Hope Haven’s mission is as impactful as it is inspired: “As followers of Christ, we unleash potential in people through work and life skills so that they may enjoy a productive life in their community.”
Through programs that provide vocational, residential and mental health services “Hope Haven serves as an ultimate example of Christ’s message to ‘Love one another.’”
This year, Hope Haven won the DonorPerfect Excellence in Fundraising Award for Fastest Acknowledgements.
With an average acknowledgment send-time of just .055 days, we wanted to know how they send acknowledgments at lightning-speed acknowledgments and how this practice benefits their organization.
We spoke with Missy Kuiper and Brenda Gisolf to get the full story. They’ve been employed with Hope Haven for 14 years!
But first, take a look at how Hope Haven gives extraordinary people the ability to discover their talents, gain new skills, and live a life of purpose:
This is Dirk is in his kitchen. Hope Haven offers residential services to guide individuals to live independently.
Pastor Dan, Hope Haven’s Religious Services Coordinator, meets with people attending a spiritual retreat.
This is Lucas. Hope Haven helped him find his job at the local grocery store.
Hope Haven’s reach extends all over the world. Their organization builds and refurbishes donated wheelchairs and ships them to third world countries to distribute to adults and children without mobility for free. To date, they’ve delivered over 113,000 wheelchairs to over 107 third world countries! This facility is located in Guatemala.
This young girl is a recipient of a wheelchair from Hope Haven International.
Now that you know more about Hope Haven, check out our Q+A to find out how an organization that does so much won the 2015 DonorPerfect Excellence in Fundraising Award for Fastest Acknowledgements!
Have you always been quick to say thanks?
We we started sending acknowledgments out, we were sending out whenever we had time, anywhere from a week to 10 days. However, we started getting feedback from donors that checks were clearing before they received acknowledgments.
We responded to this issue by making acknowledgments part of our deposit process. So now, as soon as we deposit and clear a batch, we send the acknowledgments.
How do you turn your acknowledgment process into a daily routine?
Sending acknowledgments is part of the steps we take to process a deposit (donation). After our letters are printed, we give them to the Director who writes a personal note to the donor before the acknowledgment goes into the mail.
The note on each letter is personalized. For example, if an international donor donates, we customize the letter to reflect the projects happening in their area so they know their money is impacting their local community.
How does Hope Haven benefit from speedy acknowledgments?
We think people appreciate the fact that when they get acknowledgment letters, they know we received the money. If for some reason the letter gets lost, we have donors who call to check in, so we can go back and look to see what happened. it works as a checks and balances thing for us, too.
How important is this to your donors?
We think sending acknowledgments quickly is very important. We believe it helps create repetitive giving. Since we began sending acknowledgments immediately, it has been observed that some donors give monthly instead of bi-annually or once a year.
What do you love most about working for Hope Haven?
Our CEO David VanNingen is very passionate about his work at Hope Haven, and he rubs off on pretty much everyone here. Hope Haven is non-profit, it’s not about how much money we can make in a quarter or a year, it’s more important than that. It’s about making a difference in the lives of people who have special needs.
How can you say you don’t love your job when your boss loves helping people with disabilities just as much as you do? David not only cares about you when you’re in the office, he cares about what happens to you when you leave, too. Some employees of Hope Haven have been here for over 40 years, we are a family!
This Q+A is part of a feature series about the winners of the 2015 DonorPerfect Excellence in Fundraising Awards that honor extraordinary work by nonprofits. Stay tuned to for more insights from this year’s winners.