Speaker | Entrepreneur | Author

Sam Davidson's blog

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The Red Cross is Listening (An Update)!

Yesterday, I wrote about my recent lackluster experiences donating blood to the Red Cross. I detailed how a lack of basic customer service skills motivated me to take my blood donations elsewhere. I clicked publish and then went to start my day. I fed my daughter, took her to school, and then went to the gym for a bike ride. When I came home and hopped back online, I saw how quickly my post had stirred up conversation.

I wrote yesterday's post because I cared. Knowing how important the Red Cross is globally, I hated to think that other people were walking away with bad experiences and no longer donating blood. If I didn't care and want the Red Cross to get better, I wouldn't have written what I did. I would have kept quiet, complained to my wife, enrolled in the Vanderbilt program, and told no one. But because I wanted to see things get better, I wrote about it.

A lot of people weighed in with how negative their experiences had been donating to the Red Cross. Some advocated that I donate blood directly at community hospitals. Some ridiculed the Red Cross and other nonprofits in general for their lack of understanding of donor relations.

Best of all, though, were the comments by Red Cross employees. Of course, they came to the defense of the organization, and appropriately so. They pointed out that even if I chose not to give blood, I could volunteer elsewhere with the organization in critical need areas. They also all noted their willingness to listen and improve.

I am very impressed by this.

Other large nonprofits could easily ignore posts like mine, turning a deaf ear to any complaint. But the Red Cross hasn't. Reaching out to me via Twitter - and then continuing the conversation via email - was someone in their national office. We've begun a dialog about how I can help them provide a better customer experience by telling my story to their team. And, via yesterday's comments, a trip to Chicago is being planned where I'll possibly sit down with a few large nonprofits to talk about how they can remain efficient while better serving donors.

This is a great example of how nonprofits can listen, respond, and improve. If the conversation continues to go well, I believe the Red Cross will be better for it, able to entice and solicit more donors than before, which is good news for all of us. Maybe I'll even be back after my clinical trial participation is through.