Clothing Service Program Improvement

You are here

Organization:

Broad Street Ministry

City:

Philadelphia

State:

Pennsylvania

Organization Overview:

Broad Street Ministry seeks to meaningfully reduce the trauma and suffering caused by scarcity for our most vulnerable neighbors in Philadelphia. Together, along with best of class social service and government partners, we break the cycle of poverty, homelessness, and hunger in the City. Our services are designed to be trauma aware and follow a model of radical hospitality intended to create welcome for anyone who is seeking support and community. By providing community alongside wrap-around social services, our guests are able to come to Broad Street Ministry and have a variety of needs met in one place.

Each day we offer a wide array of services including: meals, mailing address, clothing, personal hygiene items, case management, reentry support for returning citizens, medical care, mental and behavioral health support, and legal assistance. Our guests are able to access the things that they need while building relationships that keep them feeling positive and supported as they work to achieve the goals they set for themselves. We believe that we transform our city, our institutions, and ourselves when we embrace the individual needs of our most vulnerable brothers and sisters.

Project Name:

Clothing Service Program Improvement
Project Type: 
Program Development; Strategic Plan; Marketing/Fundraising Plan

Project Overview:

Broad Street Ministry (BSM) is seeking support in developing a strategic plan for our Clothing Service including: creating a strategic plan for the next 5 years of the program, developing a plan to increase donations of clothing, socks, and underwear, supporting with the creation of marketing plan/materials to increase donations.

The Clothing Closet is one of BSM's core services, which provides access to clothing for over 150 individuals per week. This service is open 2 days per week and, like all of our in-house services is designed to be trauma aware and responsive to feelings of scarcity that our guests experience while trying to access the things that they need in our city. Clothes are organized to keep choices manageable, guests are supported by a volunteer shopper who assists in selecting items, and we limit appointments so that we have enough items in the closet to guarantee that individuals get what they need when they enter.

This service has always been in high demand however we have seen a considerable increase in the amount of people who are signing up recently. We have not been able to sufficiently respond to the needs of the community for several reasons:

  • The closet relies on donations for its inventory, and we do not have enough inventory to open up more days per week.
  • The closet has been largely managed by a volunteer who oversees inventory, daily operations, and donations for 25 hours a week with support from an intern which changes annually
  • We do not have a targeted plan for cultivating donation of items that we need. Guests are constantly in need of jeans, hoodies, and sturdy shoes but we often receive donations of suits or women's clothing (our population is 70% male).
  • We have challenges managing the donations that do arrive as there is no one staff member who is responsible for receiving them, and donors drop items off at random times throughout the day.

The scope of this project is to work with the staff, volunteers, and interns who oversee this service to develop a plan to increase the days the closet is open, increase access to clothing for individuals who need it, develop a strategy for cultivating and managing donations. The process should engage with guests to understand their particular needs and how we can be most responsive to them. We are looking for recommendations, and the development of a strategic plan to make this service sustainable.

Deliverable:

A successful project would provide us with a strategic plan to grow and sustain the clothing service and actionable recommendations for increasing and managing donations. Ideally that would include a marketing strategy to increase awareness about what we need and a list of potential donation partners to begin cultivating donations.

Fels Institute of Government

The Fels Institute of Government
3814 Walnut St. 
Philadelphia, PA 19104

(215) 898-7326
felsinstitute@sas.upenn.edu

Facebook   Twitter   YouTube