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Who Is Our Nonprofit's Customer?


Identifying our nonprofit's customers

Today, we dig into the second of Peter Drucker’s five simple but powerful questions.


Question 2. Who is our customer?


This is a tricky question for nonprofits because there are multiple levels of customers.

Not everyone is a customer of everything.


Primary Customer

Primary customers are why the we exists.


The primary customers are the ones we provide value in helping solve their problem and who must be satisfied. We may serve one or multiple groups. Our primary customer may be children struggling with illness, our battered environment, abused animals, or patrons of the arts.


Primary customers are usually easy to identify. They are the ones we serve. We help them survive and thrive.

Identify the primary customer

Supporting Customers (Champions)


Here’s the tricky part, identifying supporting customers ... champions of our cause. Champions share our cause.


Champions care about solving the problems we solve.

Champions support an organization that is effectively growing mission impact for the cause they support. If we are growing mission impact, we provide them value. They connect through our organization as a vehicle to grow their mission impact.


Their support helps us grow mission impact of the shared cause.


Identify each different group inside and outside our organization that supports the cause. This may be donors, volunteers, individuals, businesses, religious organizations, civic groups, foundations, or community partners. Support may be financial or in-kind donations, volunteering time, providing referrals or other resources.


The reality is, not everyone in the community cares about our mission. Our challenge is to focus on finding the champions that share our cause.


Our challenge is to identify Champions that care about the cause we care about. And, invite them to join us.

Satisfying Our Customer

The customer has a choice to accept or reject our services. If we don’t treat them with dignity and respect, if our service or product is poor ... they won’t return.


Effective organizations provide value that solve the customer’s problem. And the customer must be satisfied. Primary and secondary customers value organizations that solve their problem and are satisfied with our results.


Customers, primary and supporting, have the choice to engage or leave the nonprofit's services. We must treat them with dignity, respect, and offer quality services or products to retain their engagement.


Customer satisfaction is the cornerstone of successful nonprofit operations.

Nonprofits have a diverse range of customers, from primary beneficiaries to supporting champions. The key lies in effectively recognizing and engaging these groups to fulfill the organization's mission while delivering value and ensuring satisfaction from all customers.


Customer questions? Book a 30 min. call with Wes


Wes Legg


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