Center for Family Representation


THE ORGANIZATION: The Center for Family Representation (CFR) provides families in crisis with free legal assistance and social work services to enable children to stay with their parents and out of foster care.

CFR realized that its government funding base was shifting and would no longer cover the full costs of its program, so it came to Cause Effective for help with jump-starting an individual donor effort.

OUR WORK: Cause Effective worked with key CFR staff and board to develop a plan to cultivate new supporters by creating opportunities for them to experience the impact of CFR’s work.  With Cause Effective’s guidance, CFR gathered a circle of new friends and allies whose fresh insights led CFR to re-envision the way it presented itself to the world.

One participant in the planning process was so moved by the stories she heard that she wrote a check – after their very first meeting – to help underwrite a video that is now used widely to tell those stories in a dramatic and compelling way.  “As a result of this process we got an entire second layer of people who wanted to help us,” explains CFR executive director Sue Jacobs.

Several new supporters joined the board after being involved in the resource development planning process.  “Working with Cause Effective made us expand the potential pool of board members so that we could align board membership to fully complement our development goals,” remembers Sue.  “Our board is much more attuned now to its role as a fundraising board, as ambassadors and as communicators; not just at CFR events – but wherever they may be.”

As Sue reflects, “We needed to be able to raise 25% of our budget every year privately, and we didn’t have a clue about what it took to do that.  Through our work with Cause Effective, we now understand what it takes, we have been able to staff that function appropriately, and we’re hitting that mark.”