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If you have ever worked at a non-profit or been involved with fundraising for your child’s school, scout troop or sports team, you know how hard it can be to find new and exciting ways to raise money. So when we were contacted by Michael Connor, Relationship Development Coordinator, at The Centers at St. Camillus in Syracuse, NY about using our garden wall decals in an effort to secure donors via an “Annual Giving Garden” we thought that was pretty genius. The folks at St. Camillus have not only created a beautiful mural throughout the halls of their center but have created a vehicle through which donors can give year after year and keep the garden growing! With messages of love and remembrance, this Annual Giving Garden has been a big hit with patients, families and staff alike.
The Centers at St. Camillus is a not-for-profit health care community offering comprehensive inpatient, outpatient and home care services, including brain injury rehabilitation, continuing care, subacute rehab, outpatient therapies, medical transport, adult day health services and more. Since its founding in 1969, St. Camillus has been a leader in rehabilitative health care dedicated to caring for life. In his role as Relationship Development Coordinator, Michael was tasked with developing a giving program for individuals, families and other groups. The challenge was to create the opportunity for donors to give more than once. Michael and his team also wanted to create something visual and uplifting. They chose to use a garden theme because of the universal appeal of flowers and nature and the power a garden can have to inspire and add to the overall quality of life of patients, families and staff.
The team initially purchased the entire Splendid Garden Wall Sticker Kit to get started. They also chose a handful of My Wonderful Walls design elements (with our permission of course) to develop a direct mail brochure to contact potential donors who had given to St. Camillus within the last three years. There are five levels of giving, from $50 leafs and $100 flowers to $1,000+ tree flowers. Once they had attracted their first 20 donors, Michael special ordered leaves and flowers from the Splendid Garden Wall Sticker designs personalized with either the donor’s name, or in honor of, or in memory of someone special to the donor. With their Annual Giving Garden, St. Camillus established that donors’ personalized leaves or flowers will remain in the garden for one year, and that by renewing their gift each year, donors can ensure that their leaf or flower remains in the garden annually. People have donated in memory of loved ones passed, in honor of staff or in celebration of their family as shown in some of the photos here.
Michael and the rest of the Marketing Department with the help of the Maintenance Department created the first garden in about a week working on it an hour or two every other day or so to let the up to three coats of background sky and grass, as well as frame paints to dry. He told us, “The actual stickers went up lickety-split, even though we had many of them and there were three of us placing them on the wall (which led to occasional friendly differences of opinion!)”. The team found the wall stickers very durable and forgiving if removed and repositioned on the wall.
Space in their original Annual Giving Garden mural (four feet high by 11 feet wide) was fast becoming a
premium, so they added two more, slightly smaller wall gardens just down the hall. After having created the first garden, the subsequent garden murals were even quicker to put up. Their third order to My Wonderful Walls included 18 more leaf and flower decals personalized for donors, as well as several additional elements from both the Splendid Garden and Forest Friends Wall Sticker designs to help complete the look of all three gardens. And a fourth order was well on its way to St. Camillus as this blog post was being written.
So far the center has already reached 85% of their Annual Giving Garden fundraising goal with the remainder of the year left to meet their goal or perhaps surpass it. They consider this an ongoing initiative and strive to keep the garden growing. The reviews from families, patients and staff about the garden mural have been very positive and remarks like “how beautiful” and “what a great idea!” can be heard in the halls. The best result is that the garden immediately uplifts everyone’s spirit, and sparks a multitude of meaningful, engaging conversations between generations of viewers.
When asked what he liked best about this project, Michael said, “It’s a three-way tie between the beautiful 3D fabric designs, the affordability, and the terrific customer service we’ve received all along the way from the staff at My Wonderful Walls. They truly took a special interest in us and our new project from the beginning; they felt like a partner in the project, and wanted us to succeed. From the way I’ve answered this question, I suppose it’s My Wonderful Walls’ customer service, after all!” Which is of course what we strive for every day! We are honored to be a small part of such a wonderful project and worthy cause.
If you or someone you know would like to support the Annual Giving Garden at The Centers at St. Camillus please visit their website for more information or call Michael at (315) 703-0822.
Blog post written by Tara