Attention funders: Communicating a powerful story about the impact of the organizations that your program supports is a crucial capacity that defines an effective grant-maker. As a funder, your success depends, in part, on conveying to major audiences - including legislators, the judiciary, bar leaders, potential co-funders, current and prospective grantees and other stakeholders - that your support for civil justice programs in your state or province is improving peoples' lives.
With help from The Resource, state funding programs in New York, Virginia and Florida are producing and publicizing Grantee Summaries designed to spotlight the strengths and successes of the organizations working at the grassroots as well as statewide reports focusing on the statewide impact of legal services.
The Resource Can Help Tell Your Grantees' Stories. The Resource can help your funding organization convey a strong message about results achieved for your many beneficiaries, at two different levels of detail including:
Through years of work with the IOLA Fund of the State of New York, The Resource has become familiar with many legal services programs whose goal is solely to serve others for the good of the community. Two such programs are highlighted below.
Two IOLA Grantees Dedicated to Building Safe Communities
The five boroughs of New York City are home to people of diverse backgrounds and cultures. For more than 30 years, Safe Horizon has been providing wide reaching holistic services within these five boroughs, with inMotion joining the endeavor more than 17 years ago. With support from The IOLA Fund of the State of New York, these programs strive to empower victims of abuse through outreach, volunteers, education, and legal assistance. They have championed efforts to provide safety, education and justice to thousands of individuals even amid economic turmoil and decreased available funds. They have stepped up efficiency, as evident through increased numbers of clients being helped under always-modest budgets.
The Domestic Violence Law Project of Safe Horizon, which includes direct representation and advocacy in family court as well as assistance, information and referrals through its domestic violence hotline, experienced a three-year increase in funding only to drop in 2008 to just $1 million, a funding level not experienced since 2005. Even given this funding crisis, Safe Horizon provided direct legal representation to more than 4,700 individuals, 550 more than in 2005. Organizationally, Safe Horizon stayed the course to open the Manhattan Child Advocacy Center, the Streetwork Center, and the Manhattan Community Program, each providing services to communities with specific needs, whether they be child victims of abuse or vulnerable youth who call the streets home. They also bolstered their national campaign "Safework" which teaches managers and leaders to identify signs of employees suffering from domestic violence. Safework has been highlighted in Fortune magazine and on Good Morning America.
In 2008 approximately 80 percent of inMotion clients were victims of domestic violence. inMotion has concentrated on improving the lives of people by helping them resolve matrimonial, immigration and family law problems.
Efforts to stave drastic funding losses in 2008 were especially successful. More than 1,100 supporters attended the organization's 2008 Annual Photography Auction and Benefit which netted over $2.4 million through generous donations of photography and competitive bidding. Total funding has increased 36 percent since 2005 while the number of people helped has increased 40 percent.
In 2008 alone, inMotion utilized thousands of volunteers who donated over 74,000 hours of uncompensated service. This volunteer base consists of large corporate to smaller law firm attorneys, paralegals, law students, and others seeking to make a difference in the lives of women and children. While a dollar value of over $24 million can be attached to these services, the meaningful value is difficult to accurately measure - the significant impact upon the lives of those who escaped abuse and are now safe, retained parental rights, and those awarded child support and alimony.
The Resource Helps You and Your Grantees Shine.
This is a small glimpse at two powerfully dedicated programs. New York is host to some of the most respected and effective legal services organizations in the country. Through case representation, guidance to individuals, education of clients and other service providers, and large-scale impact work, New York is an epicenter of effecting change one community at a time.
About The Resource for Great Programs
Now in our 26th year, The Resource for Great Programs is a consulting firm based in Michigan that assists civil legal aid programs and their funders across the nation.
Our services concentrate on points of leverage in our client organizations where small-dollar investments can deliver big gains in impact.