A few years back, I had the privilege to attend the Disney Leadership Institute. It was an all day seminar that ultimately shared the secrets of “How Disney does it”. We learned a great deal about the Disney Brand*. At Disney, no matter how successful the mouse is, or how many children love the princesses, it is about their people. They do a lot to make sure they get the right people (more than I have time to discuss here), and the first thing they do is TEACH and EMPOWER them to go the extra inch.

Think about it. In sales, we call this “under-promise and over-deliver”. The thought of over-delivering is often associated with doing something big for the customer. At Disney, it’s about doing the right thing, really well.

When a child drops a half-eaten Mickey Mouse Popsicle because they are trying to lick the dripping ice cream off their hands, you replace it. Help the parents out by sharing that only good and happy kids get a bonus half, and show how the napkin flower you just made is now going to get its color as the drip zone. And there is a trash can every 20 feet so you do not have to hang on to that sticky napkin or put it in your bag until you find one. If your store on the plaza is slow, one cast member stays in the store, the other cast member goes out on the plaza to guide overwhelmed guest.

We can apply so much of this to working with our donors. We get caught up with recognizing our donors, or having special societies. Recognition is important, and giving societies have their purpose. However, for most donors, it is no about the recognition, it is about the impact.

This is how I perceive going the extra inch with donors. If you work with kids, share a piece of a child’s artwork. Not an image or reproduction, but an actual piece. If you are at a museum, and their gift provides funding for a much needed internship or position, take them to lunch with the person holding that position and invite them to share what the position means to them.

Whatever you consider a change gift (a gift that allows you to add or greatly improve your constituent experience). Whether it is a 5, 6, or 7 figure gift. Take the time to ask your donor what their vision is for your organization.

Going the extra inch usually has little cost and not a lot of planning. Going the extra inch is about recognizing an opportunity to make someone smile, and maybe a little creativity.

  • – To review, a BRAND is what people say about you when you are not in the room. What are the terms which others describe when they see your graphic identity. Think about going through your high school yearbook and how you describe people when you see their picture.
Go the extra inch…
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