Donor Perception Report: We rank the highest in donor satisfaction

Center for Effective PhilanthropyIn the fall of 2013, we contracted with the Center for Effective Philanthropy to conduct a Donor Perception Survey to learn what donors most value about the Oklahoma City Community Foundation and its services and resources. For those of you who participated, thank you for spending time to provide our Trustees and our staff with invaluable feedback.

Overall, our donors have exceedingly positive perceptions of the Oklahoma City Community Foundation compared to donors of the typical community foundation. On nearly every measure in the report, respondents rated the Foundation higher than 80% of the funders in CEP’s comparative dataset. In particular, we received the highest ratings for donor satisfaction out of the 53 community foundations that have used the Donor Perception Report.

To those of you who participated, thank you.

To: Jennifer Stewart, Donor Services
From: Grace Nicolette, Manager, Center for Effective Philanthropy
Jenny Goff, Research Analyst, Center for Effective Philanthropy
Subject: Key Findings and Recommendations from Oklahoma City Community Foundation’s 2013 Donor Perception Report
Date: November 4, 2013

The Donor Perception Report (DPR) is a management tool that creates insight about donors’ perceptions of the community foundations to and through which they contribute or establish funds. Donor perceptions should be interpreted in light of the unique goals, strategy, and context of the community foundation. Low ratings may be expected in an area that is not core to the foundation’s strategy.

The following memo contains the Center for Effective Philanthropy’s (CEP) synthesis of findings and recommendations from Oklahoma City Community Foundation’s (OCCF) 2013 survey of its donors.

Overview
Overall, OCCF donors have exceedingly positive perceptions of the Foundation compared to donors of the typical community foundation. On nearly every measure in the report, OCCF donors rate the Foundation higher than 80% of the funders in CEP’s comparative dataset. In particular, OCCF receives the highest ratings for donor satisfaction out of the 53 community foundations that have used the Donor Perception Report. And OCCF donors indicate that they are more likely to recommend the Foundation to a friend or colleague than do donors at 95% of the foundations in CEP’s comparative dataset. Donors frequently describe OCCF as “professional,” “efficient,” and “helpful.” In the words of one donor, “The Foundation has for many years had an outstanding reputation in this community. Its existence has enabled the support and funding of countless non‐profit endeavors.” Another donor says, “To my knowledge the OCCF is the only foundation widely respected for its efficient and trusted management of specific funds. Friends from out of state are aware of and respect the OCCF’s administrative staff and the investment record of the foundation.”

Use of Foundation Resources
OCCF’s resources are widely used by its donors. Only 17 percent of OCCF donors – a much smaller than typical proportion – indicate that they use no foundation resources. Furthermore, donors indicate that all of OCCF’s resources are very helpful, rating the helpfulness for each higher than that of the resources at the typical community foundation. Among OCCF’s resources, donors find Donor Central and the Annual Report to be the most helpful in achieving their charitable giving goals.

Among OCCF’s resources, the Annual Report is the most widely utilized by donors to achieve their charitable giving goals with 61 percent of donors indicating that they use it. Donors indicate that the Annual Report is very helpful, giving it the second highest helpfulness rating of all of OCCF’s resources. Donors who indicate that they use the Annual Report to achieve their charitable giving goals give OCCF higher ratings on many measures including the extent to which it connects them to their community and increases their knowledge of issues important to them.

While Donor Central is not as widely utilized as the Annual Report with only 31 percent of donors using each, donors rate it the most positively for helpfulness out of all of OCCF’s resources. As one donor explains, “The primary reason I use the OCCF is because of the online Donor Central. It is very convenient to transfer appreciated stock to OCCF and make grants online.” Since donors find OCCF’s resources very helpful – particularly Donor Central and the Annual Report – the Foundation should continue to invest in these resources and consider whether it can encourage even more donors to use them.

Quality of Donor Relationships
OCCF donors are interacting with the Foundation at a similar frequency as donors at the typical community foundation. While the proportion of donors who utilize the advice and expertise of Foundation staff is also typical, OCCF donors rate the helpfulness of this advice and expertise higher than typical. One donor describes staff as “very aware of local needs and issues.” Furthermore, OCCF donors rate the responsiveness of Foundation staff more positively than typical. They also identify the quality of the Foundation’s staff as one of the main reasons they chose to give to OCCF over other options, and 94 percent of OCCF donors indicate that they are satisfied with the quality of OCCF’s staff.

There is room for OCCF to build upon these very positive ratings and continue to improve its donor interactions. Only a typical proportion of donors (74 percent) at OCCF indicate that they have a designated contact at the Foundation, and only a typical proportion (34 percent) indicate that they have communicated their personal charitable goals to the Foundation. Donors with designated contacts rate the Foundation more positively on several measures in the report compared to those without a designated contact, and donors who have communicated their goals to the Foundation rate it more positively on several measures compared to those who have not communicated their goals. In particular, the donors who have communicated their charitable goals, indicate that they are more likely to recommend the Foundation to a friend or colleague and that the Foundation enhances their knowledge about the issues they care about to a greater extent. Moreover, OCCF donors who have communicated their charitable goals to the Foundation rate its understanding of these goals higher than do donors at more than 90% of the other funders in CEP’s comparative dataset. Given OCCF’s comparative strength at understanding donors’ goals, the Foundation may want to consider encouraging a larger proportion of donors to share their personal charitable giving goals with Foundation staff.

Donors’ Future Giving
OCCF donors indicate that they are more likely than typical to continue giving to the Foundation, even though the size of their giving outside the Foundation currently and the proportion of their giving that goes to OCCF are both typical. Only 15 percent of OCCF donors say that they are not planning on giving to the Foundation in the next five to ten years. These donors do not differ significantly from other OCCF donors based on age, but do differ in their initial motivations for giving to OCCF and tend to have different patterns of engagement. They are more likely to have made their first gift to the Foundation in order to support a specific organization, and they are more likely to have never received personal emails or calls from the Foundation, had in‐person meetings with the Foundation, or emailed or called the Foundation themselves.

The methods through which donors first learn about OCCF differ from those at the typical community foundation. OCCF donors are most likely to identify “Other” sources (most commonly a non‐profit organization) and Foundation staff as their first source of information about the Foundation. Only 13 percent – a smaller than typical proportion – of donors are referred to the Foundation by professional advisors, compared to 21 percent at the typical Foundation. These donors referred by a professional advisor have similar patterns of giving both to and outside of the Foundation compared to other OCCF donors. If the Foundation wishes to grow its donor base, it could raise its visibility among professional advisors in order to increase the number of donors referred to the Foundation.

Recommendations
Based on OCCF donor feedback, CEP recommends the following:

  • OCCF donors give the Foundation exceptional ratings for their satisfaction with the Foundation.
  • Identifying which key values and practices have led to this result can be a helpful team practice.
  • OCCF offers helpful resources, with Donor Central and the annual report being rated as the most helpful. The Foundation should continue to invest in these resources and increase the proportion of donors using them.
  • OCCF donors who have a designated contact at the Foundation rate it more positively on a number of measures, as do those that have communicated their personal giving goals.
  • Depending on staff capacity, OCCF could provide a larger proportion of donors with a designated contact and could encourage a larger proportion of donors to communicate their personal charitable goals to staff.
  • A smaller than typical proportion of donors first learns of the Foundation from a professional advisor. Since donors who are referred by a professional advisor have similar giving patterns as other donors, OCCF could seek out opportunities to increase referrals from professional advisors.