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Three years ago we wanted to find a way to connect our donors with small nonprofits that are doing some great work in our community. We are fortunate to have a great relationship with our local United Way and asked them to join us in this effort.
Twice a year we ask our donors to sign up to get on the bus and physically see nonprofits and learn firsthand about the issues their programs are addressing.
What we learned is that donors are less inclined to take a tour of a nonprofit that they are already giving to or that is well known in the community. We switched our format up in the last year to frame the bus trip around an emerging need in the community. Our normal format is to discuss the need on the way to our first nonprofit and then see a presentation, learn more on the bus as we head to a second nonprofit and then end the evening with a light supper with a panel of these nonprofits and others who are addressing the identified need. Donors really enjoy being informed of the need and seeing the different ways that nonprofits are making an impact.
It has been a big hit with the nonprofits and the donors. The nonprofits see buy-in from their local community foundation, as well as exposure to new people who volunteer, become board members or a financial supporter of their organizations. Donors like being informed of the needs in the community and being able to choose how they engage with the nonprofits.
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