The Non-Profit Storyboard is a place for non-profit workers to share the stories that have fundamentally shaped our approach to our work. We encourage all to share your stories and help the non-profit community learn the valuable lessons found in them. Please submit your story to firstname.lastname@example.org for consideration. Here's another great story with a powerful lesson. . .
We had just invested a huge sum of money, energy, and effort into launching a new Associations Management System (AMS). A feature of the new system that we were so happy to have was the ability to let our members self-generate invoices. This gave members the freedom to obtain an invoice at any moment and removed a tedious task from our staff. One day a member gave me a call and asked for a renewal invoice. So I explained to him how he can go into the new system and generate an invoice himself. He replied, “ Yeah. . . that’s not going to work for me. I’m getting my company to pay for the membership and I need an invoice to come via an official email from the organization.” What did I do? First, I said to him, “I got you.” Then I generated the invoice for him and emailed it to him from an official organizational email box. I told him next year if you need the same thing, give me a call and I’ll take care of you. At the next Annual Convention, the member sought me out to thank me. He told me that had I not provided him with his special request, he would no longer be a member.
What's most important about this story is not that we were willing to subvert the new process created by the AMS, but the impact that it had on the member. While it was a simple process to fulfill his request form our perspective, it was a make-or-break decision from his perspective. Because we chose to Do Right by the member, the bond between him and the organization wasn't broken, but made stronger. The Little Things Matter!