Lunchtime Links: Communicate To Solve Member Complaints

Unearth the root cause of your members' complaints. Plus: Understanding who your donors are and what they want their donations to do.

Members should feel comfortable voicing their issues, and your association should be prepared to handle—and, at best bet, solve—their complaints. How to respond to a member’s complaints, and more, in today’s Lunchtime Links.

Kvetching customers: Think an apology or refund will assuage your members’ complaints? Perhaps not, writes Sarah Hill of MC Talks, the MemberClicks blog. The trick, she says, is getting to the root of their grievances and understanding what they’re actually looking to solve. Are they complaining about costs? Maybe you’re not clearly explaining the value of what they’re paying for, Hill says. Your member doesn’t like your speakers? Schedule a one-on-one conversation to hear what she or he wants, she adds. “[A]nticipate questions and complaints and have an answer ready … [T]he most important thing …  is to just listen and sympathize.” How do you deal with member complaints?

Funny ha-ha or funny looking? Need a good laugh? Check out this article from Inc., featuring Dilbert creator Scott Adams being interviewed by a hypothetical CEO who thinks she’s hilarious. “People prefer humor they can relate to,” he jests. “For example, if you tell a funny story about the time your personal chef fell off your yacht and you let him drown because you didn’t feel like going back, your employees will find that relatable. At least from the chef’s point of view.” But the piece nonetheless has a number of good points that leaders at the top should heed in trying to develop a sense of humor, lest they become the Michael Scott of their domain.

The anatomy of a donor: According to a recent report from U.S. Trust, while tax rates make little difference in a donor’s decision to give, 78 percent of wealthy donors would reduce their giving if the estate tax were reduced or taken away, reports The New York Times’s Paul Sullivan. Why the finding—among the others listed—is important for your organization: Be it financing a building or helping kids fund their education, donors want to see results. The problem, however, lies in advisers feeling more comfortable chatting about how to make a donation rather than what the donation will actually impact, Sullivan reports. The takeaway: Give your members insight into the hard outcome of their generous donation to encourage them to keep donating, while feeling good about the gift they’re giving.

How do your members’ donations benefit your organization—and how do you communicate that to donors? Tell us in the comments.


Emma Beck

By Emma Beck

Emma Beck is a contributor to Associations Now. MORE

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