We just put the finishing touches on the supplemental grant applications for the 2018 Giving Partner Challenge, so it seemed like a good time to share some final thoughts with you as we reflect on this year’s fundraising event.

Our team is happy to share that we raised $32,324 through user donations which were strengthened by generous matches from The Patterson Foundation and other supporters. We also received a grant during the 24 hour campaign, $500 for being one of the first 50 organizations to receive 50 unique/individual donations. The supplemental grants that we applied for could provide up to an additional $15,000 which would go a long way for WRC!

After briefly reviewing the information we received about our donors, we were able to learn a few things. Interestingly, only about 25% of donations represented the Sarasota and Venice communities, so we’re already exploring new ways to connect with Sarasota-based donors not only for next year’s Giving Challenge but year-round. About 6% of donations came in from out-of-state, which is AWESOME.

We did experience some uncertainty over whether we would be able to completely capture and engage all previous Sarasota donors but the fact that our number of unique donors increased overall is reassuring and a sign that we are steadily achieving our marketing & communication goals.

The 2016 Giving Challenge campaign, supporting the merger of Manatee & Sarasota Women’s Resource Centers, was themed “Better Together,” and we built on this for 2018’s “Louder Together” campaign.

2017 was a banner year for the NEW WRC that now serves three communities by expanding the best programming from each individual Center to all three WRCs.  We were able to streamline operations & finances considerably as a result of the 2016 Giving Challenge.

In the 2018 Giving Challenge, WRC….
•  successfully parlayed 2017 merger & related achievements into 2018 Giving Challenge
•  message focused on improving WRC technology
•  podcasting & online education library to increase reach/engagement among potential clients and stakeholders
•  supported by more unique donors, a key goal for 2018 Giving Challenge

We love that the Giving Challenge encourages collaboration and efficient use of resources.  “What’s more collaborative and efficient than merging 2 organizations?,” we wondered, two years ago.  It is our hope that WRC’s campaigns over the last 6 Giving Challenges and the merger in part funded by 2016 Giving Challenge reflect our shared commitment to these values.

One of the grant opportunities is for the Best Business Partnership between a business and a Giving Partner organization, so it was only natural for us to *formally* team up with
Sokos Social, WRC’s strategic marketing & communications partner.  This is unique opportunity for both parties because by working together, WRC is achieving and living our mission: to enrich, educate, (and most importantly) empower women of all generations through supporting a female entrepreneur growing her business.

Sokos Social makes it a priority to employ other females (all four staff currently are women), including two who started as interns, grew into part-time then full-time positions, with promotions earned along the way.  Founder Eleni Sokos is proud that she started an apprenticeship program developing talent from the collegiate level to full employment. “It’s important to break the cycle in which recent grads (including myself once-upon-a-time) find themselves, where jobs require past career experience… but earning career experience and supporting oneself independently requires a job.  Most learning opportunities are unpaid internships which isn’t always practical. I proudly pay interns a living wage and ensure that they develop tangible skills as takeaways – OR better yet – offer them a permanent position.”

Outside of “official” Sokos Social business with WRC, Eleni has contributed programmatically to the Centers by founding “Breakfast Club, a support group where female young professionals gather at WRC for coffee & empowering conversation before work.

The communications team led by Sokos Social used the idea that a loud voice starts as just one whisper.  By “being the one” to share the story of WRC, each person can help spread the word about the resources offered to women and families in our community… and that’s how we become Louder Together.  The “Be the One” idea is also substantiated by the statistics presented, that a majority of clients hear of WRC through referrals from family or friends.

Our 2018 Giving Challenge funds will be allocated to technology improvements around WRC – everything from new computers in our offices to investing in exciting new tools.  Our ideas include developing a digital educational library full of resources for career seekers, and launching a podcast focused on women’s empowerment.

Sokos Social will be a key player in developing and marketing these new tools as we strive to reach new demographics, including the millennial generation on both the client and the WRC stakeholder/supporter side.

On behalf of our clients, THANK YOU! for your support of Women’s Resource Center’s mission and ability to increase our outreach and advocacy.

Because of amazing donors like you, we will be Louder Together to ensure the women (and men) of our community have access to the programming and resources they need to live their best life.

Thank you for Being The One for the WRC during the 2018 Giving Partner Challenge!