Sunday, November 22, 2015

Help Youth Orgs Gobble Up Donations This Holiday Season

Once again we're heading toward the biggest period of charitable giving of the calendar year.  While many have much to be thankful for, many others are suffering from a world full of man-made and environmental pain.   
I hope all of the youth-serving organizations in the Chicago region, and in other cities have strategies in place that attract new and repeat donors.

When I created the Tutor/Mentor Connection (T/MC) in 1993 it's goal was to gather information about existing non-school, volunteer-based tutor, mentor and learning programs in the Chicago region and help every one of those organizations get a more consistent flow of ideas, talent, volunteers and operating dollars, so each could constantly increase their impact on youth.

Since 2011 I've operated the T/MC  under the umbrella of Tutor/Mentor  Institute, LLC, but the goals and strategies are the same. 

Since Thanksgiving is this week, most of the work that should have been done over the past year of educating donors via your web site and social media activity, is already in the rear-view mirror. Now let the giving begin!

The first big giving event is  #ILGive.  On December 1, nonprofits, families, businesses, and students around the world will be encouraged to come together to celebrate generosity and to give. In Illinois, a bold goal is to raise $6 million by Illinois social impact organizations — in one day.  Visit this list of participating organizations to shop for one to support. 

Right now this is a long list that includes all types of 501-c-3 charitable organizations. I'm sure a number of Chicago area tutor/mentor programs are on the list.

However, to help donors find programs in different parts of the Chicago region, I encourage you to browse these two lists of programs.

Chicago area Tutor/Mentor Program Links - click here - organized by sections of city and suburbs

Chicago area Tutor/Mentor Programs with Facebook Pages - click here. Also organized by sections of the city and suburbs.

I've been using maps since 1993 to illustrate a need for great tutor/mentor programs to be available in all high poverty neighborhoods of the Chicago region, thus if donors are shopping for programs to support this holiday season, not just on December 1, my lists enable you to search for programs operating in different sections of the city.  There's also a list for programs that do not map to a specific location, such as the BigBrothersBigSisters of Metropolitan Chicago.

There are over 200 links in my library which means few volunteers and donors will view every web site between now and December 1, or the end of December.

That's why I encourage programs to develop a year-round campaign to engage potential donors and teach them to shop web lists like mine to learn what programs are operating, compare what they offer, and decide which they will support, and how.

My hope is that over time more program web sites will show something like the graphic below, on their own web site. 

This illustrates three time frames when service might be offered. It shows a need to reach kids as early as pre-school and provide continuous support through high school, college and until the youth is working....if that youth lives in one of Chicago's high poverty neighborhoods.   It also suggests that programs that have been operating five to ten years or longer, should begin to show photos of kids when they entered a program, and when they are out of high school and in the work place.

To the donor, and the policy maker, this graphic, and the map, emphasize the need for continuous, year-to-year support of programs in many locations, if those programs are to stay in operation, and connected to youth and volunteers, for such a long period of time.

I've been posting articles on this blog since 2005 and in printed newsletters and web pages since 1994.  All focus on the challenges of building the type of program I'm describing, as well as the ongoing infrastructure and leadership needed to support such programs.

My own holiday goal is that a few people will go beyond saying "thanks Dan" and will provide contributions or investment to help me continue this work in 2016 and beyond.  I'm no longer operating under a 501-c-3 tax designation, so you don't get a tax deduction for helping me. You do get to be part of building something that has been missing from Chicago and other cities for decades.  Visit this page and use PayPal to make a contribution.

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