Make it easy to give!
Are you maybe missing out on things you need due to a lack of communication and an easy-to-give process? Are there in-kind contributions that might make a difference to your mission? To your constituents? How about volunteers? Are there specific projects for which you can use volunteers who may want to help out occasionally but not regularly? Are you making things easy for your donors – and even more importantly, your prospective donors? Here are a few ideas of ways you can improve your procedures for receiving gifts, and for communicating your needs.
Ø Annual collection campaigns – Consider an annual, highly publicized campaign to collect needed items.
Ø Enlist the help of businesses such as styling salons, coffee shops, etc., as collection points, or for posting of information about your needs, opportunities. Advantage to the business? Name recognition, visitors that may be potential customers, etc.
Ø Enlist your local media to be partners in getting your message out. Publicizing the event in exchange for being identified with your cause.
Ø Train your staff to be responsive to callers who want to help. Make sure anyone who answers your phone has handy a complete list of procedures that donors can follow for donating items, money (duh!), and/or time. Don’t make your prospective contributors have to call twice!
Ø Plan an annual appeals calendar and distribute regular press releases (You do have an up-to-date media list, don’t you?) based on it. Each release should mention the need for a specific item, how it will be used, and how it will be collected. For example, if your organization collects clothes, break them into categories and decide which items are needed most in which months. In February put out an appeal for prom dresses. In July, talk about jeans and other back-to-school items. In September, issue a release discussing your need for coats and other winter apparel.