As my inbox (and mail box) fills up with year-end solicitation messages from the organizations that I care about, I've been wondering about creative opportunities to 1. deepen the ties between an organization and its local community and 2. create a greater community benefit from these ties.
For instance, to assist me with my holiday shopping list, I would appreciate receiving an email from my favorite youth arts organization with a list of gift recommendations. I'm not talking about "please purchase our new tote bag." I'm looking for something more personal and meaningful, maybe along the lines of:
1. ________ is one of our favorite artists. He generously gives of his time to donate an annual workshop and performance for our students, like he did last month. His most recent recording (highly recommended by our staff!) is available for purchase at his website.
2. ________ donates flowers for many of our concerts each year. His floral arrangements are so beautiful, and we hope that you will visit his shop this month.
3. We think that ________ is one of the best chefs in our neighborhood. Two of her children participate in our after-school programs, and she volunteered to cater our most recent fundraising event. If you haven't yet, please give her new restaurant a try. Gift certificates are available.
4. The ________ Elementary School has been providing us with free teaching space for the past three years. We're very grateful for this relationship with Principal _______ and her staff. Their fifth grade students are holding their annual holiday cookie sale next week. We hope that you will consider stopping by and helping them raise money for the a playground structure.
After all, since we're all in this together, let's find ways of creating a tide that lifts all boats. I'd love to receive this kind of inclusive holiday message from a community-based organization. Any takers?
Update: Thank you, Little Opera, for giving this idea a try!
Sharing excerpts of the learning happening in "Building a Community-Based Residency"