We don’t solicit entries from guest writers beyond our sponsors but every once in awhile someone will offer something that seems too interesting to pass up. Following is an abbreviated version of a note I received from a program officer in a local foundation, used with permission. It might prompt you to inquire with your funding representatives about how they want to be kept informed of your efforts and give you an extra incentive to scrub your mailing list. Bryan O.
Dear Executive Director:
It is that time of year when you, your board, and staff are focusing on end of year appeals to your donors. Your grant officers are certainly pleased that you are working to tell the story of your organization’s work and impact, and to inspire support. This year, would you please take time to clean up your mailing list? For example, I should not be receiving your annual appeal in my role as your grants officer. There are days when we receive many copies of the same appeal, addressed to each and every staff member who has ever worked for the foundation – or so it seems.
I recently saw a Facebook post from a not-for-profit that was so happy to have a volunteer preparing their annual fund letters. This morning I got that organization’s annual letter here at the foundation. The mailing was sent with full first class postage and included a 2 page letter hand annotated with underlining, notes and exclamation points; an annual fund insert, and a return envelope. Your appeal to me represents time and money that are going straight to the recycling bin.
Your grants officers want your organization to succeed in all aspects of your organization’s work—programming, community impact, funds development. Please don’t undermine our confidence in the first two by failing to attend to the details of the third.