Sustainability Award of the Year 2009 - Connecticut Action Center


NOMINEE : CONNECTICUT ACTION CENTER


Criteria:

  • Volunteer (core team) retention and strength (90% retention from 2008)
  • Sustained revenue growth (Fell from 22K to 7.5K)
  • Successful sustained events (2 events)
  • Stability of AC leadership team over the past 2 years (80% from 2008)
  • Sustainability best practices adoption

Measurement Metrics:
  • Retention rate (90% of active core volunteers retained from 2008)
  • 2 Annual Events (sustained over the past 2 years)
  • Sustained revenue growth over the past 2 years (Fell from 22K to 7.5K)

Minimum Threshold:
  • 6 core volunteers (15 + core volunteers)
  • $5,000 in annual revenues (7.5K annual revenue)


The year 2009 brought the biggest challenge for sustaining the operations of Connecticut State Chapter of Child Rights & You. With the economic recession looming large, many senior team members and leaders travelled out of Connecticut. Donations from patrons dried out and conducting a profitable fundraising event looked impossible. Regrouping the existing team and recruiting new volunteers was one of the biggest challenges.

As a strategic first step, the old team members formed a core group of leaders. Defining responsibilities such as increasing the number of volunteers, procuring sponsorships for fundraisers and connecting with prospective donors clearly defined the teamís short-term goal to rejuvenate the organization. The annual walk for child rights provided the apt platform to meet the teamís goals to connect with the donors and channel the teamís energy to host a profitable fundraiser.

Arduous preparation and networking during the month leading to the Walk saw new volunteers joining the CT chapter Ė at least 10 new members joined infusing more energy and enthusiasm. Regular weekly conference calls and monthly team meetings reflected the discipline and dedication of the volunteers. Media engagement such as interview in local radio along with extensive utilization of social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and Orkut played important role in expanding the outreach. On the eve of the event, The Mayor of Hartford flagged off the walk. Discussions with the Mayor on involving local communities in CRY CTís activities and the idea of working closely with the government and social organizations in Connecticut set the stage for implementing a long-term sustained operations strategy. The well-attended walk saw the team raise $4,000 in revenues. Within two months of the Walk, the team hosted a spectacular DJ night to add in excess of $3,500 to the funds.

In a year marred by multitude of unfortunate and unfavorable circumstances, CRY CTís volunteers proved their commitment to keep the Organizationís flag flying high. Since its inception in 2007, CRY CT has raised significant funds year-on-year and has reached out to a donor base of more than 500 individuals. In addition, the media outreach has grown and new initiatives involving local communities have led to the AC being one of the first few chapters to align its operating model with the National Executive Committeeís visions. The old team members, no matter where they relocate to, still contribute enthusiastically to the ACís activities. A strong team of more than 20 active volunteers and a new branch of the Action Center at Stamford is an indicator of continued growth. The story of Connecticut ACís success is an ideal example of sustainability in the face of adversity.

Facts & Figures:
  • The team continues to grow in strength and new volunteers always fill in when the existing team members relocate due to professional and personal commitments.
  • Sponsorships for events from local businesses like Big Y supplement the seed money for organizing events. The partnership has grown in numbers over the years and the contributions look promising for the future.
  • With a media advisor and multiple media contacts, outreach has expanded immensely. Publication in print media, like CT Indian Life, has ensured that the events are well covered.