How Does CX at Not-For-Profits Compare to For-Profit Organizations? A Conversation with Martin Hand of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

I hope you had a fantastic CX Day last week! I was on the road, so I celebrated with my good friend Martin Hand, chief donor officer of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, where I gave a keynote to their team.

While I was there, I shot this short video with him and asked him to share his path to his position at St. Jude and what he’s learned along the way.  

The following is an edited summary of the video below.

On “Donor Experience”

Jeanne:                 We’re going to have a conversation with your folks and talk about CX, but you call it “donor experience,” right?

Martin:                We do. Here at St. Jude, we are really focused on the aspect of all of our revenue does come from our incredible donors that we have across the world. We have 11 million active donors. We really focus on trying to elevate that experience for them. I’m so honored to lead a team that really tries to focus on that every single day and take care of that. Jeanne’s been such a help with us over the years and really—

Jeanne:                 I love St. Jude.

Martin:                Absolutely. And focusing on that. It’s just an honor to be able to raise funds and finding cures and saving children’s lives and really able to do that in such an incredible mission.

On Transitioning from For-Profit to Non-Profit

Jeanne:                 Martin, let’s talk a little bit about you, because so much of what we always talk about with each other is: journeys to leading customer experience. You went from customer experience to donor experience. Hum a few bars about your background.

Martin:                Sure. Actually, background, I came from the for-profit world and worked in the airline industry for almost 28 years, ultimately leading customer experience. My background actually was in finance when I first started, the first 10 years with the airline industry. But really, the focus for our customer services—what we’re all trying to do—is really elevate those interactions that we have with the customers, and really making sure that we’re making every moment and every point on that journey that’s really such a great experience. I would say that it’s not that different than what we do here.

I would say people ask me, “What is the difference between for-profit and not for profit?” I would say it’s probably 80-85% the same because you’re really trying to elevate that experience and making sure that you’re easy to do business with, making sure that those things that we can really focus on that experience. It’s really not that different, but what is so amazing here is having that mission and really—

Jeanne:                 Right. Connecting to saving children’s lives.

Martin:                Absolutely. You know, without a doubt, that everybody is going the same direction, really trying to look at that mission of saving children’s lives, and really across the globe. We’re so honored to be able to do that. With that mission, it’s that part that just has that solidified.

Jeanne:                 Yep. What I love about your journey, Martin, is also that for those of us who are perennial CX leaders, what we’re finding is we do it in profit for a while, and then we have these gifts, these tools that we can go help the Girl Scouts or the Blue Cross or whatever.

For everybody out there, you’ve got a lifelong talent that you can apply throughout your career, but also when you’re maybe done with the for-profit part of your career, know that you can go out and continue to help the world.

Martin Hand, chief donor officer of St. Jude, on #CX: What is the difference between for-profit and not for profit? I would say it's probably 80-85% the same because you're really trying to elevate that experience. Share on X

On Celebrating Customer Experience and CX Day

Jeanne:                 Let’s talk a little bit about what you’re doing for CX Day. They have a whole bunch of things planned here at St. Jude. It’s crazy.

Martin:                Yeah. It’s really great. We kind of kicked it off over the last few weeks of doing what we call little bit of TED Talks. We had different folks from across the organization hit on a particular thing about empathy, about patience, listening, and really doing those talks … We did those over the last three weeks. Then this week—with a kickoff of the customer experience week, which, as Jeanne said, we call “donor experience week,”—we did Ignite Talks. We had folks across the organization really do a quick, five minute Ignite Talk about what they do to really help to elevate that donor experience.

Jeanne:                 That’s fantastic.

Martin:                It was awesome. Then today, we’re honored to have our keynote speaker for our organization. Jeanne’s here to really talk about her journey and what she has done. Then tomorrow, we will be honored to … Actually, we had nominations across the organization of people from their peers on how they focus on donor experience. Then we selected those, and we’ll be giving out those at an award luncheon tomorrow. Then we’re doing a lot of things in our contact center and those things to take care of one of our biggest assets, our frontline professionals.

To learn more about St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, visit

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