Boys and Girls Club: Needs Assessment
The Boys and Girls Club movement began in the United States during the Civil War era. Its
beginning has been traced back to Hartford, Connecticut with the formation of the Dashaway Club to
serve disadvantaged boys in the community. The first club was organized in 1860 by women who felt that
the boys who wondered and pillaged the streets should have a positive alternative for their lives. This
great idea spread to other parts of the country and more and more clubs were formed over time. The first
club to use “Boys Club” in its official title was the Boys Club of New York in 1876. Unfortunately, the
club only served boys and not girls. In 1906, the existing fifty clubs joined together to form a national
organization called the Boys Club of America. In 1956, the Boys Clubs of America celebrated its 50th
anniversary and President Eisenhower gave the national organization a Congressional Charter; this is a
rare honor given to only a few non-profit organizations. Soon it became noticeable that the young girls of
this country needed guidance and help as well, so the Boys Clubs began to also serve girls. In 1990, the
national organization officially changed its name to the Boys and Girls Clubs of America. As of today
there are over 4,000 clubs in the United States which are serving over four million people.
The Boys Club of Cleveland was established on June 1, 1964, and became a member of the Boys
Club of America in December, 1965. The first club house was located on South Broad Street and the first
president was Rev. Harold Ray. The club became a member of the United Fund in January 1967. Funds to
operate the organization were hard to come by in the early days. Contributions came from individuals and
industries that were solicited by board members. In 1966 their budget was $27,166 with 800 members.
This budget has steadily increased to hire and train qualified staff, maintain the facility, and to be able to
support a well-rounded environment for young boys. The United Way provides most of the funds for their
operating budget. They have helped the club replace roofs, fix automobiles, help with outside and inside
improvements, pave parking lots, and even replaced a tractor. By 1989 the organization grew into a two
unit organization with the second club opening at 1204 Lay St. in Cleveland. The club was named after
Reba M. Powers, the Executive Director of Cleveland Housing Authority.
In the 1990’s the Boys Clubs of America began to encourage clubs to become Boys and Girls
Clubs. The Boys Club of Cleveland became the Boys and Girls Club of Cleveland in 1992. In late 2003,
the Boys and Girls Club of Cleveland opened a 3rd club unit at Cleveland State Community College. This
club was part of a project started by the Boys and Girls Clubs of America called “club to college.” The
organization continued to grow rapidly thanks to the Board of Directors efforts in resource development.
In February 2007, with the help of Safe Schools/ Healthy Students Alliance and OJP Dollars, the fourth
club unit at the Blythe Avenue School opened. On December 11, 2007 Boys and Girls Clubs of America
accepted the Unit Application of the Paul Dellinger Unit for the organization’s 6th club unit.
The Boys and Girls Club is for children ages six to eighteen. They have a full-time professional
leadership team. This organization helps to build good character traits among the children who partake in
the activities offered. The Boys and Girls Club offers low membership fees so that it is possible for most
anyone to join. This club is not in any way prejudice of any nationality; all are welcome.
Competitors of the club include the YMCA, North East Rec. Center, and Church Street/South
Rec. Center. While the largest competitor of the Boys and Girls Club is by far the YMCA, the two clubs
will often hold sport events together as teams of children compete against each other. This year the Boys
and Girls Club defeated the YMCA at flag football.
The purpose of the club is to enable all young people, especially those with the greatest need, to
reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens. The vision of the club is to see a
future in which the Boys and Girls Clubs of Cleveland is a catalyst for an age which success is within the
reach of every child and where whole generations of children are inspired to a level of civic engagement
not seen since the foundation of our nation.
Coordinators of public relations activities include Derrick Kinsey-Director of Operations and
Charlie Sutton-Head of the Board and Resource Development. In the past, the Boys and Girls Club
public relations department has organized for the club to have special appearances or mention on morning
TV shows, produce brochures, create videos (two of which are currently on YouTube), print magazines,
arrange for every unit director to keep an updated Boys and Girls Club Facebook page, and play PSA
commercials on the radio to increase awareness within the community and across the nation.
When considering the surrounding environment for the Boys and Girls Club of Bradley County, it is
important to understand a variety of aspects that have a large effect on the Boys and Girls Club. The four
main aspects to consider are the strengths and weaknesses (which are internal variables), and the
opportunities and threats (that are external variables). The mix of these variables will have an effect on
how well the non-profit organization can run and how effective it can be.
The first variable in the analysis is the club’s strength. The Boys and Girls Club is an established
organization. People recognize the name as a non-profit organization, and because of the organization
being established, it is a place of interest for people to donate since the name is already understood. The
Boys and Girls Club has been around for 44 years with 7 branches in Bradley County. The organization
saw that there were multiple clubs needed to cater to the different needs of certain areas within the
county, which is why they meet those needs by having 7 branches. The Boys and Girls Club also receives
some government funding to help with operations. A large contributor to the club is United Way. Of the
total contributions given to The Boys and Girls Club, 39% comes via United Way.
The other internal variable in the situation analysis is the club’s weaknesses. A major weakness
within the organization is their reliance on United Way. While it is a strength to have the established
relationship between United Way and the Boys and Girls Club, it is also too much of a reliance on one
donor. If something was to happen to the relationship with United Way it would drastically change the
inflow of money to the club. With the expansion of the number of branches, the Boys and Girls Club
needs to be aware of the growth versus the amount of contribution coming in. Too much expansion
without the adequate contributions could lead to financial troubles in the future.
When looking into the details of the opportunities for the Boys and Girls Club, there are several
aspects to consider. One opportunity for the Boys and Girls Club is to expand the contributors to the
community. The club could consider focusing on expansion of contributors to small businesses in town,
which could help those businesses be seen as being a community minded company. Another opportunity
could also include expanding the contributors to the upper class families of the community. Even though
there is a recession in our economy, the upper class families have more disposable income available. In
addition to the previous two options, another opportunity for the club is more of a focus on volunteerism.
As the club expands, there will be more of a reliance on volunteers. The Boys and Girls Club needs to
attempt to bring in more volunteers, whether it be parents of the kids that participate in the club or attempt
in a bigger partnership with Lee University to encourage the student body to help out with volunteering.
Since Lee University students already need to fulfill service hours, the Boys and Girls Club has an
opportunity to make their organization better known for fulfilling those hours. It would also be beneficial
for the children to see their parents involved in something that gives so much to them every day.
The final external aspect is the potential threats to the Boys and Girls Club in Bradley County.
The most prominent threat is the economy. The organization has no control over the country’s economy
but they will feel the effects more than many others. First of all, their contributions will decrease because
people have less disposable income, so they will have less money to help run operations. Not only that,
but there will be more families that will need the assistance of the organization because of situations that
arise when money is extremely tight. Less money and more kids can cause a great struggle for the
organization. Some businesses go into recession mode, where they don’t try to expand; they just try to
plateau for a while until the economy improves. The Boys and Girls Club should consider something
similar to this.
With all these considered, the Boys and Girls Club has established a great organization that has
helped many families in the Bradley County area. While the company has done many admiral things,
there are struggles that they will have to face ahead. If they can prevent them by being proactive, then the
Boys and Girls Club can help make the future brighter for many children.
“We want everyone to know we exist!” says Derrick Kinsey, Director of Operations. As far as
the key publics goes, the Boys and Girls Club not only reaches out to those in need but also tries to draw
in potential supporters of the club.
The Boys and Girls Club serves children from kindergarten through twelfth grade. A large
pattern of children in need come from single-parent homes, low income, little education, and also very
little ambition. “Nearly one-third of America’s youth will not graduate on time, 18% are diagnosed as
overweight, and some 760,000 are in gangs.” Parents of these children often do not invest much time into
the relationship that they have with their children. These children do not get receive attention or positive
feedback for their accomplishments and will often lose any drive to achieve success. This attitude resides
in the children and it affects their self investment in the activities of the club. The Boys and Girls Club is
trying to increase parent involvement to encourage the children to get involved and try their best at
whatever activity they are doing. The club’s goal is to inspire these children to set goals, be ambitious,
and to dream big.
In order for this non-profit organization to operate, there is great need for an inflow of funds via
supporters, sponsors, and government funding. The Boys and Girls Club focuses on drawing in potential
supporters from schools, local businesses, churches, higher-income community members, and the 10-20
million Club alumni. Famous names such as Denzel Washington, Shaquille O’Neal, Wesley Clark,
Martin Sheen, Jennifer Lopez, Queen Latifah, Bill Clinton, and Jackie Joyner-Kersee have come out of
the Boys and Girls Club. These celebrities have become a large voice and means of support for the club.
The goal of the club is to use the testimonies of these celebrities as a means to inspire and call others to
Although the economy is in a bad condition, statistics show that people have a tendency to give
more during hard times. America is also coming to the time in which the workaholic, baby boomer
generation age and look for ways to distribute their flexible dollars, time, and expertise. America is also in
an age in which the next generation of donors contributes to causes in a new, non-traditional way, such as
Public Relations Audit
Currently, The Boys & Girls Club is remarkable in revolving its activities around accomplishing its
mission statement: “To enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full
potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens.” The Boys and Girls Clubs of America have put
together a 5-year campaign called Impact. This campaign, run in all clubs including the Boys and Girls
Clubs of Cleveland, is a plan to accomplish clearly outlined goals using various strategies and tactics.
Pillar 1- Strategic growth:
The first of these strategies (or pillars as the Boys and Girls Club calls them) are, “To
positively impact the lives of club members with special emphasis on youth outcomes that assure
academic success, good character ad citizenship, and healthy lifestyles,” and, “To strategically
establish new Boys & Girls Clubs, with an emphasis on impact, bringing the total number of
Clubs to 5,000.” Some of the tactics involved include, creating rich developmental programs,
increasing participation frequency, measuring outcomes of national and local impact, enhance
services to teens, and strategically increase the number of clubs.
These strategies and tactics are effective in closely aligning to the mission statement of
the Boys and Girls Club. The measurable and achievable approaches, such as these, look to
empower more kids in better ways to reach their full potential. These tactics and strategies also
cleverly work hand-in-hand. For example, if the Boys and Girls Club improves developmental
programs and helps facilitate a healthy environment for teens, these implemented plans will
inevitably result in rise of attendance and increase the demand for new clubs.
Pillar 2- Beyond our walls:
The second pillar is, “To reach beyond our walls to enhance our effectiveness in Clubs
and communities…” Thus, the Boys and Girls Club wants to enhance its impact on the
community, strengthen families and communities, increase brand (Impact) awareness, increase
civic engagement, create successful partnerships, and better recognize leaders in youth
development. Within these strategies, tactics include executing programs to engage public,
advocating partnerships to help strengthen families and communities, and implementing a new
The steps of action listed above are beneficial to the Boys and Girls Club and cohere with
the club’s mission statement. These tactics may seem somewhat vague and ineffective in that they
do not divulge specific programs to further civic involvement. However, they are still acceptable
because each club is in a different type of community with different kinds of people,
environments, and situations. Thus, each club needs to come up with its own unique programs to
reach their individual community.
Pillar 3- Stronger organizations:
The third pillar is, “To create a movement in which every organization improves, as
evidenced by key dimensions…” These dimensions include quality of executive leadership,
reserve ratio, and diversity of revenue tributary. Tactics are to develop and retain strong and
diverse staff who are required to participate in Boys and Girls Club Leadership University and the
School of Executive Leadership, create more diverse revenue streams and financial security,
improve governance practices, and widen recourses to increase efficiency in operations. The
effectiveness of all of these strategies is achievable for a few reasons: First, finding and training
good leaders is vital because leadership is key. Without good leaders the organization will
crumble. Second, increasing organization revenue is also always important, especially as the club
grows in number of kids and locations.
Pillar 4- Public trust:
The last pillar is to assure public trust. This goal is to, “Assist local organizations to fulfill
our core promise to America’s youth…” To be more specific, the Boys and Girls Club wants to
be honest and open with the community and organizations by maintain integrity in activities and
reporting. The goal is to help the public recognize the Boys and Girls Club as a trusted and ethical
nonprofit that upholds safety as its foremost priority. Tactics include continuing to focus on local
child safety in organizations, implementing sound financial management, expanding movement
capacity, and promoting compliance with membership requirements and operating principles.
All of the pillars are positive in helping the Boys and Girls Club with their mission. The
only minor disadvantage may be with the organization of these goals. The goals of improving
programming and training leaders should be in the same category for promoting improvement in
these areas. Furthermore, put the goals of expansion and revenue increases together. It seems like
a more logical way to organize things when presenting your goals to the public.
The Boys and Girls Club has done an excellent job in revealing the Impact goals to the public
through various appropriate channels and means of communication including a beautiful, organized,
bullet point brochure, and a website chalked full of valuable information and statistics. The organization
also spreads the word with videos on YouTube Channels and Facebook Pages.
The Boys and Girls Club of America has a campaign called “Be Great,” designed as a “call of
action” to draw community and supporters. The recent motivational campaign was aimed at increasing
marketing efforts to target individuals, deepening understanding of Boys and Girls Club impact and
leadership in youth development, and ensuring Boys and Girls Club is seen as an ethical nonprofit.
Understanding that the majority of funds come from individuals, this campaign looks to target baby-
boomers, emerging donors, and club alumni. Hopes are that supporters and donors will be able to connect
with the cause, trust the organization, and want to invest in Boys and Girls Club efforts.
The campaign uses compelling and emotional draw through statistics and alumni testimonies as a
call for action. Statistics highlighted by the Boys and Girls Club include, “Nearly one-third of America’s
youth will not graduate on time, 18 percent are diagnosed as overweight, and 760,000 are in gangs.”
Using such facts, the Boys and Girls Club hopes to compel audience to support the club and its efforts of
helping kids “be great.”
Media resources such as the “Be Great” website, Twitter, and Facebook are helpful tools for
people to become involved at the click of a button. Also, print advertising, like magazines and brochures,
are in circulation around the country. Outdoor billboards, with famous Boys and Girls Club alumni
inspire commuters as they drive the busy-laned highways. Public service announcements on TV and
radio, as well as opinion editorials are also ways the “Be Great” campaign is spreading the news.
Furthermore, famous club alumni like Denzel Washington, Shaquille O’ Neil, and Martin Sheen are used
as spokespeople to promote the clubs youth developmental efforts.
The “Be Great” campaign have been carefully planned and laid out and marketing efforts seem
successful. Their strategies and tactics seem effective because the audience is drawn by both the
compelling and emotional appeals of the campaign. Furthermore, the campaign is well-organized and
carried-out according to plan. The “Be Great” campaign is also appealing to the public because it is
backed by famous American individuals who were impacted by the Boys and Girls Club in their youth
and want to further its mission, “To enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach
their full potential as productive, responsible and caring citizens.”
Because of the variations of environment and audience demographics at each club around the
country, each individual club has specific tactics to spread word to the community about their club. For
example, the Tucker Unit with its teen facility is like the “mothership unit” of the 7 clubs in Bradley
County. The Tucker Unit recently implemented a campaign called “Take the Tour” where they
encouraged the community to tour the Tucker facility and learn about the Boys and Girls Clubs of
Cleveland. Through this campaign, they hoped to show families that the clubs were a safe place for kids
to go and grow in character. Spreading awareness efforts by the Powers Unit club included having a talent
show where kids showed off their talents by performing at Wal-Mart. The event was successful and
grabbed public attention. The clubs are also make themselves known in schools by posting up fliers for
the kids and sending home “backpack stuffers” for the parents. Once kids have consent, Boys and Girls
Club buses come to schools to pick kids up and drop them off back home after the Boys and Girls Club
Overall, the Boys and Girls Club has an excellent plan of action to help get the community aware
of and engaged in the call to help the young people of America. The Boys and Girls Club has used
various forms of media and communication to spread their message of hope for young people. They have
effective strategies and tactics to reach donors for the cause, to gain the public trust, and ultimately to
fulfill their mission of raising up youth to reach their full potential.
Being a non-profit organization, the Boys and Girls Clubs of America has limited funding for
marketing and public relations campaigns. In interviewing Derrick Kinsey, Director of Operations, he
spoke of this problem and said that to put money into these campaigns is to take money away from efforts
for the children. However, the Boys and Girls Club has begun to allocate more funds for public awareness
and marketing. This lack of funding is perhaps first viewed in the general advertising mediums employed
by the club. Mediums such as videos and brochures lack in quality, but show great depths of creativity.
Should extra funding become available, an upgrade to these key awareness tools would greatly enhance
the professionalism of the organization.
With the economy in its current state and the lower level of donations to aid already limited
funding, volunteers become a precious commodity to any nonprofit organization. The Boys and Girls
Club benefits from the efforts of volunteers, but currently, lacks an emphasis on obtaining more volunteer
interest. Campaigns such as “Be Great” feature past members of the club, which would ideally be the
best kind of volunteer. If possible, an emphasis on volunteering could be placed alongside a campaign
like “Be Great.” Perhaps Cleveland’s greatest volunteer resource is Lee University. Students in
education, psychology, and sociology majors, for example, all benefit from tutoring and mentorship
opportunities. With requirements for service hours, volunteering at the Boys and Girls Club is an even
easier sell to college students. Flyers with detachable tags with Boys and Girls Club contacts, Clarion
articles, and Lee hosted events, such as a talent show, are all ideas to help raise campus awareness and
Churches are another abundant resource in Cleveland. Churches provide a volunteer resource as
well as potential funding. Many churches set aside love offerings for different local groups or have
Sunday School classes adopt a cause or place to focus their attentions on. While it might not be feasible
to “market” in the traditional sense to churches in the area, it is important not to negate the possibility of
their help or the importance of church awareness.
Another great way to get the community directly involved with the Boys and Girls Club is
through local business and media. Have a local business host an event in return for positive publicity in
the form of banners, mention in opening speeches, etc. and invite local print and broadcast media to
come. Whether it is the Lee Clarion, The Chattanooga Times, Channel 12, or even a high school student
blog, any media present will enhance public awareness and encourage other businesses to host events.
Lastly, we saw at the Boys and Girls Club of Cleveland a high commitment to furthering the
children’s education. In order to showcase this commitment, we suggest representatives of the club be
present at school functions. A perfect example of this representation would be to attend local PTA
meetings. These meetings have involved parents, a singular focus on education, and often concern after-
school activities and options.
We recognize the limited funding of the Boys and Girls Club, yet the club has shown great
creativity and a continuing desire to improve public awareness and participation. As such, we trust that
ideas such as those listed will be possible in the near future.