All of the produce sourced into the cannery project comes from Northwest Harvest (NWH). Relations with Northwest Harvest as a donor have been extremely important to the vitality of “Yes, we CAN!” as a reliable source of produce for the coalition’s food banks. The VISTA cultivated working relationships with key staff in both the NWH volunteer office as well as in the warehouse.
Perhaps the single most important tactic employed to keep this relationship healthy was the simple act of publicly recognizing and thanking NWH for its invaluable support. Within the nonprofit sector any chance at promotion and visibility is a very valuable opportunity for an organization. The VISTA paid special attention to thanking this donor whenever possible.
The United Way of King County is also a central partner in the cannery project as the principle monetary support of the program. The same care is taken with them to make sure their name is out in the community and associated with the wonderful benefit that this project brings to the region.
The Church of Latter Day Saints Bishop’s Storehouse in Kent, WA is the other central donor to the “Yes, we CAN!” project. They donate not only hundreds of hours of cannery time to the coalition but they also pay for all the necessary staff, materials, utilities and temporary storage space for the project. Coalition staff regularly met with the Bishop’s Storehouse coordinator to check in about the status of the project, refine processes and streamline communications. So much of successful donor relations is finding ways to express, not only how appreciative your organization is of the donation made, but also of how much of a positive impact their generosity has on the lives of those you serve. We all need to know that our participation is valued and important so that we’ll keep participating!