2 min Read
February 11, 2015

A little personalization goes a long way

I’ve been wearing glasses ever since I was eleven months old. Almost 40 years later, I still believe that “four eyes are better than two.” Despite the occasional flirtation with contact lenses, I feel at home with a pair of glasses on my face and have certainly explored all different shapes and sizes over the years.

After years of spending a lot of money on the perfect pair of specs, you can imagine my delight when someone told me about Warby Parker. Finally there was a place where I could get funky frames for around $100 that let me both look good and do good–the company donates a pair of glasses to people in need in developing countries for every pair that is purchased. Much has been written about their culture (see this post by Sarah) and if you live in the hipster nation of Brooklyn, you likely see someone sporting some WPs on the daily. In fact, on any given day, you will probably find at least one out of every three Ducks wearing these glasses (photographic evidence below!)


(L to R: Sandy, Michaela, me, Ally, and Becca)

So what’s all this got to do with you, my lovely friends and nonprofiteers? Well, the fine folks at Warby Parker recently created an annual report that is worth your viewing. Offering fans a “DIY style report,” the company invited customers to customize the annual report experience by answering a few short questions. 


The result with my version of their annual report was edu-taining… fun, informative, and all about me. They provided me with silly insight into my past year, and ideas for the year ahead with suggestions of my spirit animal (hedgehog!), books I might enjoy, and even variations on my favorite color (though I may stick with “purple rain”). One of my favorite parts was my projected nicknames for 2015, including Farra™, Five and Dime, Firth of Forth, Fresh Squeezed, and Farmer’s Friend. I’m not sure any of those will stick, but I appreciate the ideas.

Like all good things online these days, there was a link to share the report with my followers via various social media channels. Well, imagine my delight when I tweeted the link and got a personalized response from the people behind the @WarbyParker account. Not only did they monitor mentions of the report, they replied with a note that showed they took the extra minute to review my report and keep the exchange feeling customized. Another smile on my face and an even closer bond with the company.

214378-1524347-oz90iIhdMIZ53Zz-Screen Shot 2015-01-12 at 4.30.57 PM.png

I had a blast making my report and found myself thinking how awesome it would be if nonprofits followed suit. Yes, your annual accomplishments are important to share–necessary for funding and credibility in this age of transparency and results–but where is the donor in the story of your success? Can you tie your donor’s investment into a celebration of what you’ve done together? I did delight in this email message from The Bowery Mission which promoted their results as my results as a supporter. I hope to see more examples of these communications to engage donors and connect them to your mission in 2015. In the meantime, I’m off to try some new glasses…

What would it look like if you let your donors customize your organization’s annual report? What do you do to make your supporters feel special and like they are are part of achieving your mission? Share your examples in the comments below.