Building a customer service strategy for an organization that doesn’t have clients as such seems counterintuitive. However, every non-profit has donors. So a loyal base of contributors is essential for its survival and positive change in the community.

Read on for our tips to improve customer service that can make your non-profit thrive and benefit.

#1 Seek feedback from your communities

Harvesting feedback from your donors and recipients is the easiest way to determine the areas you need to work on to achieve exceptional customer service. Here are things you can do.

  • Ask them directly. You can do an anonymous poll at the charity event or place a bin for reviews in your offline office. Consider also gathering feedback via your volunteers and advocates. Plus, you can tie your feedback collection to a specific campaign to see if donors liked it.
  • Allow leaving feedback via different channels. A feedback form or an exit survey on an organization’s website are efficient tools, but relying only on them isn’t enough. You want to meet your donors where they are. So make sure to reach out via various channels: use an AI chatbot platform, provide a chance to speak in live chat, set up an email newsletter with a feedback form, or integrate your support services into messengers.


If collecting feedback from across your social media seems tedious, you can set up a full-fledged support center that will harvest all the reviews for you. Make sure to do your research and pick a service with reasonable pricing plans, as there are many overpriced customer support software. As an example, check out Intercom pricing to see which communication and customer service features you can get at each pricing level.

#2 Work on establishing mutual trust

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There are almost 1.8 million charitable organizations in the US, and the competition for donors is pretty high. That’s why one of the best things you can do is to build trust with the companies that contribute to your cause and minimize their suspicion.


  • Be transparent with your activities and transactions. 61% of donors are more likely to donate to a non-profit if they see where the money goes. Keeping your plans/activities transparent and available to everyone helps improve the mutual relationship between you and your donors.
  • Show expertise. Let your donors see that you know what you’re doing. Present a clear and detailed plan of improvements in the community. Show that you realize how to fulfill the plan incrementally, so the businesses donating to you understand where their money goes.
  • Create a knowledge base dedicated to learning about the cause. Aside from improving trust with your donors, you need to be transparent with your recipients too. Make sure to have a detailed FAQ section or a knowledge base that explains how you plan to make an impact and meet their expectations. You can create it from scratch or use inspiration and tips from professional non-profit managers to avoid the most common mistakes in building a knowledge base.

#3 Stay in touch with your donors

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People become donors to various charitable organizations because they want to contribute to the change. For them, an important factor is to feel recognized and appreciated. Make their donations feel valuable by staying in touch, providing them with info, and offering personal rewards: 

    • Assign membership tiers for your donors. Depending on the donation size, let your donors receive personal rewards, such as a “thank you” letter or a postcard. Or, you can reward them with merch or a ticket to a private charity event.
  • Re-engage with existing donors. Make sure you stay in touch with regular contributors. Send them a catchy email with a wrap-up of your current achievements, ask for their feedback, and make sure to share your future plans and strategies.
  • Use omnichannel targeting campaigns. Omnichannel experiences are the future of targeted ads, and they can be beneficial for charities. With this approach, you can create more personalized communication with donors and stay more open to their requests.


At the same time, it’s important to value your donors and take care of their online privacy and never disclose their contact information.

#4 Train your staff to communicate with donors

Communicating with donors is as important for a non-profit volunteer as it is for the executive board. Plus, it’s an essential aspect of the customer service strategy. Here’s what you can do to set up a proper communication culture in your customer service team:


  • Onboard, train, and support your staff. Create a learning system for your non-profit staff, where they can learn the basics or refresh their current skills. Make sure to update the contents of the system with major policy updates.
  • Focus on emotional intelligence (EQ). One of the main problems you can encounter with remote customer support is difficulties with recognizing human emotions over text. To avoid this, focus your staff training on emotional intelligence. Practice things like active listening, responsiveness, conflict management, and empathy. This will allow your employees to handle negative experiences better and achieve excellent customer service.


If you provide customer service via phone calls, it’s also a good idea to use call tracking for customer support as it allows you to analyze conversations and understand your donors’ needs better.

#5 Promptly handle negative experiences

Your donors are human beings with human emotions. This means that you’ll have to deal with negative customer experiences at some point. Here are some strategies for solving these issues:


  • Practice active listening. Acknowledging negative experiences and being willing to listen can have a big cooling effect on an irritated donor. Remember that anger often comes from miscommunication or misunderstanding rather than from poor customer service. Addressing the root of the problem and offering a solution can help you mitigate the damage and it also affects customer satisfaction that results in more leads with time.
  • Be patient and responsive. Sometimes, giving your donors space to voice their issues and don’t interrupt them helps eliminate negative emotions. Also, you might want to let them know how you addressed the problem and what measures were implemented. This will give your donors the sense that their voice is valuable and improve trust.


These simple tips will help maintain the empathetic image of your non-profit. Additionally, by resolving a single negative customer service experience, you’ll have a solution for similar issues in the future.

#6 Create awareness about your cause

Raising awareness is crucial for the survival of any non-profit. It draws attention to the cause, which helps the charity to increase its donor base and obtain its advocates on diverse platforms.

Here’s what you can do to make your non-profit organization more present in the discourse:


  • Increase your presence on social media. Only 53% of non-profits use paid advertising for social media promotion. And almost all of those who use it limit themselves to Facebook. Meanwhile, social media, such as TikTok or Instagram, are a great way to promote the cause among younger generations, increase your community, and boost social media presence with ease.
  • Let volunteers share their experiences working for you. People are more likely to listen to someone they know and admire. So allow volunteers and staff to share their experiences and spread the word about the cause on their social media.


A defined customer service strategy is an efficient way to build trust with the donors of your non-profit and increase community satisfaction. The key things here are keeping your activities and finances transparent, updating your donors about your plans, and addressing negative experiences on the go.

The tips in this article can help you enhance your non-profit with amazing customer service and make it more attractive to donors, so you can easily meet your goals.

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