Why charities should be more like Ecotricity

I posted a tweet last week expressing my delight at being a customer of Ecotricity. I joined them a few years ago when I realised it wasn’t enough to sign petitions, email my MP and express my support for environmental policies (important as these things are!). Sure, I am far from being a true eco-warrior and I compromise, constantly, between my belief that climate change is really serious and needs urgent action and the lifestyle that I like living. But Ecotricity is one small change I made to try and get the energy I use come from an environmentally friendly source.

But here’s the thing. I’m not a customer to them. I am a world changer. They treat me like I am donating money to their cause, rather than paying for a product. They respond to any queries I have quickly and positively, they always address me by my first name. They made a change to their website at the beginning because I was confused about a link. They send me an annual report each year where they explain what they are doing and how I – a customer – have helped them do more good! They send me a bill promptly and then allow me to pay it how I want, without charging me extra for the method I use. They offer me the chance to support their new plans to grow the green energy industry. They show how their approach is helping the world and how they campaign to change the bad stuff, the big energy companies and their carbon emitting means of production.

In short, they make me feel part of their mission and not just someone paying them for energy. They want to change the world and they know I do too.

When I posted my positive tweet, they sent me a lovely reply:

“Aww thanks for taking the time to share that! I’ll pass your message around the team here for sure 🙂 ^PS”

So, I feel pretty damn special. I feel wanted. I feel part of them. I feel loved. I feel like they care about me, as an individual. And I feel this is genuine. Because we want the same thing – a better world.

Isn’t this how every charity should make their supporters feel?

In fact, isn’t this how every organisation – public, private, voluntary – should make their supporters/customers feel?

If you can’t make people feel passionate and enthusiastic about what you do, why are you doing it? Whether you run a business, deliver local public services or are trying to change the world, you will only achieve your mission if the people who will help you achieve it feel they are united with you, that you value them. All of them, as individuals!

Oh yeah, you should become a customer too, their prices are really good and they want to change the world. Don’t you?

(Full disclosure: Ecotricity have no idea I’m writing this and they haven’t promised me a bill reduction, nor do I want one!)

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