While asking the public, through donation drives and volunteerism, to support the agency and the
children, youth and families served may not always be viewed as within the purview of
Communications, such efforts do serve to increase knowledge and ‘buy in’ from the community, a key
goal of agency communications. Community members thus engaged are more apt to be invested in the
work of the agency and sensitive to the struggles and needs of those the agency serves.
Altruistic opportunities provided to the general public and targeted audiences (corporations, youth
organizations, schools, etc.,) accomplish three major goals:
By tying donation drives to specific needs rather than engaging in year-round, general-donations
drives, the public is more effectively educated about the specific needs of families and youth.
This approach also serves to educate the public about the limits of government funding and is more
likely to result in media attention. Donors also seem to appreciate responding to a particular
need; it engages people on a personal level and helps to make them feel more invested in outcomes
of children, youth and families served by the agency. Drives that gather gifts around the winter
holidays, formal attire in time for high school proms, school supplies for the beginning of the
school year and books for reading programs are just a few examples.
Volunteer opportunities may be in support of a donation drive or related to other services such as
mentoring or job shadowing. Again, specificity is important: more involvement is often generated by
choosing to support a particular group of individuals or a specific event. Volunteers will often
need to complete a confidentiality statement to ensure the privacy of any children and families
they may come in contact with. In addition, volunteers who deal directly with children may need to
submit to a criminal background check to help ensure the safety of the children.
Volunteers will appreciate recognition of their s rvice. Such recognition can range from a thank
you letter written by the Director or public official to an annual volunteer luncheon.