Friday was the first day of autumn. This week is the first week that it actually FEELS like autumn. This time of the year brings with it all sorts of change; change in temperature, change in foods, change in the amount of light that graces the sky each day. Here at CASA we are experiencing another sort of change. Allan, who was my advocate manager when I was a CASA Advocate, has taken a position as a supervisor in Child Protective Services. Kristen, who was an advocate manager in Bedford, has moved to the Lynchburg office and now supports Allan’s advocates. I accepted a promotion as the Development Director. For me, it’s a change with more hours, more responsibility and more focus.
When I started working with CASA of Central Virginia a few years ago as the Executive Assistant, I could have never imagined the changes that were about to happen. After spending 9 years at home with my 3 daughters, I joked that the hardest part of going back to work was not being able to wear my yoga pants all day and that if I was allowed to wear them to the office, I would in fact, be more efficient. I certainly could not have imagined 3 years ago that I would be working in development. It’s a position that I grew into and it’s a task I am thrilled to take on. Working with the abused and neglected kids in our community breaks our hearts daily.
In order to continue making a difference in the lives of children, we are making a change. Like most non-profits, we rely heavily on our grants and fundraisers. However, what if ALL the Lynchburg, Bedford, Campbell, Nelson and Amherst residents could also feel their hearts breaking for the abused children all around them? What if their hearts broke for the almost 1,500 abused children in this area last year? What if all those residents became part of the solution? We understand, not everyone has the time to be a CASA advocate, but they could still make change by becoming a CASA donor.
We want our donors to know:
1. They are part of our mission, that they are our partners in this quest to bring hope to the children who need in most in their own community,
2. The joy of being that hope for a child,
3. They are loved and appreciated,
4. How effective our program is, and
5. That they ARE making an impact in the lives of children during their most vulnerable time.
How do we plan to accomplish all of this? The first step was hiring someone who will focus and be accountable for those things. I am excited to share with you a few of my strategies to bring that change as the new Development Director.
• Assemble the troops: Last month, I gathered a group of people (my dream team) who have proven to love CASA and its mission. This group of people consists of advocates, donors, current and former board members. The purpose of this group is to create a lasting legacy for CASA. Our title is The CASA Legacy League. This group meets 5 times a year. They review our donor data trends and host Cocktails with CASA events in private homes to share intimate stories with friends and family. They will be the driving force preparing for our endowment campaign. If you are interested in learning more about this group, email me at Tami@cvcasa.org
• Tell the world: CASA of Central Virginia wants everyone in our community to know who our donors are; those who bring hope to the children we serve. When donors give, we want them to feel good knowing they are changing lives; precious lives and everyone should know. Soon we will publish our annual report, called The CASA Appreciation Report. Donors from our previous fiscal year will receive the report. Within the report we will highlight the top 7 things that our donors have made possible during that year. Once it’s finished it will be shared on our website; you will be able to click the link on our website to see the 2016-17 CASA Appreciation Report.
• Share their Stories: Now that we have changed our website format, (which includes this blog) I will be bringing you monthly donor stories. I am so excited to share our donor testimonials with you. I imagine everyone will be able to see a little of themselves in each of our donors. Every one of our donors has a unique reason why they have chosen to give to CASA out of all the other amazing non-profits in our area and we want you to know. We hope that their stories will inspire others.
What do you think? Are you willing to be the change our kids need? If you want to be the reason we are able to say “yes” to ALL the children that have been abused who enter our court system, please consider becoming a partner with CASA of CV by donating today! If you are already a donor, thank you and I look forward to getting to know you better.
Tami Tice Jacob, CASA Development Director