Drive your own discoveries by subscribing to ours.

Who is Your Nonprofit Customer?

by | Mar 3, 2020 | Discoveries

Share this post

What a day! Strategy Camp on February 28th took us to Hollywood and back as we explored the power of a customer mindset with a case study about the Oscars. As we embraced the six principles of Differentiation Zone, we realized there is much to learn from industries beyond our own. #WeAreHollywood

Many purpose-driven organizations serve customers and decision makers, such as children and parents, employees and employers, retirees and partner companies, and students and schools. It’s easy to feel confused about the customer when multiple stakeholders are involved.

Even when the sales cycle is complex, rest assured you only have one true customer—the person whose life you promise to impact through mission delivery. I invite you to explore opportunities to strengthen the connection between your customer and your mission.

Trouble awaits when there is a disconnect between your customer’s desired outcomes and the decision maker’s expectations. One expects “A” while the other hopes for the promise of “G.” 

Alignment is your aim. Without it you won’t realize your promised outcomes, and your competitive edge will be diminished. After all, the decision maker is looking to you to deliver mission impact for the person who matters to them—their employee, child, student, or retiree. That person matters most to you too. Wow, talk about powerful alignment.

There is also an opportunity to extend mission impact to the decision maker. For example, consider the scenario of a museum, middle school, or university:

  • How might we bring the joy of science to life for a busy parent while we meet them where they are, with a slice of fun and perhaps something novel? 
  • How might we engage an employer in embracing educational outcomes for their employee (or school for their student), extending the power of their learning experience through post-session tools, support, and encouragement?

Your promised outcomes will only be partially realized without the enthusiastic support of the decision maker.

You have an immense opportunity to bring clarity of customer mindset to your mission and leverage that mindset to extend mission impact to decision makers. Now that’s a powerful differentiator.

The Passion-Driven Pivot

The Passion-Driven Pivot

“What? You’re a Stanford-educated man. You should do something more noteworthy!” That’s the reaction I got from someone whom I told about my pivot to becoming a self-described “Soul Food Scholar.” Many others reacted similarly, especially women that I tried to date....

Stronger Together: Celebrate the Strategy

Stronger Together: Celebrate the Strategy

Corporate strategy can seem a bit esoteric or heady. It's time to make it real by connecting the dots between corporate strategy and your team's day-to-day work. In my experience, executives underestimate the importance of strategy storytelling, crafting a powerful...