Donors, like many of you, are the fuel that drives our nonprofit engine. Nonprofits have always needed to make their donors feel appreciated, educate them on how their gifts are being utilized and invite feedback on how to do better. That’s never been more important than today, with no shortage of community needs and limited resources for most philanthropists. CWC conducted our first donor survey at the end of 2020 and here’s how you said we’re doing. All responses were anonymous, inviting the most direct and honest feedback, which is what we really wanted.

Highlights include what CWC is doing well:

  1. R.E.S.P.E.C.T. – 97% of donors surveyed said CWC always treats them with respect. 3% said “sometimes,” so we definitely have some work to do so that we’re ALWAYS treating all donors with respect 100% of the time.
  2. CWC does thank its donors enough. 82% of donors shared that they were thanked enough or could be thanked even less often. 18% of surveyed donors said they should be left alone so that CWC can focus on other work.
  3. 69% said that CWC should make it a top priority to focus on investments in the Santa Cruz Riverwalk such as the Chinatown Bridge Project.

Encouragement from an anonymous CWC donor: What I like most is just how you’re increasing visibility/awareness/connection to the river for the community overall.

Areas for improvement include:

  1. Just under 70% said that CWC was very or extremely effective at keeping them informed of how their gifts are being used. Sounds like we’re thanking enough and we can share more information to keep donors educated and informed. Since each of us is different, we’re doing a better job of noting how you’d like your updates and what works best for you.
  2. The average CWC donor is 63 years old, 65% are female and 95% identify as white. In a variety of ways, CWC can diversify our base of donors – and our Board, staff, volunteers and partners too. There is creativity, energy and financial wealth in all corners of our community and this river work requires support from everyone. We’re doing the hard work of examining equity and white supremacy culture internally to address this lack of diversity and equity.
  3. CWC’s net promoter score is just 52, simply not good enough. 62% gave us a 9-10 out of 10, but we have too many “passive” scores (7-8), meaning that people like CWC. What happens when there are other demands on donors’ time, attention and financial resources? CWC needs to earn the love of donors and nurture passionate supporters to help in a variety of ways. We’re examining this and we invite your input if you have specific suggestions.

Specific response to “What can CWC do better?”:
Maybe advocate more strongly for the river (push City/others, maybe even have political/legal force).

Here’s a word cloud of responses to the question “What does CWC do well?”

Word cloud donor survey results

Check out some of the images below for more results from our first robust donor survey. Thank you to each of you who shared some of your valuable time to give this feedback. We’ll be asking periodically to track our progress and we always invite input on how we can be the best place to invest for anyone wanting to create positive change for the river and community. Contact CWC Executive Director Greg Pepping at any time to help us improve!

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