On Your Feet Project (OYFP) was founded in 2001 as the vision of an individual who believed in the power of youth mobilization as an engine for social change. It began as a single benefit concert, but grew quickly as an increasing number of people became attracted to the cause. OYFP officially incorporated in 2002 and has since become a 501(c)3 recognized nonprofit organization. Now with operations in New York, San Francisco and Philadelphia, OYFP has partnered with numerous nonprofit organizations to facilitate active involvement among young adults in the areas of children's welfare, domestic violence, education, homelessness, personal/public health, and environmental protection.
On Your Feet Project is a national nonprofit organization engaging people in community service and activism by educating them about diverse nonprofit organizations and creating opportunities for direct community involvement. Our audience includes college and graduate students, young professionals, and other young members of the community. OYFP achieves its goals by harnessing the power of popular culture and volunteerism to inspire a generation of individuals focused on the long-term betterment of our society.
On Your Feet Project views community involvement as a means of generating deep-rooted dedication among young people toward improving their communities, which in turn stimulates social change. OYFP, which is entirely volunteer-run, builds partnerships with other nonprofit organizations selected on the basis of several criteria and sponsors programs on their behalf targeted at young adults. These programs generate awareness for partner organizations and use education and participation as tools for building a bridge to active community involvement.
OYFP provides accessible, event-based outreach programs that fill a void in the nonprofit sector by reaching out primarily to young adults, who represent an untapped source of volunteers, future donors and public support for our nonprofit partners. The need is acute: Americans between the ages of 20-24 and 25-34 volunteer less than any other age group in the 16-65 range, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
OYFP develops and executes events including concerts, art and photography shows, comedy jams, and film screenings, all of which focus on helping nonprofits educate young people about their activities and recruit new volunteers. The diversity of the content among events enables OYFP to reach a broad group of young adults, and the diversity of causes supported reflects the wide-ranging interests of our target audiences. OYFP also develops public awareness campaigns in conjunction with OYFP events. Our marketing initiatives include print and other media as well as public relations support through press releases and contacts with local news outlets. Net proceeds from events executed by OYFP are donated to the designated partner organizations; OYFP retains only funds necessary for the cost of event execution and operating expenses.
The OYFP Volunteer Program facilitates direct interaction among young people with our partner organizations through volunteer events and orientation sessions for our partner organizations' programs. These events educate volunteers about our partner organizations and encourage individuals to develop active and enduring relationships with the partners. OYFP believes that spending two hours at a museum with a six-year old child living in a transitional housing facility can be more powerful than any other recruiting tool to encourage community service. In addition, a high percentage of attendees at volunteer orientation sessions have signed up to become actively involved on a regular basis with the partner organization.
OYFP believes that young people can be inspired to become passionate about social causes. Meanwhile, many nonprofit organizations spend most of their outreach energies on fundraising and as a result their efforts focus primarily on building an audience of potential donors. While this approach is useful from a budgetary perspective, it ignores many of the people who would be agents of social change.
So what does On Your Feet Project provide that is different from other organizations?
What OYFP Provides For Young People: OYFP reaches out to young adults by utilizing a unique combination of popular culture and volunteerism to attract them to social action. OYFP creates a means for young people to learn about nonprofits that are doing high impact work in the community and a channel for learning about out how to get involved in helping these causes achieve their respective missions. Our volunteer events also enable young people to take a significant step toward active involvement. In addition, unlike some volunteer programs, you don't have to be attached to a corporate volunteer program to contribute. For example, our partner Everybody Wins! generally takes volunteers for its reading program only from its corporate partners, but through our co-sponsored volunteer orientation program, anyone who wants to read with kids can become involved.
What OYFP Provides For Nonprofit Organizations: OYFP informs a diverse group of young people about the activities of our partner organizations. OYFP helps nonprofits educate young people about the organizations' missions, raise awareness of their organizations, increase the number of potential volunteers, and broaden the pool of potential funding sources. OYFP capabilities include:
• Access to diverse new audiences including students, young professionals, and other young adults primarily between the ages of 18-35.
• Relationships with and connections to local talent, including emerging artists and other cutting edge content that is uniquely attractive to OYFP's target audiences and cross a broad range of artistic and cultural barriers.
• Experience in organizing and executing arts-related and one-day volunteer events
• A marketing arm to promote events and drive attendance, active involvement and funding for partner organizations
On Your Feet Project works with nonprofit organizations that are dedicated to providing sustainable solutions to the issues they are addressing. We believe that, by increasing awareness and understanding of high-quality, local nonprofit organizations, and by promoting active community involvement among young people, we can facilitate the development of a generation focused on the betterment of our society.
OYFP selects its Partners on the basis of several criteria, which include, but are not limited to:
1. Opportunities for involvement. Partners should support opportunities for involvement for members of the community, particularly among young people, primarily in the form of volunteer programs and events. Partners should be amenable to one-day and ongoing volunteer events organized by OYFP in conjunction with the Partners.
2. Need. Partners should demonstrate a need for assistance in areas of educating the community about its activities, recruiting volunteers, reaching out to younger demographics, and fundraising. OYFP will take into consideration OYFP's ability to respond to those needs as effectively as possible within the parameters defined by OYFP's resources and capabilities.
3. Sustainability of Partner programs. OYFP defines the sustainability of a given Partner program as the program's ability to provide or engender long-term solutions to the specific problems that are being addressed.