Armed with a vision that every child in Dauphin County has a safe, stable and nurturing home dedicated to a promising future, the Dauphin County Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) was formed in 2018. Since then, its mission has been to recruit, train, educate and supervise dedicated volunteers to become agents of change for the abused and neglected youths of Dauphin County.
In March of 2020, however, right as the young charity was gaining momentum, the COVID-19 pandemic hit forcing it to cancel its first fundraising gala. Faced with the reality that it might not be able to keep its doors open without financial support, the organization needed to come up with a new fundraising campaign that could have a virtual component for citizens to engage respective of their health concerns.
Through grit and grace, Dauphin County CASA was able to remain open until December 2020 when it was able to launch its inaugural Giving Tree campaign to coincide with Giving Tuesday thanks to the help of media relations professional Nell McCormack Abom, who volunteered her expertise. To mark the start of the holiday season, the campaign promoted a “virtual giving tree” on CASA’s website in which donors could make monetary contributions through virtual lights or ornaments that were then added to the tree.
Designed to raise awareness during the holidays about the plight of local abused and neglected children in the pandemic, the inaugural campaign employed speeches, press releases, pictures and more so the community could understand the mission of Dauphin County CASA. By 2021, the Giving Tree campaign has steadily improved with donors being able to personalize their donations with pictures and messages of hope.
With donors ranging from former foster children to medical doctors, friends of volunteers, local businesses and professionals in the Dauphin County government, the Giving Tree campaign raised just short of $20,000 in 2020 and nearly $22,000 in 2021, securing its status as an annual fundraising campaign for Dauphin County CASA.