It is now my third week working with At the Crossroads in San Francisco’s Tenderloin District. For those who are unfamiliar, At the Crossroads is a non-profit that reaches out to homeless youth and young adults that are disconnected from traditional services, and works with them to build healthy and fulfilling lives. Four nights a week, counselors from ATC go on outreach on the streets of San Francisco, building new relationships with possible clients.
As ATC’s development intern, on a day-to-day basis I do not work directly with clients. ATC has trained program staff who work with their clients for many years, and write to them even if they move away from the city. Working with logistics and planning the annual fundraising hike has given me insight into the internal processes of a non-profit. The reality is that the capabilities of any non-profit rely heavily on their funding. For a privately-funded non-profit like ATC, this means a great amount of applying for grant, and reaching out to in-kind donors and sponsors. The Summer SunDay Hike is ATC’s biggest fundraiser, which raised about $125,000 last year. The office culture here is extremely efficient and professional- the staff is small (only 8 administrative staff), so everyone communicates well and contributes to the overall smoothness of every process.
During my first week here, my days consisted of long training and getting used to the online systems used here. I struggled to see the connection between the meticulous logistical work and the program work that the counselors did. As training concluded and I had more time to work on my own, I saw that the foundations of the organizations were solidified through the behind-the-scenes work. ATC receives continuous support from various individual and corporate donors because of the thank-you notes for every donation, and the mutual support they express for every donor, no matter the amount. It is a great feeling to understand why you’re doing the work you’re doing and to recognize the tangible results of even the small tasks you are completing. I’m looking forward to the Summer SunDay Hike, and I’m hoping that it will be a success.
I would encourage anyone to familiarize themselves with non-profit organizations, both local and national. For most non-profits, the current political agenda may hinder their program financially and ideologically, and funding is crucial now more than ever. I am looking forward to the rest of my work with ATC, and Pride weekend!
Until next time,