Giving Success Story
Bellefaire JCB Holiday Gift Drive
In 1868, the Jewish Community of Cleveland came together to form the Bellefaire Orphanage, a residence for children from more than a dozen states who lost their parents in the Civil War. Today, that organization — now known as Bellefaire JCB — is one of the nation’s largest child service agencies, providing a variety of behavioral health, substance abuse, education and prevention services for over 43,000 youth and their families each year — helping them achieve resiliency, dignity and self-sufficiency.
Through more than two dozen programs, Bellefaire provides outpatient and school-based counseling, prevention and early intervention, homeless and missing youth services, adoption, foster care and residential treatment and more in schools, communities and on its campus in suburban Cleveland. Buoyed by its growth in services, mission and lives helped, Bellefaire has aimed to maintain a focus on the unique needs of each individual youth in their care.
How The Holiday Gift Drive Works
Each year since 2010, Bellefaire JCB has held its Holiday Gift Drive, where staff helps the program’s youth create gift wish lists for the Holiday season, which are then communicated to supporters in hopes of fulfillment. Donors choose a child’s wish list and incorporate it into their Holiday shopping.
Jill Sadowsky, Director of Jewish Community Services & Volunteers and Director, Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters at the nonprofit, explains the outcomes of the program, stating “The Holiday Gift Drive creates a greater connection between a donor and the youth they are helping.” Ms. Sadowsky continued, “As a result of the program, our gift-givers get an opportunity to learn about the child they’re supporting….and in the end acquire a better idea of the scope of work we do.”
Executing The Drive: Not as Easy as It Looks
While the Holiday Gift Drive has touched many lives on both the donor and beneficiary sides, it has historically required a monumental effort on the parts of Bellefaire staff and volunteers to facilitate; there are typically several hundred youth needing gifts each season.
“In the past, when we received completed forms from the children, we gathered them all in a box — using different colors of forms to distinguish our various services,” said Ms. Sadowsky, “and our donors had to come to our campus in person to select a list, do their shopping, then return with the gift. And keeping track of several hundred lists, accurately reconciling them with the correct match once the gifts arrived in-house, identifying the individuals who forgot to turn their gifts in….it was overall quite labor intensive, and at times more than a little frustrating trying to keep it all straight.”
DonorPoint to the Rescue!
After six years of increasing staff and volunteer hours dedicated to executing the Holiday Gift Drive, Bellefaire JCB turned to DonorPoint in 2017. DonorPoint leveraged its cloud-based online Giving solution, which required no software that needed to be downloaded to Bellefaire’s systems.
DonorPoint’s product turned each child’s gift wish list into a catalog ‘card’ that donors could browse online from the comfort of their home or office, and virtually select a list based on a brief description of the youth and the items on the list — all without having to travel to Bellefaire’s campus. Once donors make their choice, the selection is automatically registered in the Giving platform, and the list is marked as ‘claimed’ so other donors can see it’s no longer available. Finally, Bellefaire’s designated admins can easily pair the incoming gifts with the matching request.
Since DonorPoint helped transition Bellefaire JCB’s Holiday Gift Drive into the technological age, efficiencies have improved immensely — enabling the organization to increase exponentially the number of children served and total dollars donated to the program each year. Bellefaire’s Holiday 2022 drive reached a new record of 1,100 gifts for nearly 1,000 youth in total.
Ms. Sadowsky has universally extolled the benefits of DonorPoint’s Giving solution. “It has literally made a WORLD of difference. The process now is night and day from what we were doing before DonorPoint. It’s substantially easier for us, so much more convenient for our donors…..and best of all, it’s led to an increase in completed lists and, in turn, higher levels of giving to make Holiday wishes come true for even more of our children.”