Chicago Youth Programs (CYP) is a nonprofit that provides over 40 free programs to at-risk youth ages 3-25 living in the Chicago neighborhoods with the highest rates of youth in poverty. In an effort to increase visibility and raise funds, CYP sought to enhance its communications strategy to potential and current donors. The Second Opinions team took a two-prong approach to the problem; they studied strategies of similar organizations and looked internally at CYP to figure out areas for improvement.
As part of the first phase of the project, the team created a best practices report card based on the communications strategies of four comparable nonprofits in Chicago. The team also created and disseminated a survey to assess the communications preferences, donation practices and relevant knowledge of past donors. The second phase of the project consisted of taking the key features of comparable organizations along with the survey findings and turning them into a flexible three-year plan for CYP to then use. CYP is in the midst of enacting the three-year plan now, and the team looks forward to working with them again in the future.