Charities need to apply an ecommerce mentality

Ecommerce is the ‘digital and physical exchange of value between an organisation and an individual’. The customer gives the organisation something they value (money) in return for for something the customer values (goods (although it isn’t really the  goods that hold the value it’s the emotional reward that comes with them)).

When a charity asks for a donation without providing any value in return they force the individual to derive their own value. This reliance on the individual to maintain the one-way relationship leads eventually to reduced loyalty as the individual realises that they don’t need a particular charity to get that emotional reward and that any good cause will do.

Traditionally, charities have considered and referred to the individuals they interact with as ‘supporters’, which implies a one-way process of the individual supporting the charity. Increasingly, there is a shift to considering these individuals as ‘customers’, which conveys the idea that there needs to be a value exchange between the organisation and the individual in order to develop the relationship and maintain loyalty. It’s a good shift.