Adobe Creative Suite Meets Donor-Centered Fundraising

Organization Name:
Alzheimer's Association, Central New York Chapter
City & State:
Describe your creative piece – what is it and what has it been used for, and why is it innovative?
The annual report is traditionally used as a report to the community. Organizations report their financial statement, brag about their accomplishments and recognize donor generosity. In the past, The Chapter created eight-page booklets with photos, lengthy narratives and lists of individual, corporate, government and foundation supporters. The innovation shown in the FY2008-09 annual report is the content. Development and communications staff attended seminars by fundraising researcher Penelope Burk. During these seminars, Ms. Burk presented quantitative and qualitative research on donor intent and communication preferences. These revelations confirmed suspicions held by the staff and became a new operating course for our fundraising staff.
What issue or problem were you working to address with this piece?
Ms. Burk’s research, presented in “Donor Centered Fundraising” and her seminars, show that while organizations continue to produce lengthy printed newsletters and annual reports, consumers read 10-15 words before deciding to finish the document or discard it. Worse, there was evidence that donors rarely shared that publication with friends or family, limiting the number of impressions and overall impact. Rather than investing time, talent and treasure on an expensive and underutilized printed piece that overwhelmed the reader with data and text, we looked at serving our constituent with a topical, terse report of our actions that drove people to our website if they wanted to learn more. The result was a one-page, front and back, self-mailed letter-sized piece.
How has your submission successfully impacted your organization’s ability to solve this issue/problem?
The annual report served as a catalyst for future action rooted in Ms. Burk’s donor-centered approach. It was a starting point which led to content updates on our website, redesigned and rewritten donor acknowledgement letters, and a philosophy shift to our solicitation process for both individual and corporate donors. Secondary to that culture shift was the feedback. Staff contacted donors and community partners to gain their opinions on the report’s format and content. Their positive reception of the setup, flow and content provided validation of the philosophy. It goes without saying that had we not received the donation of the Adobe Creative Suite, the process of marrying vector and raster graphics with text to create this document would have been less efficient, potentially leading to a lesser product.
Creative Submission - Files