by Michelle Jimenez, Senior Consultant, HUB Philanthropic Solutions
I am working with a nonprofit that has a generous Foundation partner. We have never done anything particularly “special” for this partner aside from our typical thank you letter after the gift is received.
But this year, we kicked it up a notch “BAM!” (thank you Emeril Lagasse)
We invited members of the Foundation to lunch while programming was going on in an adjacent room. The funders observed our participants (who have disabilities) painting and talking with our art therapist. They discussed which color they should use next and learned a new scratch-painting technique. After lunch, we introduced our funders to the participants. What a connection was made! The participants were eager to show them the projects they were working on and even took them to see their pottery in another room that had recently been fired in the kiln. The Foundation representatives loved the spontaneous tour and were even given pieces of art to take with them as mementos of the day.
This experience was casual, fun and most of all meaningful for the donors. They really got to see how this program was helping the individuals develop knowledge about art as well as instill a sense of pride and passion. I would encourage you to take inventory of these types of opportunities you can provide your donors. Meet with colleagues in the program service area to brainstorm. Consider scheduling these experiences quarterly and invite a few select donors to sit in and become immersed in the mission. It will be unforgettable to them and will be easy for you and your staff to plan.