At our November 2008 conference, one of the many invited philanthropists mentioned something very interesting. When he was a child, he grew up in an area that was rife with anti-Semitism. Jewish Camp was a refuge for him, a place where he could be himself in a safe, happy environment. However, his family couldn't afford the tuition, so he went to any camp that would offer him a scholarship. Over eight years, this philanthropist attended six separate camps!
How does this apply to your camp or organization? Despite being a very successful businessman who just happens to be a prominent philanthropist, not one of those six camps has ever reached out to him for a donation. Not one of those six camps has ever even sent him a newsletter! Obviously, these camps do not have a good process of tracking their alumni and keeping them connected to their camp.
What should you do at YOUR camp?
First, make sure you are tracking your current campers and parents effectively. Keep your data in a central location, and keep it up to date.
Next, include details about the campers that may prove useful later in life. Did they receive a scholarship to help defray the costs of camp? Track it! Scholarship recipients may be more likely to donate to a scholarship campaign someday. Were they especially interested in your arts, theater, or sports program? Track it! These campers may be interested in supporting those programs when they need help in the future.
Now, clean up all those old alumni records. Check out our webinar "No More Dusty Records" for tangible ideas for finding old alumni data and cleaning up your database!
Finally, start reconnecting with your alumni! Reach out to them and remind them of the magic of their time at camp. Who knows? Maybe this particular philanthropist received a scholarship from YOUR camp!