As the former chair of the board of the San Francisco Institute of Possibility (SFIO), I know just how hard it is for non-profits to simultaneously connect with their communities in meaningful ways and ask for money.
Finding just the right voice with which to present the right information is key. No two successful non-profits will have the same voice.
Here’s a successful letter I wrote for the SFIOP’s end of year appeal, incorporating its quirky, off-beat, sensibility.
Dear Friends of Art in the Bay Area:
This has been a good year for the SFIOP. We’ve supported small arts groups and workshops through our headquarters; Camp Tipsy was AMAZING, with over 82 boats in our on-site boat building competition; and the community “Supper Clubs” we’re holding in the last months of the year have brought new members into our community and reminded us of just how much fun it is to get together and plot new hijinks.
But that’s just the easily observable things we do. Did you know:
- Our tool shop is used by small art groups across the city
- We routinely lend microphones and other AV equipment to protest rallies
- The Camp Tipsy generators are all presently in Napa, on loan to support the fire recovery efforts there. Our truck was out in Napa doing relief work for a month.
This happens because you inspire us. If not for all the time, effort, talent and money donatedto our shared art experiences we’d be mind numbingly bored and mired in tedium. Just this month, hundreds of you wrote letters to the San Francisco Planning Board in support of the Chez Poulet, and almost 50 of you even showed up in the middle of the day at a planning board hearing. So THANK YOU from the bottom of our hearts for enriching this community.
Next year will be bigger and better, with more events, more art, and more engagement – and we hope to have your continued support.
Our number one priority as an organization is: Doers. People who show up and join in and make things happen. But money’s good too, and at this time of the year, when people prepare for tax season by making their year end donations, we want to remind you that we are a 501(c)3, and that your tax deductible gifts to the San Francisco Institute of Possibility will be used to help us maintain the bare-bones infrastructure that helps Doers do what they do. With an entirely volunteer staff, the SFIOPwill use your donationto help artists you like create interactive events that you can go to. Our operating budget comes from people like you writing a check and attending the little events we throw.
We know you have a lot to consider when deciding what to do with your money and we do all that we can to be totally worth your consideration and your donations. We scrimp, stretch and barter with every dollar and work ourselves to exhaustion, Chicken can squeeze dollars out of dimes until his fingers seize up, but this is our passion. Art adds an incalculable amount of meaning to all of our lives and we at SFIOPcan say with absolute confidence that our dedication to creating memorable, bonding and intelligent experiences out of ideas and piles of bullshit has made this world a lot better. As the news gets more dire, we feel a much greater responsibility to keep going. We are sharing equipment with the next generation of artist, and teaching by doing.
Donations to the SFIOP are tax deductible as per IRS delineation 501 C-3 and can be made to us through our PayPal account (firstname.lastname@example.org), by a check (made out to SFIOP, mailed to 3359 Cesar Chavez SF 94110) or other arrangements by request to email@example.com.
The SFIOP Board