Stories of Impact: Urban Alliance in (Spring2)ACTion

Urban Alliance in (Spring2)ACTion

By Alessandra Colia and Kyle Storms

What a difference a year makes! Urban Alliance, a youth development organization that empowers under-resourced youth through paid internships, kicked off its first year serving Northern Virginia high school seniors in the fall of 2013. Urban Alliance has successfully supported youth all across the country (from Baltimore to Chicago to Washington D.C.), and found that the need in Alexandria and Arlington for our program was there. In 2013, Urban Alliance tested the Virginian waters by participating in our first Spring2ACTion through ACT for Alexandria. Since the organization would not begin serving youth until the fall, our presence was practically unknown. This affected our fundraising strategy in that for 2013 we focused on raising funds from donors in D.C. While we wanted to do an event in Alexandria for the 2013 Spring2ACTion, we just weren’t sure who would attend since we were still unknown in the area.

 Between the 2013 and 2014 Spring2ACTion campaigns, many things changed for Urban Alliance. The Urban Alliance Northern Virginia team dedicated time to cultivating relationships, increasing visibility, and securing partners in the region. These activities all came to fruition on April 9th, 2014 when our 2nd annual Spring2ACTion day was upon us. The Urban Alliance team decided that we were ready to have a physical presence in Alexandria on the day, and the event, designed to demonstrate Urban Alliance’s gratitude to its stakeholders and encourage contributions to Spring2ACTion, was a huge success! Urban Alliance hosted a Partnership Appreciation event atJackson 20 in Alexandria to celebrate community partners. In attendance were representatives from half of Urban Alliance’s phenomenal job partners including Alexandria Housing Development Corporation, the Alexandria City Attorney’s Office, and King Street Wireless. Also in attendance were leaders in the business, political, academic, and non-profit arenas, even the venerable John Porter of ACT for Alexandria. What was different this year was that the increased focus on Northern Virginia completely shifted the organization’s donor base for the day. Spring2ACTion was the perfect mechanism for converting the established good will in the Northern Virginia community into champions and donors for the organization.

By taking advantage of the success in 2013, and highlighting how those donations benefitted a young person throughout the year, Urban Alliance was able to steward more than 100 of the donors from 2013 to give again in 2014. Add to those donors approximately 165 1st time Spring2ACTion donors, and Urban Alliance had its largest single day donor turnout ever! The strategies learned from Spring2ACTion are now being utilized and tailored for other Urban Alliance regions. In fact, a recent fundraiser in Baltimore implementing Spring2ACTion lessons learned and the Razoo platform raised just under $3,000 from 50 donors in less than 24 hours. Urban Alliance has realized through two fantastic years of Spring2ACTion and three Interns being sponsored by those efforts, that individual donors are the key to financial sustainability in Northern Virginia.

In the fall of 2014, Urban Alliance plans double its program in Northern Virginia from 25 to 50 high school seniors. Continued support from all aspects of the Alexandria community is essential to the growth and longevity of the program in the region. Partners such as Alexandria Renew andNational Capitol Contracting have doubled their impact by taking on multiple Interns or committing to a partnership for multiple years. Commitments like those are essential if we’re going to be able to provide the High School Internship Program to all qualified and deserving young people in the Northern Virginia region. We highly value our experiences with Spring2ACTion and look to build on 2014’s success both for our program and as we begin to think about our 2015 Spring2ACTion campaign!  

 Save the date: Spring2ACTion 2015 will be held on Wednesday, April 22!

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