The Challenge

Founded in 2002, This non-profit has assisted over 32,000 under-resourced youth in after school tutoring, writing workshops, and more. With 25 locations around the country, each center has a tutoring center in back and a kid-oriented theme in front ranging from a pirate supply store to a superhero customs shop. From support from numerous influencers, they gained a significant social media following, struggled to get volunteers in their doors. Our team worked with Director of Development Maggie Andrews to create a marketing campaign that would increase volunteer engagement. We spent a week studying similar non-profits, speaking with volunteers, fundraising experts, and social media experts in order to develop a plan to turn followers into volunteers.

The Solution

We began by analyzing every step of engagement that people went through with 826, and drew a user experience map to identify obstacles and pain points in volunteer recruitment. We identified an opportunity among young adults in college and grad-school to partner with the non-profit. By creating college partnerships, a LinkedIn community, and networking events, 826 was able to provide volunteers with credible résumé-building references, and contacts for post-graduate work opportunities. College students could impact their communities through volunteering, while also furthering their career aspirations post-graduation. 

Next, we redesigned a more comprehensive website and included a “Humans of New York”-style blog to show how volunteers can impact a child’s life. The front page featured an ad to show viewers how their money is spent and the its purchase-power of donations in affecting a child’s life.

We pitched our idea to the CEO, Gerald Richards, and he loved our idea. Today, 826 has incorporated networking opportunities for volunteers, career opportunities for college-aged mentors, and has seen a 23% increase in volunteers over the 6 months following our pitch.