Donor Relations at City Fruit
Written by Jordyn Egbert, Fundraising and Development Specialist VISTA.
Updated by Vera-Camille Ingressa, Fundraising and Development Specialist VISTA.
Every year, City Fruit harvests fruit from hundreds of privately owned fruit trees throughout Seattle. Each spring, the Harvest Team contacts all tree owners registered in City Fruit’s Salesforce database. Over time, 7,000 privately owned trees have been registered in their system. City Fruit communicates with tree owners regularly throughout the year. In June, all registered tree owners receive an email, asking if they would like to re-authorize their tree for the upcoming harvest season. Tree owners register their trees through the City Fruit website, detailing the number of fruit trees, their type, and their estimating ripening period. Once re-authorized, the tree owner will be contacted by the Harvest Team to schedule a harvest based on the time of year their fruit is ripe (ripening period is categorized as early August, late August, early September, etc).
The Harvest Team is responsible for maintaining relationships with tree owners. After every harvest, the tree owner receives an email thanking them for their donation, and describing how many pounds of fruit was harvested, where the fruit will be distributed (if known at the time), and informing them of their Tree Care Services Program (see City Fruit Overview). At the end of the harvest season, all tree owners receive an email thanking them again for their donation and detailing the total pounds harvested from their tree(s) over the course of the season (tree owners often have multiple trees with different ripening periods). City Fruit’s Harvest Program would not be possible without the support of Seattle’s fruit tree owners. The Harvest Team takes great care to ensure that the tree is harvested properly, windfallen fruit is cleared, and any fruit the tree owner would like saved is set aside or left on the tree.
Individual Giving & Membership
Individual donors are critical to City Fruit’s financial stability and program success. Relationships with donors are cultivated by City Fruit’s Development Team. City Fruit receives monetary donations from supporters through their individual giving and Membership program. The City Fruit Development Team processes all monetary donations in Little Green Light. City Fruit offers annual Memberships to donors who give a certain amount annually or monthly. Membership benefits include 10% off of City Fruit’s Tree Care Services, discounts to local cider companies and plant nurseries, Fruit-For-Alls (members can sign up for limited spots to reserve free fruit during Fruit-for-All free fruit farm stands held throughout the harvest season), and 10% off City Fruit’s Master Fruit Tree Stewards (MFTS) program registration fees (MFTS program provides community members six educational workshops centered on fruit tree care). Membership provides City Fruit consistent funding, allowing them to better assess their monthly budget, and demonstrate the number of committed community members that stand alongside their work. As part of their stewardship efforts, the Development Team distributes donor acknowledgment letters through email and mail. Letters and emails include updates to City Fruit’s recent program highlights, successes, and future events.