Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia

Posts Tagged ‘Donor love’

YOU, the “annual report” creator

In Communications on July 2, 2014 at 3:32 pm

annual report card                                                                            Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia – “Annual Report” Postcard

Depending on your fiscal year-end, chances are YOU just helped your organization publish an annual report. It takes a village to make an annual report. YOU need stories from the program staff, and financials from Finance; there is the obligatory Executive Directors message and that donor listing from your (hopefully) well maintained database.

But what if YOU didn’t do that?

Earlier this year I challenged our Department of Philanthropy to BE BOLD. Why would the annual report be status quo then?

This year we decided to buck tradition and try something new: no annual report at all! I say that tongue in cheek because of course, we wanted to share with our donors, supporters and partners how they have made the difference in the lives of those living with dementia.

We just didn’t want to do it with a 15 page booklet.

Here is what we did that maybe YOU can get some ideas from for your next annual report!

1. We made a video and we didn’t tell YOU who was who in it. We weren’t joking when we said that this “annual report” was going to be about the stakeholders who make things possible. In the video is our Executive Director, Board President and Director of Programs and Services. But also families that have used our services and volunteers. It doesn’t matter who is who.

2. We made a postcard (see above). All the information about our programming, our partnerships and even our revenue and expenses, can be found on a postcard. People have little time to sort through mail and sit down and read a booklet, but a quick snapshot with the important information is a great way to stand out in a overcrowded mailbox!

3. We made a website. One of the benefits of an annual report is being able to read an organizations financial reports as well as browse their donor listings. At the Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia we believe that we need to be transparent and authentic to our donors, so we made a webpage on our site where supporters can see the video and download the financial information. We then bought a website address to re-direct to that page, for easier access.

4. We didn’t call the video or the postcard an ANNUAL REPORT. We did this on purpose. Because A – Now we can use the video or the postcard all year. One department has ordered enough to give every conference participant! And B – no one wants to read an annual report. The connotation with the term is, well, boring.

We sent actual postcards to donors, volunteers and supporters. Each department took their own stack. I took some and wrote personal notes (like you usually see on postcards) to monthly donors and sponsors. Some received the card electronically: For instance, our Giving Tuesday donors, since they were all online, were emailed the card with a link to the video.

Within a day of launching the video at our annual general meeting, we had close to 200 views and many comments on how nice it was to spend four minutes with an “annual report” rather than receiving a booklet.

While an annual report video and postcard is not new, I think it is BOLD. It is an interesting way to show donors how their donations impact Nova Scotians.

YOU, the creative Impact Reporter

In Uncategorized on August 6, 2013 at 11:13 am
The staff says "Thank YOU"

The staff says “Thank YOU”

Donor love can come in all shapes and sizes. Here at the Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia we’ve shown our donors the love via post it notes, Vine videos and even homemade baked cookies.

This week, I produced yet another donor love item and I am super excited to share it with YOU, in the hopes it inspires YOU to be a fundraiser that shares the donor love (my inspiration as been hash tagged and reported on by @johnlepp).

Three years ago we received our first, five-year, Major Gift in a few (many) years. This was gift was for Programs and Services as we launched new programs for individuals with early stage dementia.

I am not exaggerating when I tell you that this gift, this donor, changed the life of many Nova Scotians and the course our organization was on.

So how do you thank any donor, let alone one whose original gift has spun off to make a difference in areas that they don’t even know they helped?!?!

Each year we give the donor a letter, thanking them and updating them. This year they won’t hear from us, they will hear from the people they helped. In fact, they will have something so that family and friends can also see the difference they made!

This year their Impact Report is a Coffee Table book. Pictures and stories, some statistics and quotes fill the pages! I am so excited to give this to the donor….I keep checking my order status every hour to see if it is ready for pick up!

So, what was the process we took – that YOU can take – when it comes to being the creative Impact Reporter? Here’s how we did it:

Template leads to outline leads to the "meat" of the project!

Template leads to outline leads to the “meat” of the project!

1. We created a template with step by step instructions for the coordinator working on the report. The template has a check list and recommendations for what kind of impact report should be created. The template helps the creator do everything from creating an outline, to entering the final information into our donor database.

The final version is much, much more professional - I promise YOU!

The final version is much, much more professional – I promise YOU!

2. Knowing that I was going to be creating a coffee table book, I sketched it out by hand. This helped keep me on track and helped give others a sense of what I was working on. It was a handy place to write notes as well, as the editing tool online I was using for the book, did not.

3. I started interviewing. From my outline I knew who I wanted to speak to and about what. Participants in our Programs were so wonderful – eager! – to thank the donor for helping make a program they attended, possible.

4. After researching the various online tools YOU can use, we did settle on the Costco Print Centre to make the book. I have used them plenty of times for vacation photos, so I knew that it was a timely and cost saving measure. YOU can order your book online from many different websites or stores.

Our Executive Director did let the “cat out of the bag” the last time he met with the donor, so this won’t be a surprise. But guess what? The donor is excited to receive this book! Yea!

What creative ways do YOU show your donors impact?