Around the country, communities are coming together on #GivingTuesday. Our community leaders range from volunteer leaders to community foundations to large nonprofit organizations. What they have in common is a belief that bringing the community together around the spirit of collective generosity on #GivingTuesday has ripple effects far beyond the day. In this series, we’re sharing some of the highlights of #GivingTuesday community campaigns.
Q&A with Nancy Astor Fox, Director of Development, JEVS Human Services
Q. What inspired you to become a #GivingTuesday community campaign leader?
A. As someone who has has worked for 20 + years in the nonprofit world, I recognize the importance of engaging volunteers in very tangible ways. Looking into someone's eyes, seeing the true effect of your philanthropy, is the best way to show the impact of your work. #GivingTuesday is a brilliant idea. At JEVS Human Services, a non-profit located in Philadelphia, we are looking to expand its focus and engage members of our community to GIVE of their time on #GivingTuesday. Not because we do not need the monetary donations. WE DO! And not because we don’t value the success of online fundraising campaigns. WE DO, and we are grateful that this initiative has resulted in millions of dollars given to worthwhile organizations across the globe.
This year, however, we are changing our focus. In place of #givingtuesday, we are instituting #doingtuesday to encourage our donors (and hopefully non-donors) to support our clients in an active and hands-on way. On Tuesday, November 28th, we will gather volunteers to do a number of activities throughout the day and have direct experiences with the individuals we serve.
Q. Tell us about your organization and why you decided to lead a #GivingTuesday community campaign.
A. JEVS Human Services is about helping people achieve independence, live with dignity and find their own path to self-sufficiency. We were founded over 75 years ago to help refugees fleeing Nazi Germany. We have remained committed to this mission and have expanded to help thousands of people each year. We are excited to share our mission with many others as we work toward our next 75 years. We hope that #doingtuesday will encourage Philadelphians to see the power of their volunteerism on their fellow residents. We know that there is not one way to give and we are looking to capitalize on this wonderful day of giving by adding a bit of doing as well. This is a first year effort, so we’ll see how we do. This will be our contribution to the #GivingTuesday learning about how we can all work together to make a difference in our global communities.
Q. What's your goal? How are you building awareness and excitement?
A. Our goal is to get as many people as possible from across Philadelphia engaged and involved in helping others. We are planning a day filled with activities: In the morning, volunteers will help pack winter care packages for families. We will collect donated items in the weeks before and will spend time creating packages with a team of volunteers. We will also deliver these packages to the individuals directly so that we can listen to and share their stories, but also to show these families that we are thinking of them and that there is a community of people who care. At mid-day, volunteers will meet with individuals who are preparing for job interviews to practice interview skills, learn how to network and gain some insights into new career opportunities. Once again, we are focusing on the one to one interactions that show the true impact of giving. Our #doingtuesday will end with a networking and mock interviewing session with Americorps TechServ Scholars and leaders in the IT community in Philadelphia.
We are grateful to be working with a number of companies in our community who will join us on this special day.
Q. Why #doingtuesday?
A. Why #doingtuesday? We hope to engage Philadelphians in giving of their time and talents to directly help others. We hope that it will inspire more people to become involved, to learn more about how they can make an impact, and, ultimately, to donate in November as well as other months throughout the year.
Q. You’ve been in the social sector for a long time. How do you stay energized?
A. It is hard to describe the feeling of watching someone when they receive their first job offer or when they learn that they passed their GED tests. At JEVS Human Services, we are helping people to overcome obstacles to lead lives of independence and dignity. Many of our clients/participants face untold barriers and hardships. Our goal is to help them move up the ladder toward self-sufficiency - toward being the very best they can be. In addition to all of the support and services we provide, it is the small acts of kindness which can have the most impact. Giving someone encouragement in a practice interview, providing a warm hat or coat, showing that there are people who care -- these are all the unquantifiable pieces of #doingtuesday.