Here’s a nonprofit – Agape Flights – that uses general aviation as the primary tool of its mission.  They have been flying critical supplies and mail to missionaries in Haiti (and also the Dominican Republic) since 1980. 

Today I’m focusing on Agape Flights for two reasons:

  1. I’m an aviation buff (i.e., I’m a private pilot) and I enjoy reading about nonprofits who use aircraft to fulfill their mission.
  2. Haiti is “in the news” because of the tragic 7.0 magnitude earthquake that struck just outside their capital of Port-au-Prince on January 12, 2010.

Let’s explore possible ways Agape Flights could leverage its unique way (i.e., using aircraft) of completing its mission and raise even more funds for their continuing work in Haiti:

  • Contact aviation associations – also nonprofit organizations – and ask them to help spread the word.  Two examples are AOPA (Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association), and the NBAA (National Business Aviation Association).  They have members very partial to flying who also have compassionate and giving hearts.  Agape may benefit from more donations and possibly even more pilots and aircraft to use for their relief work.  Plus AOPA and NBAA benefit from keeping their members informed of aviation news, and some goodwill.
  • Publish an online press release.  Get more media coverage.  Agape Flights has some unique angles that I believe will appeal to the media.  The fact that they use aircraft leads the list; they support other nonprofits with their work; and they’ve been doing this since 1980.  Lead with a story of one of their flights to Haiti following the earthquake . . . include someone they encountered while in Haiti unloading the supplies and the stories they shared with the Agape Flights pilot, impressions of the situation, and so forth.
  • Send out updates via Twitter on their great work. Include a link directly to their online donation page and the #Haiti hash tag.
  • There’s a link to a TV clip from a local ABC news affiliate on their website.  However, it blends in making it difficult to find.  It ought to be featured more prominently on the home page.  It gives a lot of credibility to prospective donors, and it reassures current donors that they’re supporting the right charity.
  • For an event like this they don’t have time to redesign their website.  But I believe the earthquake story at the top of the home page ought to also mention that helping Haiti is not new for them.  They were able to respond immediately and efficiently to the earthquake disaster because they have been providing relief for over 29 years.  This gives them additional credibility to donors and the media.

None of these publicity and fundraising tactics would require significant amounts of time.  Yet they would likely yield impressive response and conversions for their nonprofit.  And Agape Flights would be in a stronger financial position to continue their work in Haiti long after the current media attention has faded.