Wilmington, Delaware—YWCA Delaware is a place women can turn to in times of crisis and for practical needs. The organization, whose mission is to eliminate racism and empower women, offers an array of services such as housing and supportive services for homeless women and families; economic empowerment programs in homeownership education and small business development; money management training; and after-school life skills and academic enrichment programs for teens.
When the YWCA needed to enlarge its fundraising program, they hired a consultant to examine their fundraising operation. Ginny Marino, CEO, says the news they heard was troubling.
"The firm told us, 'You've already tapped just about every possible government and corporate grant program you could, and your individual giving program is nonexistent,'" Marino recalls.
She says when they found out about the Benevon Model, one board member saw the potential it could have for their organization.
"She clearly saw the validity and potential of the Benevon Model, and she had the ability to sell it to the board from a business perspective," Marino says.
Almost from the start, Marino says Benevon had transformative results for the YWCA.
Marino says that all board members are now fully committed to participating in components of the Benevon Model. Women who are candidates for the board are required to attend one of the YWCA's "Empower Hours," their Point of Entry, to ensure that they have passion for the mission and work, and to introduce them to the Benevon Model. Moreover, Marino says the YWCA has integrated the model into the very fabric of their board and their entire organization.
"This has been transformative in terms of how it has galvanized our entire organization, including the board, around the culture of fundraising," she says.
With Benevon's help, the YWCA also restructured its development team. They realized that the position of development director should actually be split into two different jobs, with one role focusing on cultivation, and the other monitoring the basic operations of the Benevon Model.
"Strategy-wise, we decided not to do replacing at the senior level, but to add more hands on deck," Marino says. "That's how we can maximize our results."
Those internal changes, in conjunction with the YWCA's Points of Entry and Ask Events, have greatly benefited the organization.
At the end of their first Ask Event, the YWCA gained twenty-one members in their Multiple-Year Giving Society, and raised $75,000. Those numbers have grown steadily over time, and at their last Ask Event they raised $302,000 and had increased membership in their Multiple-Year Giving Society to seventy-three people.
The YWCA has raised a combined $1.49 million in their seven years with Benevon.
"This has changed us from an organization that worried about what we didn't have, to an organization that stands really strong in what we do have, and feels empowered in our relationship-building process and the results. All of our employees understand now that they are a part of the mission and they are actively working to build sustainable relationships within the community," Marino says.
No doubt the YWCA is more effective in empowering the women it serves now that the organization itself has enhanced its fund development process and become empowered through using the Benevon Model.
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