I’ve never had anyone write a guest post for my blog. But when I saw what Daphne Powell was doing to grow relationships with her donors, I reached out to her to see if she might consider telling you her story. So, here goes…. Introducing Daphne Powell and her magical use of photo books for donor stewardship. Hoooooorayyyyy Daphne!
By Daphne Powell
In 2018, the Advancement Office of Birmingham-Southern College (BSC) implemented the use of photo books to steward donors and enhance donor affinity and loyalty.
The first photo book recognized the generosity of a member of the BSC Board of Trustees, Jim Pierce, and his wife, Tammy, in providing for the renovation of a residence hall. The event included their family and friends and a ribbon-cutting ceremony to dedicate the refurbished Pierce Hall. The photo book was sent with a thank-you note from the college president, and a special request by the donors was received for several additional copies to share with their family members who attended the celebration.
Another use of this medium during the year was for an impact report on an endowed travel fund at the college. The book included special notes from the award recipients and myriad photographs that reflected the immersion in a different culture and the service work that was completed during a study away in Belize. For the donors of this endowment, seeing the pictures provided a first-hand look at what the students were able to experience – students who would not have been able to participate were it not for the funds provided by the award.
So far, photo books have been used for three facility/program dedications, two campus visits by donors, an Honors Day speaker, three honorary degree recipients, and one special impact report. The photo books are not expensive, and they are easy and fun to create. Just Google the term ‘photo book’ and you’ll find them available for $10 – $20 each.
The return on investment is already being realized through additional gifts, further engagement, and notes and words of gratitude.
In addition, single photos from events are being shared with attendees who were caught in pictures along with a handwritten note about the event. When students are involved, they, too, receive a note card and picture to start building relationships with future alumni as early as possible, as well as instill in them the importance of giving back.
College leadership sees the inherent value in providing these special touches. It reminds the recipient of either a milestone or celebration and elevates their affinity for and loyalty to the organization. Most importantly, it sparks joy in the recipient, which is central to the emotional connection that inspires future and increased giving.
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