So here's the thing, as many of you know I abhor tchotchkes for donor recognition and am thrilled when the IRS clamps down on giving for Quid Pro Quos sake. As many of you know, most people of means have most things that money can buy, and if they can order it like you can, there is no point in giving them an item with your logo on it. What many of our donors long for and need are experiences that money can't buy. For me, that involves having them meet and converse with those that benefit from their funds, students and faculty. Other than a memory, they aren't left with much, so here is where this week's blog comes in handy for you.
I am actually asking you to spend some money, gasp! And here is the most meaningful gift you can give donors that time and time again they avow to love. They're personal, custom picture books, like the one here just done by my fiends at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. These books take time and effort and document a real tangible interaction that cannot be easily duplicated. They're beautiful, hard bound, and completely custom. And, can be had for an affordable price. Most of these books can be purchased for anywhere from $20-$40 depending on size, pages, and your Internet couponing ability.
There are many providers out there. We use blurb.com and in the past have used snapfish.com with great results. There are others but I find these two to be the best. They are easy to use, arrive in a couple of weeks and make the best donor gifts ever. They are unique, something that can't be bought at a store and better yet, tell a great story. Our donors love to have them in their homes as conversation pieces and we use them for every honoree at our events.
For us, they are often hand delivered by their fundraiser and provide a great follow up conversation opportunity. I can't tell you how many donors have contacted us to have reprints for their family made.
This new medium is a fantastic way to honor and recognize without the "item" stigma. We build this recognition piece into all of our planning and one of our staff members begins the work even before the event, building the shell and text, then popping in the photos afterwards.
If you have student workers or interns in your office, this is a great job for them. They love being involved in the creative process.
So, there's your idea for the week, take it and run with it... Already doing donor books a gifts? Please send me links to your best, and ill post them on the website to share with the world!
Don't forget to join me next Tuesday for the DRG webinar on reporting, endowment and impact.