacy.

I attended a conference and stayed at a mid-priced hotel in a part of town popular with tourists. The same barista served me during my three-day stay. She was friendly, efficient, and knew what I wanted on the second day. I gave her an extra tip when I checked out.

Poor service and experiences: At the same hotel, when the valet brought my car, he turned away from me and did not offer to put my bag in the trunk of my car. On another occasion the manager at my bank could not explain an anomaly in my account and got belligerent. I called their customer service number and got an answer to my question.

Our donors are also looking for that exceptional “customer” experience when they support our organizations. To paraphrase Maya Angelo, “…people will never forget how you made them feel.”

There are six pillars of customer experience:

  • Personalization
  • Integrity
  • Expectations
  • Resolutions
  • Time and Effort
  • Empathy

To me, these are very similar to Research, Cultivation, Solicitation, and Stewardship.

Taking a cue from the marketplace, nonprofit leaders and fundraisers could improve their donor relationships and keep (retain) their donors by identifying areas of opportunity where their nonprofit can stand out from others. They could also consistently collect feedback to improve their service to the community and their stewardship of donors.

During my research on CX I found a wonderful quote from Estee’ Lauder, the quintessential entrepreneur who, in the 1950’s, created the multi-million-dollar fragrance and cosmetics company that bears her name.

Because at the end of the day, the efforts we make to create the product we want is all about the customer saying,” I want it, I need it, I’ll use it and I’ll come back again. “

This sounds like donor retention, to me. We cannot ignore our donors between Asks. We want our “product” (service to the community) to be something they want and need to support. And, come back and do it again.


My first exposure to the customer experience sector was when I met Lis and Diana, the founders of CX by Design, on a zoom call for women entrepreneurs. They were kind enough to reply to my email and explain to me what they do. Here’s a link to their website if you’re as curious as I was.

DMGroupConsulting, is your frontline fundraising consultant. Contact us at