Our small (70 student) elementary/secondary school for children with learning differences wants to expand our donor base, which is primarily current school families. We’d like to do a better job maintaining relationships with families after their children have moved on. I’d love to hear your ideas!
You’ve asked two questions:
(1) How to expand your donor base beyond current school families
(2) How to maintain relationships with families after children move on
Both are a bit difficult to answer digitally absent additional information. But let me suggest a few things:
(1) Are there others in your community who work with children and/or adults with learning differences? Might you be able to exchange mailing lists or simply take a look at their donors via an annual report? Do you participate in any online groups (e.g. via LinkedIn) or social media forums (Facebook? Google+?) that share information about working with these types of individuals? You could then reach out to these folks with an appeal about how important it is for families (and your community) to have a resource like yours. Also talk to your current board, donors and families about who they know outside the school community who may be receptive to learning more about your mission.
(2) It’s challenging for primary/elementary/secondary schools to keep families connected because they move on and begin supporting the high school or college where their student attends. One way is to develop a strong alumni and parent alumni association. Stay in touch with these folks regularly, and offer them little “gifts” of content they can use. Perhaps tips on working with people w/learning differences in higher education and in careers. Or invitations to free events. Think about what they might need at this point in their lives, and see how you can give it to them. The goal is to be an ongoing source of support — and a continuing resource/part of their lives. Think of engagement opportunities for these folks. Volunteering and/or advocacy for parents. Networking and career advice for former students.
Would love to hear other ideas!
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