Donor Experience Strategy Session Tool

Why not try this innovation tool and conduct a donor experience strategy session?

Paul Williams, author of the Idea Sandbox Blog, has created a simple tool that helps to bring some structure to the planning of brainstorming sessions. He calls it a Brainstorming Brief.

This simple but effective tool appears to be designed with the session facilitator in mind. The idea is to get clear on what you hope to accomplish, invite the right cross-section of well-prepared participants, and be aware of the “frame” within which you need to work, which should lead to better results. I downloaded the brief and edited it to facilitate a customer experience brain storming session. All nonprofit organizations benefit from improved donor experience, but relatively few actually conduct meetings dedicated to that improvement.   Below you will see the template and an example.

Take-away: Use this tool to conduct your own customer experience strategy session.

Donor Experience Brainstorm Brief


Meeting Date:

Brief Date:

Objective / Desired Outcome:

Opportunity / Challenge:


Who Should Be Included:

C – Champions
A – Audience Affected
T – Tasked
B = Buy-In
R = Responsible
I = Informed
O = Okay

What is the Climate / Politics?

With what do participants need to be prepared?

  • Knowledge Ahead of Time
  • Bring With
  • Attitude / Approach 
  • In-Meeting

What can we do that makes working with us easier?

What Are the Measures / Considerations / Constraints


Brainstorm Brief – How To Example:

Provide a title that quickly and clearly describes the meeting.
Example: “XYZ Nonprofit Improving Donor Experience”

Brief Date: Use this to keep track of the most recent brief.

Objective / Desired Outcome: Write specific deliverables of the meeting here. How will success be measured for this meeting? How will success be understood? Keep this short and to the point.
Example: “To think-up five, big, actionable ideas to explore further to build awareness of our key drivers of donor experience.”

Opportunity / Challenge: In one or two sentences, what needs to be addressed? What is so important that it has prompted a meeting? What is broken? What is the problem? What needs to be solved? Keep this short too, you can elaborate in the Background section.
Example:”2012 is going to be a challenging year. We need bigger ideas than ever if we are to stay ahead of the competition.”

Background: Use this space to provide additional background about the opportunity or challenge.

Who Should Be Included:

C – ChampionsThese people will create excitement for this project. They will serve as ambassadors and spread the word for you. You don’t *have* to invite them… but be sure to keep them in the loop.

A – Audience Affected-Who will be affected when the ideas thought up in this meeting are implemented? These could be external such as: customers, vendors, suppliers, etc. Or, they may be internal such as: operations team, front-line employees, leadership, etc. If possible, try to include someone – or a few – from this group. Why make assumptions on behalf of this group when they can be represented.

T – TaskedWho will have activities or tasks to make this idea a reality (builders)? Who will have tasks because of this project (implementors)? Whose roll will be affected?

B = Buy-InWho will be consulted? What specialists should you include who have input and value? Whose buy-in essential?

R = ResponsibleWho is ultimately responsible for delivering this project? Only one name should be in this spot.

I = Informed*Which people need to know about your ideas and decisions? They don’t need to be involved in the process, but want to know the outcomes.

O = Okay*Who needs to provide approval?

*With both the Informed and those who provide the Okay – keep them in the loop. Give them relevant updates that allow them to be ambassadors of your project.

 What is the Climate / Politics? What is the current attitude and behavior of potential participants toward the topic? Are people excited, worried, fearful, energetic, supportive, combative? Does this meeting excite them? Threaten them? 

With what do participants need to be prepared? Here, clearly outline the pre-work needed to for the meeting. Then, communicate these expectations to your participants (ahead of time). This will make your time in-meeting more productive and relevant.

 Knowledge Ahead of Time What should participants do or read before the brainstorm? Industry background, product information, articles, research? Is there something they should experience? Visit the competition? 

Bring With Are there things you want participants to bring? Updates from their departments? A list of their own suggested solutions?  

Attitude / Approach Any additional instructions? Proper sleep the night before? Dress in jeans and sneakers? Leave laptops and mobile phones at the door? Start with a clean slate?  

In-Meeting Is there knowledge or experience you want to ensure the whole group experiences together? Something you want to guarantee they are aware of?  

What can we do that makes working with us easier? As you consider experience it is important to keep in mind that good experiences make working with your organization easier. What can you do that helps facilitate that?  

What Are the Measures / Considerations / Constraints What are the ways you will measure the success of the implemented idea? For example:

  • Meets a timing deadline
  • Logistically possible
  • Ease of implementation / low complexity
  • Uses only existing resources
  • Fits within program of works
  • Doesn’t require additional funding


Edited and reposted from, Bridget Brandt’s

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