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 / Self-Nomination

Tell us about the fundraiser and/or organization you are nominating:

Vogel Alcove is a nonprofit early childhood education center for homeless children six weeks to five years old. The organization has served over 13,500 since 1987 and all at no cost to the children or families.


Tell us about the piece you are nominating:

From Sammy Gonzalez, Director of Marketing at Vogel Alcove:

We created our year-end appeal, to have the look and feel of the famous “Little Golden Book” series of children’s books. The idea was to use Tom’s approach (Writing a Fabulous Case for Support) in writing an appeal and reducing the fluff of our message.

We hosted the book online here:

We printed them to have more of a nostalgic feel in “older-looking” photo filters and a thick, cardboard-like cover that we all remember. The title was taking from an interview with a child for our annual video shoot.

In our organization we deal with a lot of issues that are very dense. Homeless children, homeless families, developmental, therapeutic, social/emotional trauma and children that are in questionable living environments. Because of the harsh realities we face, we tend to speak with a lot of jargon and expect people to understand us.

By using Tom’s method, we tried to simplify the message down to the most basic points.

Why do you think they are deserving of a Bloomie?

– From Tom Ahern

Simone Joyaux talks a lot about delivering to donors “extraordinary experiences.” And, of course, communications are part of every nonprofit’s “extraordinary experience” delivery system.

This charming and compelling booklet published by Dallas nonprofit for homeless children, Vogel Alcove, is a perfect example of that kind of extraordinary experience.

In most hands it would have been just another brochure. But Vogel Alcove didn’t settle for that. Their fundraisers produced something surprising and profound.

It looks like a child’s first reader … revealing at a glance everything you need to know about the age and vulnerability of the children served. It uses just a handful of words, some well-chosen photos, and a delightful graphic style to tell a complete story. And yet it is utterly serious in intent, inviting donors to share a vital vision, “to expand our services

[to] every homeless child in Dallas.”

Doing something different feels risky. And nonprofits are by nature deeply risk-averse in their communications. But there is a “surprised me” dividend when something fresh like this book appears. As the Wall Street Journal reported regarding one neuroscience study, “Coming across new information triggers a chemical reaction that makes us feel good.” Giving readers something that doesn’t bore them is one sure step toward fundraising success.

Know someone deserving of a Bloomie? You can nominate someone here >>

Kristen Salmon

Kristen Salmon

Product Manager at Bloomerang
Kristen Salmon is a Product Manager at Bloomerang. Kristen holds a Master of Public Affairs degree with concentrations in Nonprofit Management and Policy Analysis from Indiana University Bloomington and a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Oklahoma State University. She also worked for two years as a Research Assistant in grad school on the multi-year Indiana Nonprofits: Scope and Community Dimensions project.