Donor Relations at Blue Mountain Action Council
Donations are key in supporting the Blue Mountain Action Council Food Bank. BMAC receives support in a multitude of ways. BMAC receives in-kind resources including food, especially produce as well as monetary donations. Individual donors, including backyard gardeners and community gardens, consistently donate small amounts of produce throughout the summer. Commercial growers often donate in larger quantities, those growers who participate in BMAC’s Farm to Food Pantry buying program often donate excess or seconds when they deliver weekly purchases. BMAC partners with grocery stores to operate programs like Grocery Rescue to collect excess produce every week. Food drives are a major source of donations, reaching out to local nonprofits and schools to promote a holiday event brings in tens of thousands of pounds. Fundraisers for specific programs like Farm to Food Pantry happen throughout the growing season. Farms with the capacity to host events where a percentage of their profits for the day goes towards the Food Bank. WA State Penitentiary has a farm and consistently donates produce overage throughout the season. These multiple sources help BMAC provide variety to clients.
Outreach is important in creating new relationships with donors.
- Farmers Market’s are a great place to connect and network with individual donors with a vested interest in agriculture and commercial growers selling at the market.
- Tabling at local events and markets
- Business Cards are an important tool for progressing the donor relationship past initial contact.
- Fliers and inserts can be put up at local organizations and go out in local magazines.
- Speaking at local garden clubs, service clubs, non-profits, colleges, high schools, corporations, and wineries creates connections with the community.
- Attending and coordinating meetings with agriculturally related organizations including Walla Walla Valley Food System Coalition.
- Press Releases and newspaper posts can help reach a wider audience.
- Word of mouth, all current donors talk to their circles. If donors had a good experience they will pass along this information.
Highlights for donors include:
- Receive a tax-deductible receipt for their donation
- Feed their community healthy and local produce
- Reduce food waste that they worked hard to produce
Appreciation is crucial in maintaining relations with donors. Be sure to always let donors know they are appreciated. For individual donations, make the connection, ask their name, thank them for donating and tell them to spread the word to any of their friends who may be interested. For commercial growers, at the end of the season send a thank you note with the total amount of pounds they donated for their tax purposes to show your appreciation.