"There is value in expertise..."
One out of every five children in the U.S. will experience the death of someone close to them by the age of 18. Experience Camps is a Connecticut-based nonprofit that champions the nation’s 5.3 million bereaved children who have experienced the death of a parent, sibling or primary caregiver. The organization runs a network of no-cost weeklong overnight summer camps in California, Georgia, Maine, Michigan and Pennsylvania and year-round programs that give grieving children experiences that change their lives forever through compassion, connection and play. By helping children to reframe the experience of grief and enable them to develop invaluable coping skills, Experience Camps empowers grieving children to embody a life full of hope and possibility because “Childhood Carries On.”
Chief Operating Officer Lexie Radwan has been a lifelong listener to NPR radio stations, and when she heard a promotional for YPTC at a time when Experience Camps was struggling with some accounting transparency and knowledge, she says, “It felt right. It was a weird serendipity moment. We had been working with a smaller accounting firm and other consultants that did not specialize in nonprofit accounting. YPTC came in at the perfect moment when we were just beginning to really operationalize ourselves for growth. Within our first meeting, we could clearly see it was the first time a consultant was teaching us the right way to do things instead of the other way around.”
She got recommendations from other nonprofits. Bringing YPTC on board was a significant investment in cost but she is enthusiastic about the benefits that have resulted. “YPTC was the catalyst that showed us the value of not only professionalizing our accounting but also our fundraising, our HR, and other key areas of our operations. These investments have given our board and the broader community more confidence in our ability to steer the organization for long-term growth,” she says. “It was the first step in working with people who knew what they were doing instead of flying by the seat of our pants. YPTC isn’t just an accounting firm; they help us demonstrate confidence among our team and our donors in the way we’re running things. This partnership has shown us that there is value in expertise.”
She cites an example of how YPTC Associate Craig Fox corrected the accounting for special events, significantly improving the reporting on Experience Camps’ 990, which in turn resulted in a better charity rating and improved fundraising. “Just that one small little change in the first few weeks of working with Craig proved YPTC’s value. YPTC has become one of our longest consulting relationships not only in their value but also in the way they approach the work. Craig has become part of our extended team and work family.” she says.