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Promising Practices

CASA of the Fox Cities would like to share a creative and easy way to demonstrate what we do to community partners without breaking confidentiality.  This program is scalable and can be implemented by a 1-person shop or a large organization with numerous resources.

Part 1: Point of Entry
Part 2: Pathway of Hope
Part 3: Ask Event (gala)

Our Donor Engagement Program is a three-part program designed to deepen connections within the community over the period of 1-year.  However, you can decide what fits the capacity of your agency.  When we were a smaller agency, we only conducted 1-event during the year. Last year, we conducted all three events. This Donor Engagement Program grows, as you grow. 

This program was developed by CASA of the Fox Cities, inspired by teachings from Terry Axelrod founder of Benoven, and the unique storytelling of The Holocaust Museum Houston.   As fundraising professionals, we continually hear that you need to engage your donors.  You need an “emotional connection” with your donor.    But, how do you do that when you are bound by state statutes regarding confidentiality?   A donor cannot attend a hearing. A donor can’t look into the eyes of the children we serve.  To be honest, how many people really want to take a tour of our offices that are cramped and stacked with paperwork?  Below we have the outline and materials you will need to develop your own donor engagement program (Click here for materials).

Point of Entry

Board Members, Prospective Donors, Elected Officials, Donors, and the community at large.        

1.5 hr. event (30 minutes of networking, 45 minutes for the program, and 15 minutes for questions). Implemented in partnership with our stakeholders (DCYF, The Assistant District Attorney, GAL, Judge, and CASA.)


  • SIGN-IN & NETWORKING: 30 minutes to mix and mingle, grab a light snack, and collect contact information.
    • WELCOME: by the Board Chair. Introduction of DCYF
    • JUST THE FACTS MA’AM: All guests are seated in the galley of the courtroom.  We started with a recording of a mandated reporter call, then move into a narrative about the events that will unfold next.
    • MOCK DISPO HEARING: The prosecuting attorney gave a quick explanation of a Dispositional Hearing. Then we conducted a mock dispo hearing.
    • APPOINTMENT OF CASA:  The judge appointed a CASA and explained our importance to the system. Handoff to CASA leadership.
    • EMOTIONAL HOOK: Show a video or provide a testimonial, we use Emily’s Dragon, giving credit to our friends in Texas of course. 
    • VISIONARY LEADER: 8-10 minutes to review the CORE model tying that into results we see at the local level. For example, Engaging the child (How many visits we made, how many referrals we made, we are known for the bags of toys we bring on visits, but while it looks like we are playing, we are checking for developmental milestones…) Etc.

When:           Right after work, no later than 5:30 pm. The later the event, the more difficult it is for business professionals, as they will go home and not want to head out again.

Where:         The County Court House

Pathway of Hope

Who:           Prospective board members and donors, volunteer groups, and chamber members.

What:          1-hour event


  • Introduction and Welcome, an invitation to tour our suite.
  • CHOOSE CHILD: Upon entering our suite, guests choose 1 of 3 children and follow that child’s journey through 6 stations that highlight various stages of the system.
  • Using trauma-informed practices we created a color code where the colors indicated simple cases to more complex or severe cases.
    • Entering the system: Why did this child enter the system
    • Appointing a CASA: How does an appointment happen and why did this individual volunteer?
    • First Visit: What happens during a visit with a child?
    • Permanency Hearing: Advocacy in action. What does an oral report to the court look like?
    • Journey Continues: What the relationship with the child looks like.  How does that change as the child becomes older? A perfect chance to highlight fostering futures.
    • Finding Forever: What happened to this child?
  • CALL TO ACTION: People exited our suite and were faced with a mirror that asked What will you do?  This was strategically placed next to a table where we had information and a staff member to talk about becoming a volunteer or donor.

When:         We did this as part of our ribbon cutting, but it could be done as a Business After 5, a simple tour, or a CASA 101.  It is versatile and beneficial for recruiting volunteers and donors.

Where:       Location is versatile and can be done anywhere.  We have shared this with our network in Wisconsin and one entity has conducted this event in a community room.

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