3 reasons why your charity should  start using customer journey mapping

 What is customer journey mapping? 

How will customer journey mapping help my charity?

Isn’t process mapping the same thing?

Before we dive straight into the 3 reasons why I believe your charity should start customer journey mapping, it may be worth defining what it actually means! It’s been a buzzword for years, and it can take many forms, so what is this customer journey mapping all about? In a snappy one liner – a customer journey map is a visual representation of a customer’s experience of an organisation through their eyes including their emotions, satisfaction and needs throughout the particular journey. In my view, it’s not just about charities putting all supporters on a designed journey with sole intention of increasing fundraising income, it’s about understanding the supporter’s experience of the charity. So, how can customer journey mapping help your charity?

Helps you think BIG

It’s safe and easy to look at processes when wanting to make positive customer service improvements. Processes definitely have a place, and can be a useful tool to ensure organisations deliver consistent and reliable customer service. However, customer journey mapping makes you look outside in (supporter looking at charity), rather than a process map is more an inside out view (charity looking at supporter). Customer journey mapping can bring teams together and support collaboration by changing the focus to the entire end to end journey. This can really help break down the silos and away from each individual team just reviewing their own processes without thinking of what happens before and after them, let alone the supporter’s experience of the charity.


“It allows all teams across the business visibly 

see where they fit into the customer’s journey.”


Customer journey mapping allows for blue-sky thinking as well as the quick wins, once you’ve mapped certain journeys it has the ability to encourage you to answer the question – based on the current journey how can we improve the customer experience? Taking into account your organisational culture, internal processes, technology and who does what in the organisation. 


Makes you think like a CUSTOMER


Customer journey mapping enables you to see your organisation from the supporter’s point of view, and can support your charity to understand their needs, experiences and emotions. One way to gather supporter needs is gaining insight through ‘I want’ statements. These are the supporter goals through the journey that can help your charity really focus on ensuring your charity is delivering what the customer actually wants. Example of ‘I want’ statements using an ‘online donation journey’ could be; I want to be able to find the donate button on the homepage, I want to feel recognised for my donation, I want to know what my donation will pay for, I want to feel part of a community, I want to know my personal details are secure. Gathering these insight statements will allow you to assess how you currently meet their wants, and what to focus on.


“..‘I need’ statements will ensure your charity focuses on delivering 

what supporters actually want.”


It’s easy to focus on all the activities that happen when customers are engaging with your charity. However, lots of activities happen without you even knowing. It’s natural to assume a customer’s journey starts when they call up your charity, sign-up for an event or set-up a regular gift. There actual journey will always start a few steps before this and these parts of the journey are often over-looked. How easy is it to find your contact number or to donate? How long do your customers wait before there call is answered? Is the hold music annoying? Does your events page have the right information? Did your supporter actually feel recognised for their donation? Just to name a few!


Supports you in prioritising IMPROVEMENTS

When customer journey mapping the aim is to ultimately understand the customer’s view of your charity and to identify improvements based on customer insight, which could range from quick wins, process changes to technology enhancements. Customer Journey Mapping is a tool that can present the moments that truly matter to supporters and the points of the journey that are not meeting their expectations. This insight can enable your charity to more clearly prioritise the improvements and having the insight to show the value that improvement will make. 


“Customer journey mapping may not give you all the answers but 

it will help you ask the right questions.”


I’d encourage engaging as many people, teams (and supporters) to contribute in journey mapping and implementing improvement outcomes identified. This will support organisations who are making the journey to become more supporter focussed, and promotes greater ownership of business areas rather than customer experience team.


I don’t see customer journey mapping as the end goal, it’s a tool, a doorway, a broker of change. Customer journeys may not give you all the answers but they will help you ask the right questions. See customer journey mapping as a tool in your customer experience toolkit, and don’t forget it mostly comes down to how you use the tool rather than the tool itself, that will make it a success. 

Paul Pember is a guest blogger for THINK Canada.  He is currently Head of Customer Service at the London Borough of Camden, and is responsible for the customer experience for the thousands of residents who access the Borough's services. Paul also has many years of prior experience working in non-profits. 

THINK Canada is passionate about the charity customer experience.   Find out more about how our Stewardship Tracker program can reveal what it's really like to support your charity   here.