October 03, 2011

A Low-Cost Way to Thank Supporters

Amara Poolswasdi wanted to thank friends who supported her participation in a race to raise money for Dress for Success Worldwide, a charity that supplies business attire and training to women who are job hunting so they can get off welfare. But she didn't necessarily want to shell out a lot of money.

So Ms. Poolswasdi whipped out her iPhone and downloaded Postagram, an application that allowed her to send a postcard of her run at the Disneyland half-marathon to each of her friends who donated to her cause. The cost for each postcard was 99 cents.

"I really wanted to give back to my donors," says Ms. Poolswasdi, a longtime Dress for Success volunteer who works for a Los Angeles technology company. "I needed to find a way to reward my donors without a lot of out-of-pocket costs but still have a lot of meaning."

She had asked her friends to donate at least $13.10 (13.1 miles is a half-marathon). She had photos taken of herself throughout the race and at the finish line. Afterward, with a click of a button, the iPhone app allowed her to print and send a postcard bearing her photo for very little money and effort.

The 27-year-old also tweeted about her successful Postagram effort, and Sincerely Inc., the San Francisco company that owns Postagram, immediately saw her message. The company featured her on the company blog and provided her a $40 credit for use in sending out "thank-you" Postagram postcards to donors.

"I was really excited," she says.

Kelly Beaty, vice president for marketing and communications at Dress for Success, says the postcards have potential for her organization and charities that want to find inexpensive new ways to acknowledge donors.

"Becoming familiar with programs like Postagram is really helpful not only to remain engaged with your current donor base," she says, "but to also speak the same language and cultivate new relationships with a younger generation of philanthropists and future philanthropists."