December 2016 MEDIA - REVIEW - DIGITAL - CAREERS - EVENTS
CITY-WIDE CAMPAIGN CASE STUDY: JERICHO PROJECT’S FIRST ANNUAL DAY OF ACTION By TORI LYON
WE DECIDED THAT EACH SPONSOR COULD “OWN” THE ACTIVITIES AT ONE OF OUR LOCATIONS, ALLOWING THEM TO PLACE THEIR OWN VOLUNTEERS THERE AND HELP FUND THE ACTIVITY.
ew York is a place where vast human needs coexist with deep philanthropic generosity. The potential to bring them together for positive impact is a daily inspiration for those of us in the nonprofit community. Yet sometimes the sheer enormity of our goals – like ending homelessness in a city where 61,000 adults and children sleep in shelters on any given night – poses the challenge of how to engage supporters in a specific and meaningful way. So this holiday season, we at Jericho Project pushed ourselves to ask, “How can we offer our partners concrete ways to tackle a seemingly intractable problem?” We know our donors and supporters are passionate about our work that annually enables 2,000 individuals, children, veterans and young, largely LGBTQ adults, to move from homelessness to fulfilling lives. But we also considered what was important to our partners and their mission. And we realized that a key priority is being able to engage their employees. This realization was the genesis of our new grassroots campaign – Jericho Project’s First Annual Day of Action – to raise awareness about homelessness in New York and to connect individual volunteers and corporate employees with the people they want to help. This city-wide initiative addresses the “Who, Where and How” of our campaign: We are connected to a wide team of volunteers by way of interested corporations; we are bringing them together at Jericho’s supportive housing residences where positive change is occurring, and we will provide them with actions to make a difference in the lives of fellow New Yorkers grappling with
homelessness and poverty. Here are the steps we are taking to build our Day of Action: • Access the corporate changeagents who can connect us to volunteers. We reached out to our existing corporate donors, nonprofit partners and many more. We decided that each sponsor could “own” the activities at one of our locations, allowing them to place their own volunteers there and help fund the activity. We secured nine corporations and nonprofit organizations including Viacom, Goldman Sachs, Wells Fargo, and nonprofits like K.I.D.S Fashion Delivers. By taking this approach we already have a critical mass of participants to make the day a success. • Put a face on the invisibility of homelessness: Volunteers will work shoulder to shoulder with each other. They will also meet the families, veterans, and individuals who have found the security of a home at Jericho and experienced the transformational effect of our services for employment, health and well-being. This collaborative approach also achieves our larger goal of creating a broader sense of community among New Yorkers. • Make it tangible and flexible: Volunteers will feel that they are able to accomplish a specific goal to help others improve their lives or prospects for the future. They can participate in physical projects such as holiday decorating, or food or cold weather clothing drives and distributions. But if volunteers have a particular expertise, they can also help
people achieve longer-term goals through resume writing or financial literacy workshops. Volunteers can join for a few hours or a full day. We are excited and optimistic about the outcome. We welcome the nonprofit community and hope you will join or follow us:
#JerichoDayOfAction2016 Tori Lyon is CEO of Jericho Project, a 33-year old nonprofit ending homelessness at its roots through the stability of supportive housing and comprehensive services for employment, health and wellness. www.jerichoproject.org
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