It’s no secret in the nonprofit fundraising world that the days of donors writing checks and then forgetting about their charities of choice until the same time the following year are coming to an end.
Donors increasingly are reaching out to the organizations they support more as partners than as mere checkbooks. Organizations that respond in kind foster the best relationships and, hence, the most loyal donors.
It could be somewhat of a difficult transition for some of the more old-school nonprofits out there. But it suits City Year just fine. The 20-year-old organization, which enlists young adults in a year of service in public school systems around the country, is built on relationships — with its volunteers, with the communities it serves, with individual students and with its donors. It won’t be turning down any one-off gifts, of course, but unless you instruct it otherwise, City Year is going to be looking for something much more meaningful from you — an investment of heart rather than just of money.
And to keep up its end of the bargain, the organization is all about one-on-one fundraising and relationship-building, where donors and other potential supporters get to meet City Year corps members (and the children they help) to learn about the invaluable difference the programs have made in their lives.
“We have a firm belief that young people can change the world through their year of service,” says Chuck Gordon, who took over as senior vice president and chief development officer at City Year in April, after more than 20 years at the United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley. “As a result, if every donor can be connected to City Year through one young person, then we believe that each donor can really change the world, as well.