on 12-21-2010 2:28 PM, EST - last edited on 12-21-2010 2:30 PM, EST
"I really need people to know the value of technology and the improvements it can make in everyday life. Without assistive technology (AT), most people with disabilities are underemployed if they are employed at all. Few agencies provide AT, which fosters growth for independent living and…well, life. …the Access Fund provides a vital link to the world through AT. It decidedly increases work opportunities, independent living and breaks down barriers." - Ryan Bondroff (Access Fund client).
It is hard to believe that 2011 is almost here! It has been a big year for the Washington Access Fund and we're excited about the opportunities and challenges that lay ahead as we continue to serve people with disabilities throughout Washington State.
Through our Assistive Technology and Business Equipment Loan Funds, we have now dispersed nearly 300 loans. Earlier this year, we loaned out our one millionth dollar! These low interest loans have been used to purchase hearing aids, accessible vehicles, computers, Braille Notetakers and GPS systems, wheelchairs and scooters, adapted bicycles, beds and chairs designed to address back pain - an astonishingly wide range of devices. Our business equipment loan program is expanding - thanks to the addition of an eight week online Small Business Planning course! Our business clients are engaged in a wide array of activities - from pre-planning to start-up to expansion: candy-making; clothing design; videography; music composition; website design; embroidery and mental health counseling to name a few.
Our Closed Circuit TV Rental Program offers long term low cost rentals of powerful desktop magnifiers primarily to low income seniors. CCTVs help individuals with significant vision loss read, write, manage their finances, cook and keep in touch with others. This program serves about 50 people a year - most of whom would not otherwise be able to afford these devices - so vital to their independence.
Our new Assistive Technology Individual Development Account (matched savings) program is designed to help low income individuals pay for assistive technologies needed for work related activities. This small pilot (started with $40,000 in state match) is successfully helping participants reach their savings goals and acquire the technologies needed to improve their employment circumstances. Over $26,000 in assets have been purchased including items such as modified vehicles, wheelchair repairs, computers, screen readers and the like! Thanks to the U.S. Department of Education, we've also just launched a new Business Equipment matched savings account program. This pilot will serve both entrepreneurs and employees with disabilities. It's very exciting to be able to offer these new opportunities!
As 2010 comes to a close, the Access Fund is in need of your support! Priorities for the coming year include dollars to sustain and expand our Loan Funds, replace aging CCTVs and continue the Assistive Technology Matched Savings program when the pilot ends in June 2011. We'll also continue to support clients with information, referral and additional training opportunities. A gift in any amount will help us to achieve these goals and fulfill our mission of promoting access to technology and economic opportunity for people with disabilities throughout Washington State.
Wishing you a warm and joyful holiday season and a wonderful New Year!
- Frances Pennell
Support the Access Fund in a free and easy way! When you shop online a percentage of your purchase can benefit the Washington Access Fund! Through iGive.com, you can shop at over 800 of some of your favorite sites and a percentage of your purchase will be donated by each store to the Access Fund ranging up to 26%! It's free and easy to sign up for an iGive.com account, simply visit http://www.igive.com/washingtonaccessfund and you can sign up directly to support the Access Fund cause!
12-21-2010 5:08 PM, EST
Is this a direct mail piece? I'm confused because it refers to a link at the bottom, but it's much too long for an email in December.
It looks like you've got some great stories from your clients - focus on those in your appeal - people resonate with donors more than abstract technologies do. Check out the feedback we gave on this appeal from another organization that's facilitating use of AT.
I'd actually break this up into a series (on the 27th, 29th or 30th and the 31st) of emails focusing on the client stories: Put a story at the top, then in the second paragraph, immediately get to the ask. Then you can get to the background on your overall mission and achievements. When you talk about those, be sure not to claim all the credit but rather to share it with the supporters reading this appeal - say how proud you are of what you have accomplished with your supporters. Point to the amazing change that was possible because of their support.