This post started out as a rant about my poor, neglected lawn. Our house is on a busy corner of our subdivision, and we’re on a decent-sized lot. That means that almost everybody in our neighborhood sees our house several times a day. When our lawn goes uncut – we look like a big ol’ abandoned house.
We can’t seem to keep a lawn care provider. Because of reasons. Their base is too far away to make the trip profitable. They’re just doing lawns on the side and the “real” job gets in the way. They don’t have the personnel to keep up with demand. And then COVID. The mystery is that these things don’t seem to affect my neighbors. The neighbors giving our yard the side eye as they pass by don’t really care.
I want my yard to at least look cared for, if I can’t have amazing.
Last year, I found Uber of Lawncare. I (reluctantly) gave up on my local provider because I coveted the ease of knowing exactly when my next cut would be scheduled, and the ability to easily pay online. In fact, they have automated billing. Yay!
- I could log into my account and see my upcoming services, plus add additional services if needed.
- I got an email when my lawn pro was on the way with an ETA of arrival.
- I got an email after the service (and a request to rate my pro).
On the downside, though, I lost the intimacy of discussing my landscaping strategy with my local provider. I didn’t know who was actually going to show up for each cut. That really didn’t bother me since I now had Expectations for my regular lawn service. Optimism!
Is your approach to tech losing you donors (and program participants)?
A year later, I’m not really happier with Uber of Lawncare. See also: the current state of my lawn. Yet another provider that only lasted one season. I really wanted my small local provider to prioritize a business tech strategy that adds the service features that would have made me continue as a loyal customer. Instead, since they couldn’t (or wouldn’t) they lost me to Uber of Lawncare.
My designated provider from Uber of Lawncare has rescheduled my service 3-4 times. Sure, I get notified when they do, but that’s not helping me with my HOA. With my family-owned local provider, I could have called to ask for an emergency service. Their base is in my area, so weather permitting, they might have sped over to keep me in my HOS’s good graces.
Uber of Lawncare’s customer service gave me a canned answer. Spoiler: their customer service is not local.
A Tech Strategy for Small Nonprofits
What can you do as a small local nonprofit to go toe-to-toe effectively with Big Name Organization?
- Listen to your donors and clients. They’re telling you what they need from you.
- Don’t miss appointments. Use a scheduling platform that syncs with your phone’s calendar app (like Calendly, Acuity Scheduling, or Square Appointments) so you can keep track of your services and overall schedule. They all offer ways to embed the calendar app into your website so your customers can self-serve and provide payment for appointments. Better yet, get it embedded in your website.
- Start using a donor management system so you can keep track of your customers, what they buy, and their history with you. You can also use most CRMs to send email newsletters and updates to your customers. Clear and consistent communication keeps customers happy.
I won’t lie, managing tech tools for your nonprofit effectively takes an investment of time and some money. The payoff is that you future-proof your organization and give yourself the foundation to scale. On a happy note, I ended up with Great Local Lawncare Business, and so far, so good.