At GiveForward, our users are the heart and soul of every decision we make. Since our inception, we’ve had thousands of people start fundraisers for their loved ones as a way of providing financial and emotional support. Their stories have touched us time and time again and inspired us to do all that we can to improve our service.

Enter: the Net Promoter Score (i.e. the lifeblood of GiveForward).

One Metric that Matters

Net Promoter Score (NPS) is our most-coveted metric. It’s our way of gauging customer loyalty and customer satisfaction. It’s not something for just our coaching (customer service) team, either; our entire organization uses the metric as motivation to become more focused on improving

In order to further rally our team around the power of pleasing our customers, we recently hung an amazing, goliath-sized picture-mosaic comprised of thousands of itty-bitty photos of our amazing users. It’s the first thing we see every day when we get into the office, and a pleasant reminder of why focusing on our Net Promoter Score should drive our priorities.

How to Calculate and Improve Net Promoter Score

Net Promoter Score segments users into three pools based on customer satisfaction and customer loyalty: Promoters, Passives and Detractors. Users are then asked one simple question: “How likely are you to recommend [insert your company name here] to someone?” Customers respond to the question using a 0-10 scale (10 being the best).


Respondents who answer with a 9 or 10 are considered passionate missionaries who will continue to buy from and recommend your brand to others, powering growth. Passives score a 7 or 8. These folks are satisfied, but generally apathetic about your brand and commonly susceptible to competitive offerings. Third are Detractors – a company’s worst nightmare. These users are disappointed about at least some portion of their customer experience. They can also be vocal about their dissatisfaction and a catalyst for negative word-of-mouth.

So how do you get more Promoters and less Passives and Detractors? Put customer loyalty and satisfaction at the core of all that you do. Here’s a few actionable items we’ve found effective:

  • Go old school. We help folks raise money for medical expenses, so often our users are going through very trying and emotional times. So our team signs sympathy cards daily—not with our keyboards, but with a good old fashion ball-point pen. When users receive these cards and see the hand-printed signatures of twenty something programmers, designers, marketers and coaches, it’s often a magical thing. It helps humanize our brand and let people know that we genuinely care about them. Not to mention, it’s a great way to break up the day and remind us, as employees, why we’re here.
  • Out care” the competition. We’ve coined a term internally called “hug bombing.” When we see stories of people raising money that really speak to us, we get our whole team to post words of encouragement and awesomeness directly on the person’s fundraising page. For many of our users, it’s an indescribable feeling to see strangers reaching out and offering support.
  • Be social. Many of our users host offline events to help them raise money in addition to their fundraising page. So we log an internal calendar highlighting any events happening in the area. Employees will sometimes stop by to show support – not because it’s required, but because we have a team that genuinely cares about the people who use our service.

Improving your Net Promoter Score starts with your people. There’s a reason companies like Zappos, for example, offer employees thousands of dollars to quit after a certain amount of weeks on the job. They’re not interested in folks just looking for a pay check, no matter how smart they are. Instead, they’re hell-bent on finding “brand believers.” The goal is to find people who yearn to be a part of a company and product they firmly believe in; something way bigger than themselves. Finding these folks and weeding out the less passionate isn’t easy and can be costly, but in the long-term, is a much wiser move.

4 Reasons Why Net Promoter Score Matters

While NPS has its critics who dispute Net Promoter Score as the best predictor of company growth, we’re firm believers—and here are four reasons why:

1.) NPS is an excellent way of aligning all departments around a common goal.

While each department may not have time to know exactly what specific tasks other departments are working on, we’ve found that it’s comforting to our team as a whole to know every employee is working in one direction.

2.) NPS encourages a company culture of focusing on less while executing more.

As a startup, there’s never a shortage of ideas. But without discipline, ideas can quickly lead to too many half-baked projects in progress and not enough deploying, testing, and iterating. In order to maintain focus, we’d recommend the following tactics:

  • Embrace the “not-to-do” list. Whenever we review priorities, employees are asked to spend time deciding what isn’t important. Saying “yes” is easy, but challenging a team to embrace “no” teaches discipline and compels people to really reflect on which projects are the most promising growth levers.
  • Give people ownership, but accountability. Provided all of our departments are buzzing with brilliant ideas, it’s important that all of them are heard. We use an internal project management tool, where anyone in the company can pitch the next big thing to grow GiveForward. Along with submitting a project description however, we ask employees to quantify the opportunity with financial modeling and research. This pushes people to not act impulsively and instead analyze an idea’s potential. Lastly, if a project is put into production, the person with the initial pitch must spearhead the effort. Having people think through ideas more holistically and analytically while also having them lead ensures that only ideas people feel incredibly passionate about and are willing to see through start to finish get put on the table.

3.) NPS is amazing for margins.

Your users become volunteer brand ambassadors and there’s no cost to incremental customer acquisition.

4.) A double-digit, positive, steady NPS is indicative of real growth.

When your customers become voluntary marketers, the benefits often transcend beyond the initial acquisition. For example, our best users come from word-of-mouth referrals. After all, why take a brand’s word for a service when you can take your best friend’s? Figuring out how to mobilize your most passionate users is a daunting, puzzling task—but when mastered, it can pay lasting dividends that extend well beyond your initial inputs.

Since we made NPS a company KPI last April, we’re incredibly proud to report a monthly average of 82 (an NPS higher than zero is felt to be good while an NPS of +50 is excellent). The metric is monitored and talked about in department meetings weekly and often brought up in bi-weekly team meetings to ensure it stays top of mind. For our team, this is not only a remarkable asset for growth and way of measuring loyalty and satisfaction; it’s also a highly effective way of uniting our team around a metric that’s far greater than any individual or department. It tells us how well we’re doing at accomplishing what we set out to do: Create Unexpected Joy™.