The C-suite of any organization denotes the highest level of commitment to any given specialty required for the success of that organization. This is includes the more common C-suite designations of Chief Executive Officer, Chief Operations Officer, Chief Financial Officer, Chief Technical Officer and Chief Marketing Officer.

Each of the officer roles mention carry some form of relationship management with its job description

However, a total focus upon relationships and the key metrics they drive is most likely not the case.

Why have there not been CROs named to any extent in the past?

Perhaps the fact that the concepts surrounding relationships have only recently been used to drive numerous key metrics is why.

Let’s explore a couple of those:


Even though there is a large difference in the retention percentages between the commercial sector and the nonprofit sector (often nearly double in the commercial world) the net effect on revenue remains dramatic.

In both worlds, even a 1% or 2% improvement in retention can spell the difference between operating with a surplus or profit versus a deficit.

The biggest variable impacting retention rates is the level of relationship reached between the donor/customer and the organization. Heck, in this day and age just having a conversation above and beyond any normal financial interaction can move the relationship to entirely different levels. This is especially true if the donor/customer feels like their voice and opinion are being heard and acted upon!

Lifetime Value

Determining the long-term economic impact of either improving or declining retention can best be summarized by the use of the concept called lifetime value.

Simply defined, lifetime value is:

the total net contribution in dollars made by a donor or customer during the course of their involvement with your organization

By looking at lifetime dollars generated we can move beyond the first year cost of a donor or customer and begin to appreciating the value and impact of building a longer-term relationship built upon trust and confidence.

When added up, the dollars gained by higher levels of lifetime value can be extraordinary!

The Chief Relationship Officer’s Time Has Arrived

Any organization above forty or fifty employees should consider designating a CRO. The metrics for retention and lifetime value should easily justify the role.

However, keep in mind the other major responsibilities of the CRO role, which might include any or all of the following:

  • Involvement in high-level customer service issues
  • Recruiting and retaining product or mission-related partners
  • Public speaking and outreach
  • Instructing and mentoring others in relationship-building

Each of the above could by themselves radically affect revenue growth and other success indicators such as satisfaction survey results and marketing impact. Taken together, they might truly spell the difference in long-term success.

We think you will be seeing and hearing much more about Chief Relationship Officers in both the nonprofit and commercial sectors as the future unfolds.

I cannot wait to begin fulfilling this role at Bloomerang!

Stay Together - How to Encourage a Lifetime of Donor Loyalty

Jay Love

Jay Love

Co-Founder & Chief Relationship Officer at Bloomerang
A 30+ veteran of the nonprofit software industry, Jay Love co-founded Bloomerang in 2012. Prior to Bloomerang, he was the CEO and Co-Founder of eTapestry for 11 years, which at the time was the leading SaaS technology company serving the charity sector. Jay and his team grew the company to more than 10,000 nonprofit clients, charting a decade of record growth. Prior to starting eTapestry, Jay served 14 years as President and CEO of Master Software Corporation. MSC provided a widely used family of database products for the non-profit sector called Fund-Master. He currently serves on the board of the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University and is the past AFP Ethics Committee Chairman. Jay is also the author of Stay Together: How to Encourage a Lifetime of Donor Loyalty.