The month of appeals

Hello all, sorry it has been awhile since my last post, things have been a little crazy around here and I am sure all of you are getting busier as well. Over the holiday I finally wrote my very first appeal letter and let me tell you it wasn't easy. There is so much that you want the community to know about the successes and missions of your organziation but you really have to be concise because people don't read anything that is more than a page long usually. I tried to focus on how we are the solution to the problem and not just stating the problem with statistics and sob stories(the previous vista did that and it didn't seem to work). I had the chance to interview a client we had helped because it really is all about the stories. I believe stories are what really moves people into action. Even though we might not want to admit it, many people act with there hearts and desires and not with their logic.

So with our letter I included an insert entitled "Leola's Story", I really hope it will grab people's attention because in our business it can be difficult to make computers the focus of our mission because ultimately it is about the people we help in our community because that is what others can really relate to. During this time I have also introduced a new board member to HCN, he specializes in Human Resources, which is something we needed, and tonight we are going to accept a donation($1,000!) that a group he is connected with is giving us, so that is going well. Also we are planning our Christmas Open House, which is next week. I have never planned an event like this and it is harder than I thought so I formed a committee out of the parents of our disabled volunteers. They all have great ideas but we seem to be having trouble coming to a consensus on things. Is this a problem committees have often?

At first we were going to send the invite to the Christmas party with the appeal letters but that didn't really work out. I looked all over the Triad area and no office paper company makes an envelope that is both wide and long, WHY! Maybe I should start my own company:) At the conference we went to that talked about "making the ask" had suggested that December is the worst time to send out an appeal, that really the best time falls in the early spring/late winter just before the a warm weather mentality sets in. Also they suggested the last week of September and first weeks of October. People are "back to work" physically and mentally. Which if you think about it makes sense. We as nonprofits try to be as non-competitive as possible right? So why are we sending out a letter to our community asking them for money at the same time?

Especially when donors are hiking up their credit card bill already to buy for their family. I think it is very important to understand your donors and what they are doing when your letter arrives. So with that being said, we decided to send out our appeal in April. Which frees up my mind for planning this open house! I sent out 200 invities to corporations, funders and individuals that have given money and computer equipment, I hope people show up. You just never know with these things.