The Daymaker Model: Beautiful Seeds, With Potential for Deeper Roots
For six years now, we have been facilitating resource transfers through our lens of connective, personal, and dignified giving. What made Daymaker unique was that, in addition to the good being done with every gift sent to our partners and the kids they serve, we put a lot of attention on the giver and his or her experience. We refer to this as our Giver's Journey, a recognition that each person has a unique path into service, and we've wanted to be a helpful avenue on that journey by meeting people where they are. We did this because we believed each act of generosity carried with it an opportunity to feel more compassion—a compassion that could ultimately evolve some of the systems that created the need in the first place. Our theory of change—if you'd call it that—is that as individuals become more connected to their own and others’ innate goodness, the collective systems that keep us feeling so separate and enable 16 million kids to live in poverty in this country would begin to change. On a micro level, we've aimed to create macro change.
We did this because we believed each act of generosity carried with it an opportunity to feel more compassion—a compassion that could ultimately evolve some of the systems that created the need in the first place.
This remains core to Daymaker's essence, and yet, we feel a greater calling to help our nonprofit partners change the trajectories of the children they serve in a more immediate and tangible manner. There are children on Daymaker who have been supported every year for five years with unique gifts, much-needed supplies, and support for staples like food and clothing. The stark reality: the prospect of these kids’ living into their potential—one where they are able to determine the life that brings them fulfillment—is not measurably different from what it was five years ago, as they face headwind after headwind from causes and conditions far beyond their control.
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Our Receiver’s Journey: Longitudinal Impact Through Sustained Support
Over the past several months, we've invested a lot of energy to understand where our model could be of unique service. We challenged ourselves to find forms of aid that could be game changers for the kids on Daymaker who would be able to access their potential if only given the resources and support needed to thrive. And, we found, the saying holds true: “there are no silver bullets.” There is not one intervention that could ever come close to undoing hundreds of years of systemic injustice.
Within all of the stories, examples, and models that were shared during these conversations with our partners, there is something we heard across the board: sustained support in and of itself is a game changer. While there is no magic wand to wave to heal our country’s wounds, there is power in a continued showing up. A consistent transfer of resources for kids who have been given the most difficult hand of cards. An ever-present message that “we see you, and you matter.” It's what our very best partner organizations do for their kids. It's sharing timely resources, gifts that bring giant smiles, and specific interventions that can help keep feelings of hope, worthiness, and agency alive for our kids.
Within all of the stories, examples, and models that were shared during these conversations with our partners, there is something we heard across the board: sustained support in and of itself is a game changer.
So, our Giver's Journey now has its counterpart: the Daymaker Receiver's Journey. We are reorienting with all of our high-impact nonprofit partners across the country to make a minimum three-year commitment to those we serve. At each campaign, we will be introducing enablements that speak to each child's unique needs through the lens of physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. We don’t think we have any of the answers in this moment, and we’re following the old adage of “begin before you’re ready.” The Receiver’s Journey and the corresponding three-year commitment enables us to be in a long-term discovery process with our partners and the kids we serve. It gives us space to say, “we are here for the long run. Let’s really listen and find the truth of the matter.”
This begins during our upcoming “Hope at Home” back-to-school campaign with monthly themed discovery boxes that will be sent over the course of this disjointed fall season to help kids feel inspired and encouraged. As we build the Receiver's Journey during subsequent campaigns, we'll be exploring everything from trauma-informed counseling to weekly nutritious meal kits to summer camps. All these will be enablements that givers can sponsor for specific kids in their community—as they always have—with updates and stories from the children and the organizations over time.
Looking Forward: Building The “Village of Support” Over Time
We won't ask givers to make a huge commitment to a child upfront. They will still take action during seasonal giving campaigns where they’ll see expanded wish list items and the opportunity to help with more holistic interventions in addition to one-off gifts and supplies. Givers simply can do what they're able—that's always been the magic of Daymaker, whether you're buying a $9 book or filling an entire wish list. We at Daymaker hold the responsibility to build the village to support these kids in the way they deserve over time.
We at Daymaker hold the responsibility to build the village to support these kids in the way they deserve over time.
We also hold firmly in our belief that goodness lives within us each. With that, we trust givers may feel called to continue supporting the holistic development of the children they find kinship with through Daymaker. It will be seamless to support the same child across multiple campaigns, as givers donate alongside their teammates, creating a sense of longitudinal connection. This shift will offer children more sustainable, consistent, and reliable support from people in their community, fostering a more inclusive and cohesive space for them to develop and grow as human beings.
So, if we return to our "theory of change," it is that we will help people widen their capacity to love while transferring resources in the here and now that help our most disempowered populations into a life of self-determination. We're finding that the two are a lot more connected than we may have once believed. We can only connect people to their innate compassion and love for others if the resources they transfer create holistic support and hope in this present moment for another human being. And we can only transfer the resources that create lasting change if it's done from a place of love and a widened heart.
So, if we return to our "theory of change," it is that we will help people widen their capacity to love while transferring resources in the here and now that help our most disempowered populations into a life of self-determination.
We cannot save the world, but we can do our part to repair it. We can repair it by building bridges back into our own hearts and into communities we may have once overlooked. We don’t do it to be good or even because it’s the right thing. We do it because we want to be full. And being full means being in touch with our boundless compassion and doing our part to make sure every child has the foundation they deserve to find their own fullness.
Written by: Thomas Doochin, Chief Believer & CEO