A Complaint is a Rose Waiting to Bloom

By Kay Nakamura

Every nonprofit has received a call or member complaint. It doesn’t feel good. It is awful to know that you have let someone who believed in you down but should you chalk it up to a one-time event and let it pass?

Embrace the negative! It is feedback in its truest form. Appreciate and welcome sour comments. Complaints are often delivered with emotion and passion. How you respond, your sincerity in solving the problem, and your return feedback to your member or client can turn a bad experience into a bed of roses. Member, client and donor retention is a risk issue for nonprofits. By addressing discontent promptly with a well laid plan, you can retain your stakeholder and get good word-of-mouth marketing in the same.

Stakeholders with solved problems are gold mines for your organization.

  1. Happy customers who get their issues solved tell about 4-6 people about their experience. — White House Office of Consumer Affairs
  2. It costs 6-7 times more to acquire a new [customer] than retain an existing one. — Bain & Company

Watch this webinar: Tending the Garden of Complaints: Transforming How You Approach Stakeholder Discontent.

Kay Nakamura is Director of Client Solutions at the Nonprofit Risk Management Center. She welcomes your feedback about this article, or your questions about the Center’s products and services. Kay can be reached at 703.777.3504 or Kay@nonprofitrisk.org.