The Bloomies are our award for outstanding donor communications in the nonprofit sector. Each week, we’ll feature a newsletter, email, direct mail piece, acknowledgement, solicitation or social media post that caught our eye.
Nominated by: Tom Ahern
Tell us about the fundraiser and/or organization you are nominating:
Sallie Mitchell, Fairfield County’s Community Foundation
Fairfield County’s Community Foundation serves Fairfield County, Connecticut. People can give back to their community with charitable funds, contribute to regional initiatives (help young people become self-sufficient by 25, empower women and girls reach their full potential and achieve economic stability, provide housing solutions for the poor, special needs and low- and mid-wage earners, increase efficiency and impact of local nonprofits), leave a gift in their will to benefit their favorite causes.
Tell us about the piece you are nominating:
Their 2014 Action Report:
The fiscal 2014 annual Action Report “Harnessing the power of many” is the first after their rebranding (including changing our name from Fairfield County Community Foundation to Fairfield County’s Community Foundation. This print report includes a remittance envelope, and was mailed with a cover letter to fundholders, contributors, volunteers, partners, and friends of the organization.
No stock photography, beautiful design, easy to read/scan, minimal jargon, lots of donor love throughout, mix of story and facts, and the shortest letter from the board chair and CEO in the nation. It is printed on uncoated stock for a tactile message of warmth and friendliness. All major photos were carefully orchestrated regarding location, talent, wardrobe, props, eye contact, and body language to delight the eye and evoke the desired emotions.
The theme, headlines and subheads allow the scanner to grasp the main points without reading the body copy. On the cover, our president & CEO was positioned in the center and wore red to stand out (cover subjects were hand-picked as representatives of nonprofit partners, funders, donors, volunteers and staff).
Of our survey respondents, 56.6% spent between 10 and 30 minutes with it; 71.4% agreed it is easy to scan, read; 48.1% showed it to someone else.
One volunteered comment: “I thoroughly enjoyed reading this Report from Cover to Cover. It was so well presented, written and informative.I felt very proud of being a member of the FCCF family!!!”
Why do you think they are deserving of a Bloomie?
This is something like Volume 5 I think of an ongoing saga titled Sallie Mitchell Reinvents the Community Foundation Annual Report.
Sallie is one of a kind. She was a successful marketer in the commercial world before she signed on with a nonprofit. Sallie is trained to sell the way a sniper … well, same eye anyway. Knowing how to sell is rare as dentures on an oyster among community foundations. Most couldn’t sell a sandwich to a starving rich man.
Sallie Mitchell’s annual reports (ARs) are donor-centricity at its peak. They star the donors, not the organization. They also celebrate the people helped and served far more than her own organization.
The idea is to build real community, to build family, where the foundation becomes “merely” the facilitator, helping donors realize big and bigger impacts.
Study the details. This AR is deceptively “normal.” It’s anything but. Every inch of this publication is carefully weighed and measured. Sallie has a nationally-ranked designer. Her photography is impeccably shot and edited. Every year, Sallie doesn’t issue an “annual report” (actually, she calls it an “Action Report”; now, that’s selling).
Every year, Sallie issues a family album. Does it work? You’ll have to ask her. That was the one thing I couldn’t easily find: “Are you growing?”
Know someone deserving of a Bloomie? You can nominate someone here >>