My Summer at Solid Ground

Tomorrow will be my last day working at Solid Ground.  While none of my blog posts have talked about how I spend these 40 hours each week, interning with the Resource Development team here has been a huge part of my summer, and a great part of it too.

My main task during these eight weeks has been to procure auction items for an event in October called Chef’s Night Out, benefiting the program Cooking Matters – “a direct outreach program teaching cooking, nutrition, and budgeting classes to families at risk for hunger and malnutrition in Washington State…Cooking Matters is an important part of Solid Ground’s mission to end poverty in our community” (from my “ask” letter). Taking over this project was a new experience for me, and I had some hesitations about what it would be like asking almost 400 businesses for donations- contacting them through email, mail, and phone.  Surprisingly, I actually enjoyed doing this job despite moments of discouragement when it felt like no one would donate.  My ability to persuade was challenged (and hopefully improved), and it was not hard to talk about why someone should give to this good cause.  Watching the donations come in the last few weeks has been especially rewarding and the generosity is inspiring. A summary of what the process looked like, beginning to end:

1. Determine which businesses to ask by building off last year’s list and researching on Yelp and similar sites

2. Write the “ask letter” and mail merge to make it specific to each donor

3. Email and mail out to each donor, with event information and procurement form attached to the personalized letter

4. Follow-up with a phone call a few weeks after the letter is mailed

5. Document the status in a big spreadsheet so I remember who is who

6. Items start coming in!

7. Keep up with received items in spreadsheet with description

8. Mail out personalized thank-you letters and contribution forms

I am definitely going to miss Solid Ground – my coworkers, learning about our 35 different programs, and even the walk to work every morning.  After being here for eight weeks, I have come to believe this is an organization that deserves to be supported and will continue to do great work in the community.  (One easy way to support? Go to Groupon Seattle’s G-Team section August 23-25 to give to our Grocery Delivery Project!)

Thanks for a great summer, DukeEngage, Seattle, and Solid Ground!

Mailing out the first round of auction "ask" letters

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