Teens Run Westchester
Chocolate and Peanut Butter. Batman and Robin. Linguine with Red Clam Sauce…
Some things just belong together (these are some of my favorites)! With Teens Run Westchester (TRW) I got to live the dream with the best combination of all: I connected my passion for running with my commitment to mentoring young people in our community.
In 2008, I was running the Philadelphia Marathon when I was inspired by the sight of young runners being cheered to the finish by adults: this was Students Run Philly Style in action. This mentoring program uses distance running to teach young people about goal setting, achievement and healthy lifestyles. I was in love! I decided to create a similar program for teens in Westchester County, my own community.
TRW was launched in 2009 and officially designated a nonprofit in 2012. Starting this organization was the perfect opportunity to master high priority action steps I now share with my clients including:
- Soliciting in-kind sponsorships that get you started. We got our break when the Yonkers Department of Parks sponsored our teens in the Yonkers Half-Marathon.
- Securing the pro-bono services of a nonprofit legal firm. Super critical! Our team did the paperwork and coached us in developing our ideas into high-impact programs.
- Recruiting an active and engaged Board of Directors. Sure you can start with family and friends but why not go for the gold? We did by reaching out to amazing individuals with a passion for our cause.
Cabrini Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation
What happens when someone new to fundraising gets the opportunity to work with a senior care facility full of awesome people in one of the coolest areas in downtown New York City? You raise nearly $500,000 that supports big changes in the culture and structure of a 240-bed nursing facility!
When I joined the Cabrini Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation there was no fundraising operation in place. The only prior development work was an annual appeal sent to family members. Add to the mix that the home was primarily a Medicaid-based population and you had a significant fundraising challenge.
Working closely with the dedicated staff, amazing volunteers and our downtown neighbors, we created a fundraising infrastructure that focused on maximizing participation throughout the CCNR Community. We created leadership teams that included the board, senior management, all levels of staffing, the residents and uber-hip surrounding community.
- Board and Senior Leadership committed to pledges of $5k to $50K as part of a Capital Campaign; they also supported the first ever gala which raised over $275,000.
- The staff raised funds through t-shirt sales, Block Party auctions and raffles from local sponsors.
- Residents created auction items like artwork and books, participated in our Block Party and told their life stories to a fascinated community.
Volunteers of America-Operation Backpack
Expanding Operation Backpack was one of the great joys of my career. With this signature campaign, Volunteers of America-Greater New York put together a multi-faceted program that combined in-kind donation, employee volunteerism, and sponsorship. Gathering just 2,500 backpacks and minimal sponsorship for the past several years, the program had significantly underachieved its goal of gathering 11,000 backpacks and supplies for New York City’s homeless children.
Working closely with our development team, we executed a systematic approach to cold-calling and follow up. And yes, I still believe in cold-calling with an actual phone! We targeted multiple industries for support. We focused on key sponsors to secure funding for the replication of program in partner cities. And, partnering with our communications department, we secured media sponsors, celebrity spokespeople, sports-partnerships and grew consumer participation. The numbers speak for themselves:
- The number of backpacks tripled from 2,500 to 7,500.
- Sponsorship grew from $100,000 to $250,000 including funding for replication of program in a second city.
- The number of corporate participants more than doubled from 25 to 60 with their employees donating and volunteering to fill and distribute backpacks to 25 service organizations.