Published
Monday, February 29, 2016 - 16:52
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An Interview with the Mile High Youth Corps

The Mile High Youth Corps (MHYC) located in Denver, Colorado was founded in the tradition of the Civilian Conservation Corps from the 1930’s. The organization helps young people make a difference in the community and their own lives, through service opportunities focused on conservation.

Cividesk recently spoke with Tory Pearson, the Annual Giving and Events coordinator about using CiviCRM to help manage and increase their donations and organize their annual fundraising event.

Like many nonprofits, MHYC is working on their fundraising efforts, and that has been their focus this past year. CiviCRM has been instrumental in helping them develop their donors database.  Tory used the database to track all of their 2015 donation information and then identified a list of top donors.  Development committee members of their board can now reach out to those supporters via phone calls or personal hand-written notes.  One of their goals is to gather additional information about their donors (such as their connection to MHYC or how they first learned of the organization) and store this data in CiviCRM in order to better target future appeals. This can be done with CiviCRM by creating a robust online donation page. In an effort to achieve this goal of more personalized outreach with their donors, staff is working on cleaning data and organizing their existing groups and tags in order to make better use of those features. The organization began using CiviCRM several years ago, but data has not been cleaned and time needs to be spent doing that to have more effective outreach. 

Each year MHYC puts together an appeal around Colorado Gives Day, an annual appeal held in December that encourages donations to nonprofits. MHYC has benefited from an integration between CiviCRM and the Colorado Gives website that was developed by Cividesk.  Donations made at the Colorado Gives website are automatically recorded each evening into their instance of CiviCRM, saving time on entering these donations manually. “All those automated features in CiviCRM are huge, they make the whole process of tracking donations so much easier” explained Tory. 

Tory also uses CiviCRM to promote their annual wine tasting fundraiser. Registration and payment are streamlined by directing contacts to their website where they access the online registration page that Tory creates in CiviEvent. She finds this feature “very handy because the contact information goes directly into CiviCRM” and purchasing the tickets using their integrated payment processor which has an app for her phone and is “super convenient”.

MHYC chose Cividesk to provide support for CiviCRM because they didn’t have a database specialist in house and needed an affordable solution. “I am not very tech oriented”, she explains, “so having Cividesk in the support role is really important for us”. Her advice to other nonprofits looking to use CiviCRM is to make sure you have the proper support for your technical needs. “It’s nice to know if there is a problem or I can’t figure something out, I can contact Cividesk support. Knowing that I don’t have to worry about finding answers to my questions is huge”.  The training sessions provided by Cividesk, whether an update on the newest version of CiviCRM, or the 30 minute CiviTips classes on particular features, are extremely helpful.  “When you are starting a new job, you don’t want to worry about the particulars of the database, in addition to all the other new responsibilities”, explains Tory.

Having a database that is functioning well is crucial” and Tory feels that using CiviCRM for segmenting contacts and targeted communication will make their individual giving even stronger and ultimately further their mission of empowering youth to make their community a better place.