When nonprofits are searching for a travel operator to handle their donor or investor trip, one of the top concerns on their mind is if the tour operator specializes in customized journeys. While that is an essential part of a successful journey, true customization is not a ground operator’s ability to turn right instead of left in the destination.
The process of travel begins from the moment someone is considering a trip, and that is where tailoring the experience to the exact needs and preferences of our clientele begins. It is also what distinguishes us in the space of true bespoke journeys for nonprofits.
Registration and Feedback
From the outset, we allow our clients to integrate customized questions into the registration form that allows them to understand their motivations behind joining the trip, what they hope to get out of the journey and how this fits into their personal philanthropic journey.
On the other end, our feedback forms post journey allow fundraisers to understand the impact of site visits, personal connections to the work and how a person wants to advance their relationship with that nonprofit.
By customizing these starting and ending points, development teams can see the learning arc created by the journey for each participant.
These trips, while operated by Elevate Destinations, are hosted by the nonprofit, and the logo, font and content are all customized to fit the branding of the organization.
For example, a nonprofit’s trip portal can include a page about the program and staff on the journey, the packing list is inclusive of what to wear on-site visits, and the flyer includes photos and images from their work in the country.
This helps the donor feel fully invested and connected to the trip and mission of the organization.
There are a lot of moving parts on these journeys, and often some details don’t come into focus until right before the trip is set to depart. Because of this reality, several of our clients like to embed some slush or lines of credit into the pricing to cover those unexpected events. Some like to include honorarium for the staff or grantee partners, the organization’s flight cost or staff costs, including their time.
Our clientele has complete control over all the inclusions and exclusions in pricing. Additionally, some organizations like to collect payment directly from their donors and then send Elevate bulk payments, while some want us to manage travel payments.
Whatever the formula for calculating costs a nonprofit needs and arranging payment, we can adhere to it. We are happy to support post-trip reconciliations and make sure everything a nonprofit needs is covered in the pricing. The timing and flexibility of payment collection is a collaborative process.
I can’t emphasize enough how important tailored communication and timed travel announcements are to our clientele. We know our clients don’t like to inundate their donors with a lot of emails. We also know our clients have a lot they are navigating beyond this trip.
We always create the language for the emails, present this to the client to integrate additional announcements they may want to include, and provide choices for our client about the timing and sending of those announcements.
The ability our clients have to filter out information, adjust the tone, consolidate announcements, and time them is one of the most appealing aspects of partnering with us.
All of our clients have the option for a traveler’s orientation prior to departure. The dates and timing of this are controlled by our client, yet we manage all the details to get everyone on the call.
We brainstorm with our clients about how the content is organized and presented so essential information they need is always communicated upfront. Some clients also want to include a journalist, a professor or a professional facilitator on these calls.
We help hold all these pieces together, so our client gets the right content in front of their donors at the right time!
While we are not going to compromise on our values and responsibilities for travel practices, what we have done for clients is highlight and uplift their unique mission on their trips.
For example, we have a client that specializes in gender equity. We employed female guides, drivers and operators for 100% of the journey. We have another client who works in sustainability fishers, so we made sure certain fish were not on the menu; particular chefs and restaurants were selected for all meals.
It is wonderful to be able to pack your values with you when you travel and incorporate them into every aspect of your trip.
Instead of just focusing on what someone can do in the country you are traveling to, also think about what the travel operator can do before you even get there to customize your journey!
Elevate Destinations’ model exemplifies a true understanding of developing a signature trip for a nonprofit. The input our clients have over the entire blueprint of their travel experience allows development teams to put their stamp on the trip process from beginning to end. It also provides a level of integration that seamlessly fits into their own systems or history of managing trips.
To find out more about planning a donor trip for a non-profit organization, reach out to Katherine through our contact form.