Debriefing is always a good idea as it can assist you to identify opportunities for growth the next time around.
It was interesting to compare the survey results with what was being discussed at the meeting. Some areas that got a fairly good rating on the survey, elicited opportunities for improvement from the group during the meeting. An HR professional at the meeting reminded us that surveys are just one tool toward evaluating a program. And she’s absolutely correct!
In an unrelated situation, I recently read and commented on a post entitled The Cheesecake Factory Gets A Second Chance.
In this post Mark Bialczak, a veteran journalist in Syracuse, NY writes about an experience he had that left a bad taste in his mouth, so to speak. Our comment thread went something like this:
Me: We have a diner in Inglewood. It looks like a place from the 50s. The first time I tried it, it was awesome. The food tasted liked Mom had cooked it. Then they changed ownership or cooks or something and the food no longer tasted as good as before, or even good enough to be consumed by the public. I never went back.
Mark: I am surprised that you haven’t been curious to see if maybe that cook whose food you loved in the diner was off or out sick that second time you visited. You know? You seem to be a person who gives a grace period to folks.
Me: I would have agreed with you, had I not recalled what I actually did!
If I were to respond to a survey that asked me how likely I am to give a restaurant a second chance, I would probably indicate very likely even though my actual behavior, if it were being tracked, may not support that answer.
Does that mean I’m a liar? No, of course not! I’m merely giving the answer I believe to be true of myself.
Evaluating your fundraising program with the use of surveys and candid discussions with donors is a helpful exercise, but it is just one of the tools available to you. Actual revenue and appeal performance data is a better indicator in regards to the success of your fundraising program.
You can’t afford to make global fundraising decisions based solely on survey results or the opinions of a handful of people, even if they are people you greatly respect.
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