How to Start Building a Deeply Engaged Community

Visiting new places is my passion. The by-product is I often observe unique and fun ideas for engagement and storytelling.
Invite Donors to Offer Feedback
Over the Christmas holiday we visited The Perlan Museum, formerly a group of huge hot water storage tanks atop a hill in Rejkjavik, Iceland.

In 1991, the water tanks were updated and a hemispherical structure was added to the top.



Today the structure provides stunning outdoor panoramic views of Reykjavik.

And an awesome exhibit of ice caves.

What does this have to do with nonprofit storytelling and donor engagement?

As we left the Wonders of Iceland Glaciers and Ice Cave exhibition we passed a large wall enticing us to share our experience. Handwritten compliments and thank you messages were posted on red and blue colored plastic disks.

We were captivated by the multitude of different languages and countries represented.

It was a moment in time that felt like an expression of world-wide gratitude and joy.

Something else happened though.

By allowing visitors to share their thoughts and feelings we felt more deeply connected to the museum.

It’s certainly a visit I’ll never forget.

You don’t have to be an arts organization to offer your visitors, donors, supporters, a way to share how they feel about you.

My advice:
Get creative this year and invite comments, reflections, and feedback. It’s how you’ll build a more deeply engaged community. One comment at time.




  • What if you only have an online presence and not a brick and mortar

  • Great question, Suzanne!

    You’ll want to get creative. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
    1. Send donors a one open-ended question survey once or twice a year. Ask things like: What will be the most important part of having Ladybug House built for you and your family? How has the Ladybug House story inspired you? Do you know someone that will use Ladybug House when it’s completed?

    2. Invite comments for inspiring mission moment stories on your social media, in person meetings, and on your website.

    3. On social media and your website: Highlight comments people have made to you about the importance of your project using graphics and if possible, their picture.

    If these ideas don’t inspire you, ask your community of supporters how to gather their thoughts, ideas, advice and allow THEIR creativity to flow.

    Good luck!

  • Nicole Knowlton says:

    I’m thinking, I’m thinking.

    • Nicole,
      What if you invite guests to your annual fundraising event to fill out a heart shaped image with your logo on it, that allows them to state what they loved about the event? You already have their contact info and can follow-up with them to ask about sharing their quote elsewhere…thus deepening the relationship with a phone call or email. Just a thought!

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