Monday, March 26, 2012

Make Your Youth Program More Visible

Based upon my own experience leading a volunteer-based tutor/mentor program and survey's I've done to determine the needs of others, I think I'm safe to say that most of us spend a lot of energy looking for dollars, talent, volunteers and other resources that give us the ability to help the kids and volunteers who are part of our programs.

If we all have the same needs, and most of us have limited advertising dollars, how do we create greater attention and a greater flow of needed resources, without increasing the costs of finding these?

Good question. I wish I could find places where leaders of tutor/mentor programs were getting together to talk about this on a regular basis. I've hosted conference every six months since May 1994 and host a forum on Facebook, Linked In, and Ning, but there is very little participation from leaders, fund raisers, board members and most importantly, donors.

While I'm trying to find ways to bring leaders together, I'm also innovating ways to aggregate information that helps volunteers, donors, parents, youth find existing programs in the city. Below is a screen shot of the Tutor/Mentor Program Locator "inquiry page". You can sort this by type of program, age group, zip code, and find contact information and web site links for any program fitting your search description. You can put in a community area name, or even the name of an organization. If it's in our database, it will come up on a Google map.
This does not help you if your program is not listed, or the information is out of date. Email me at tutormentor 2 at earthlink dot net and I can help you update your information or add (or delete) a site.

In addition, this does not help any of us if too few potential volunteers, donors, reporters, etc are looking at it, or know how to create their own map from the interactive map feature. You can zoom into a section of the map, click the "print screen" button on your computer and paste the map into your power point, Adobe, or a word document. Then you can use the map to show where you are and make a case for resources to support programs in this part of the city.

However, you can also write about the Program Locator in your own blog, and add a link to it in your links library. You can even point to it on Facebook, Twitter or your Linkedin page. If dozens of programs and community leaders are writing about this resource, instead of just me, more people will be searching the different parts of the city to look for you and your program's web site.

If you're a business or philanthropist and you'd like your name on this service, I'd be happy to offer that opportunity in return for some money each year to keep the technology working and updated. If you're in another city that does not have a program locator or someone writing about helping tutor/mentor programs all over your city, the way I do, I'd like to offer you my help to duplicate this.

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