Donor Relations at Boston Area Gleaners
The Development Team works all year to source and write grants that will fund Boston Area Gleaner’s programs. In the past few years, BAG has received large government grants (including a USDA hunger relief grant during COVID-19) that funded BAG’s large distribution programs. Grants were also a huge source of funding for the campaign to purchase Stonefield Farm (read more in “Running a Capital Campaign”). The Development Team has worked on boilerplate language to be used in grants, separated by sections such as Challenges/Growth/Transitions and Goals/Outcomes and History, to name a few. These boilerplate documents are shared in the shared Google Drive for the Development Team, and allow the language to be used broadly for a number of grants. All grants are also read by at least two Development Team members, who are able to cross-check and give feedback to be sure that every submission is up to par with the organization’s standards, and will put the best foot forward for the grant application.
YEAR END APPEAL
The year-end appeal is an annual development strategy to encourage BAG’s donor base to contribute to our programs and work. The appeal includes segmenting the donors based on their prior donation history in order to encourage as many donations as possible. The year-end appeal is BAG’s largest annual fundraising event and is many of our donors’ only donations for the year.
CULTIVATING MONTHLY DONORS
Monthly donors are very helpful for BAG’s fundraising strategy. While there are many fewer monthly donors, their contributions are extremely helpful for BAG’s operations work, to know that the funding will come in monthly. The Development Team is sure to thank these donors, both personally when they sign up to become monthly donors, as well as a few times a year with personalized thank you emails or letters. Monthly donors are also acknowledged in newsletters or on social media, although this is done less frequently to limit the intensity of asks for donations.
Social media is an important part of development work and donor relations. It is very important to thank your donors on social media, especially after big pushes for donations like a capital campaign or year-end appeal (alongside a more formal thank you over email or physical mail)! BAG likes to thank these donors by naming what their money will be used for, to show the impact of donations and possibly encourage further donations in the future. Social media is also used to entice new donors (as well as regular donors) by reminding them to donate during campaigns. Facebook is the most useful social media for donations, as the posts allow for links directly on them, but Instagram and Twitter are utilized as well in order to maximize our reach.(to learn more about social media planning, read “Marketing and Visibility,” as well as “Creating a Communications Plan”).