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How to ask for a review without being annoying

Posted By Usma Ziard on August 13th, 2012

Usma Ziard

Reviews about your nonprofit establish your organization’s credibility with new comers and trust with existing customers. It gives your other audiences an authentic, first-hand view of your organization while also giving you real-time feedback that you can either publicize to others or use to tweak your own existing practices.

Here are some tips that may help get the process going:

  1. Focus on the little guys: Don’t feel like you must have only big organizations or the big brands reviewing your nonprofit — chances are that you might get lost in the shuffle and you may not get a response. Instead target the little guys — local organizations or customers representing smaller companies or even volunteers. Let them know how much their engagement with your nonprofit means and how you would love for them to write a short review on their latest experience with your organization.
  2. Strike when the iron is hot: Once you have good prospect you need to act very quickly. You already have them engaged — so do something about it! You could offer a pre-written review to get them started and ask your reviewer to edit and customize the review for their experience. Above all else you want authentic feedback, but I find that often you may get a much better response if you craft a few sentences for your reviewer to help get the process moving faster.
  3. Clarity: Be very clear where the review will be placed for example on your site, on collateral pieces, etc. You want to make sure your reviewer is comfortable with the placement of the review.
  4. Approval: Get full approval to use the review in your communication and marketing materials and on your website. Reviews only help your organization if you share them!
  5. Say thank you! People are taking their time out of their busy days to help your organization, so offer them a reward of some kind. It could be a small discount off of one of your services, or a tour of your facility. Even a simple thank you can go a long way.

Here are some different methods to solicit reviews:

  1. Ask them to visit your website. Direct people to a place on your site where they can easily submit a review using: http://www.guidestar.org/rxg/give-to-charity/review-a-charity.aspx or http://greatnonprofits.org/write-a-review (even better would be to allow users to easily find the review page by visiting your home page or prominent placement on landing pages).
  2. Ask by email. Send an email to your customers with a survey asking them to tell you what they think about your nonprofit. SurveyMonkey, http://www.surveymonkey.com/, is a very inexpensive method to use.
  3. Ask over the phone. Decide who want to target and pick up the phone and just ask then nicely.
  4. Ask in person. Invite a few customers for a coffee or something casual and ask them if they mind writing a short review.

Please note that not all reviews need to be outstanding. It is only fair to allow transparency in this area, so be prepared to deal with the bad as well as the good.

I am sure that a number of you may have some other great suggestions and I would love to hear them! Please leave your comment below.

Topics: Nonprofit Leadership and Practice
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