At the Y, we are focused on providing valuable life experiences for all in our community. It is why we ensure no one is ever turned away due to the inability to pay. Last year, the Greater Joliet Area YMCA provided $1.5 million in financial assistance to help serve 9,100 individuals who would not have otherwise had the opportunity to utilize our programs and services.
These efforts would not be possible without the help of generous donors and a year-round fundraising effort. As our Annual Campaign looks to close 2019 on a high note, we shine a spotlight on an area of fundraising which is becoming more popular each year: social media.
Last month, Greater Joliet Area YMCA Board Member Veronica Gloria teamed up with her twin sister Isabel to help raise $1,240 for the Smith Family YMCA through a special birthday Facebook fundraiser. You can you can learn more about Veronica and why she chooses to support the Y in the Q&A below:
Q: What inspired you to create a Facebook fundraiser for the Y?
Every year instead of asking for birthday gifts, my sister and I ask our friends and family to help us support different non-profit organizations in our community. I’m on the Metro Board of the YMCA and my sister works with the Joliet Township High Schools where she has seen and heard great things about the Teen Achievers program. So when we talked about which non-profit would make the most sense this year, we thought that the YMCA would be an excellent choice.
We ultimately chose to support the Smith Y specifically because we had heard about the great work they are doing to help students from the Fairmont School District learn to swim in the Safety Around Water program. Neither my sister nor I learned to swim as children, so we thought why not help other kids be able to learn to swim or get scholarships to access the great programs at the YMCA.
Q: What was it like to see donations being made?
The really cool thing was seeing the way people responded. Some we consider close friends, others we might have only met once or twice in person. That’s the best part of Facebook. We were able to share this message with people as far out as Seattle and as close as a couple blocks down from the Y.
There was one classmate of my sister’s who donated $100 having never been to the community but believing in what we do and what we were sharing. We did end up raising the goal several times as we kept reaching the new one set. We started with around $700 and then we got to $1,000, $1,100 and it ended up being a little over $1,200.
Q: What have you learned about the Y from being a member of the Metro Board?
Even though I didn’t have the same Y story has some others on the board, who have grown up at a Y and go there regularly, the team was really welcoming. It’s amazing that we don’t turn families away because they can’t afford our services.
Whether it is through Teen Achievers or our Before and After School Kid Zone Programs, there is really a commitment to the community at every level.
Q: What suggestions would you have for people interested in starting a Facebook fundraiser for the Y?
I would recommend that when people consider an online fundraiser, especially through Facebook, that they consider supporting local agencies. You can donate to larger organizations, and giving to those organizations is valuable, but there really is nothing like helping an organization that can help your neighbors and others in your community.
This is both fundraising and ‘friendraising.’ Not all folks can give, but seeing stories that people post really help raise the visibility of the YMCA and inspire others. I would also suggest posting regular updates and thanking people as they donate.
You can make a donation to the YMCA by supporting a Facebook Fundraiser at your local Y branch:
You can also learn more about starting your own Facebook fundraiser for the Y here.