Founded in 1995, The Citizens Foundation (TCF) is a non-profit organization that provides quality educational opportunities for children in Pakistan. Their model involves building schools with teacher training, customized textbooks, and professional management. TCF’s goal is to make basic education accessible to all children across the world regardless of their ability to pay for it. For 27 years, TCF has successfully built over 1000 schools and helped over 200,000 students gain access to education.
The Citizens Foundation Canada operates as a CRA-registered charity with the goal of bringing education to underprivileged children. However, the charity needed to develop a strategy that could expand their reach, improve their brand image, and increase their funding.
For the spring semester, the GRC team worked on three goals with TCF Canada: fundraising strategies, donation models, and digital media strategies. These 3 strategies would help raise more money for TCF in Canada and in turn, it would help the charity provide more educational opportunities for children in Pakistan.
To begin, the project leads divided the consultants into pairs for each bucket, with at least one experienced consultant to guide the other. At the same time, creative freedom was given to the consultants, with advice from the leads being an option if wanted. This method offered both flexibility and support for the consultants, giving them room to do a deep dive into their research.
- Fundraising Strategies
The corresponding consultants decided to focus in two directions for this goal. They worked on improvements on their existing charity gala, specifically by standardizing the outreach process and structuring the auction more formally. They also suggested new events, such as a collaboration with an artist whose following aligns with TCF’s brand. The consultants also worked to establish a standardized approach to developing relationships with donors, prospective or not.
- Donation Models
The consultants working on this goal explored newer ways to give to the charity, which involved addressing the potential of youth charity engagement. This entailed in-depth research on current charity operations and developing alternative donation models that would better appeal to Generation Z of ages 16 and up. One solution was to develop a subscription box model, where individuals could give regularly directly to the charity without any of the complications associated with donations. This was a simple method that could not only make the donation process easier for the younger generation, but also increase efficiency for the current donors.
- Digital Media Strategies
The last goal was digital media strategies, where the consultants worked to expand TCF’s social media content and develop a marketing plan to target Gen Z. The team suggested an increased coverage of short-form content like Instagram Reels and Stories that would better appeal to the younger generation, since the platform is significantly more popular among youth. The consultants also worked hard to collect research on the potential effects of the strategies they advised and apply their findings to TCF’s needs. To better help the charity envision how to appeal to the younger generation, the consultants made mockups of potential Instagram reels and stories to demonstrate.
As a whole, developing creative solutions for The Citizens Foundation not only made a difference for children in Pakistan, but was also incredibly meaningful for the team.
The project leads mentioned that one of the important lessons from this experience was “learning to establish credibility as an organization to have [the charity] take [them] seriously” and to “keep the standard that is expected of [them].” This is something they would take with them as they continue building themselves up to be capable problem-solvers.
For one of the project leads who had reached out to TCF from the start and built a relationship with them, it was especially important for a personal reason.
“Keeping in mind TCF is based in Pakistan – I spent 18 years of my life in Pakistan [and] I can’t even begin to explain the impact of their work”, he said as he contemplated his work with TCF. “It’s [more than] just a working relationship.”
He was not the only member to feel this way. By working with TCF, one member felt “as if [she] was able to take some part in doing work for a meaningful cause”, while another “applied [himself] fully and made something that [he was] proud of.”
The GRC team has never been happier to help non-profits address their pain points. The cause resonated with the consultants, who dedicated many late nights to provide their work to the highest standard and who strove to help TCF’s mission. Their efforts have also led to new skills and new bonds with one another–ones that will follow them in their career and the rest of their lives.
Team Members: Aarez Brohi, Jamil Habib, Sunehra Ali, Craig Deng, Arnav Gupta, Kristina Lotito, Moulik Seth
Written By: Michelle Lu