How does Sauers Cares mobilize our networks when a nonprofit organization reaches out to us as a potential new partner?
First, we learn as much as we can about that organization. We look at their mission, their vision, and their impact. The Sauers Cares Board talks about their cause and the folks they serve. We meet with staff and stakeholders to talk about what kind of project would make the biggest difference to the success of that nonprofit. We strategize and plan. And, then, we mobilize a deep network of diverse community connections to empower Bucks and Montgomery County nonprofits with funding and logistical resources that benefit local individuals and families.
This is exactly what happened when Megan of The GRACE Project originally reached out to us on behalf of her young nonprofit that offers hope to folks facing addiction, poverty, or illness. We knew that the people served by The GRACE Project were a population that we also wanted to support. After speaking with Megan about what would be most impactful for her and considering our own contacts and connections, we determined that helping them get a vehicle was the right project to take on.
The GRACE Project has several programs, including their Kensington Outreach. Every Thursday, volunteers head to the neighborhood to distribute food, clothing, toiletries, and other necessities to the homeless population there and clean up the area. Many of those folks are struggling with drug use disorders, so the volunteers also try to encourage them towards treatment options. At the time of our first meeting, Megan and her volunteers were using personal cars to transport all of their supplies into the city. This resulted in a caravan of cars as well as the challenge of items being scattered throughout volunteers’ vehicles.
This felt like a challenge that Sauers Cares could tackle!
FINDING THE RIGHT RIDE
We began a strategic outreach to our connections that could help us find the right vehicle. With lots of contacts in the automotive industry, we imagined that finding a transit van would be easy. However, we found that COVID is still affecting the vehicle supply lines and many dealerships had an influx of backorders. So we asked our board and closest supporters to keep an eye out for a new or like-new van and started the next task.
DRIVING HOPE FUNDRAISING
Once understanding our budget for this project, we started our Driving Hope campaign. Steph and Megan spoke to church groups and local community groups. Other team members reached out to local businesses and associations. And we all reached out to our personal networks as well. Through that, we found community groups, churches, and even a foundation who were thrilled to support the initiative.
PICKING UP THE KEYS
Finally, after calling dealerships and scrolling through thousands of listings, we found a van that looked promising. One of our board members went to check it out and confirmed that it seemed perfect. So, check in hand, we went out to pick it up. Then, we sneakily sent a picture to Megan saying “Guess what we found!”
UPFITTING THE INSIDE
After getting the van back to our offices, we evaluated the best way we could upfit the interior. Megan sent us a list of all of their usual supplies so we could plan the best storage solutions. Luckily, we know some super creative and super handy folks and, with their help, we started fixing the interior. We built and painted sturdy wooden shelves, added bins, and detailed all we could to prepare for the next step.
TRICKIN’ OUT THE EXTERIOR
While we were working on the inside, several of our connections were looking for someone who would wrap the exterior. We knew that this van would also need to be instantly recognizable for the folks in Kensington. With the right wrap, everyone can see that help is there as soon as The GRACE Project van pulls up. Thankfully, we met Taylor of Taylor’d Wraps, who donated some of her time and talents to the cause! She created an amazing design and had the van ready for pick up within a few days.
STOCKING THE VAN
The last step was making sure the van was stocked with all of the supplies. We shared a wish list of cleaning supplies, wound care items, toiletries, snacks, and more.. Almost immediately, our friends and supporters ensured that every bin in the van was filled to the brim!
THE BIG REVEAL
Finally, Sauers Cares held a BBQ Van Reveal party for The GRACE Project and the friends who stepped up to support this project.
“This is a really big deal. When I started The GRACE Project a couple of years ago, I never imagined we would get to this level. This is going to make such a huge difference for me and our volunteers.”
We’ve all experienced those moments when a plan really comes together. Those moments feel like the universe is helping us find all of the right puzzle pieces at the right time. With each project at Sauers Cares, we experience those moments.
We are so grateful for everyone who helped us complete this project and we’re incredibly excited to see what’s next on the horizon!