Every year as part of Medallia’s Gift Matching Initiative, each employee resource group (ERG) selects a nonprofit organization they want to champion. This year Medallia’s Q-FIeld, our LGBTQ+ resource group, has selected to support The Trevor Project. We are excited to share that we are now a bronze level corporate partner of this fantastic organization that is on the frontline daily supporting the LGBTQ+ community and creating conversations around mental health with queer youth.
We had the pleasure of sitting down with Shira Kogan (she/her/hers), a Senior Corporate Development Manager at The Trevor Project, to discuss their mission and Medallia’s new role as part of The Trevor Project sponsor community.
The Trevor Project is the world’s largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQ) young people. Our mission is to end suicide for LGBTQ youth.
Our corporate partners are an integral part of our life-saving work. Today, we serve over 150,000 (calls/chats/texts) from LGBTQ youth annually. However, our research has shown that 1.8 million LGBTQ youth seriously consider suicide every year in the U.S. alone. Therefore, while we are the largest organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services specifically for LGBTQ youth, we are only serving around 8% of the youth who could benefit from our services. Our corporate partners help provide the funding, awareness, and technology necessary to scale rapidly and reach more LGBTQ young people who need and deserve our support.
Since March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has created an unprecedented mental health crisis for the entire world, but we know that LGBTQ youth are experiencing unique challenges. We saw the first mention of the pandemic through our crisis services on Jan. 30, 2020, and since then, the volume of youth reaching out to our crisis services has increased, at times spiking to more than double our pre-COVID volumes. The Centers of Disease Control has identified COVID-19 as a threat to mental health, and the impact COVID-19 is having on LGBTQ populations is both nuanced and boundless. The youth we serve often mention several themes:
While our teams are supporting an elevated number of LGBTQ youth in crisis, they are also adjusting for the first time to a fully remote working environment. Since our founding in 1998, Trevor has operated out of physical call centers in New York City and West Hollywood. But in preparation for physical distancing, our organization underwent a rapid, massive tech transformation to move our call centers to completely remote operations — for the first time ever. All told, this could have been a 6-8 month month project that was accelerated to two weeks, thanks to a triumphant collaboration between Trevor’s operations, technology, and Lifeline teams. It was imperative for us to ensure that our crisis services would remain 24/7 and uninterrupted for the LGBTQ youth who need us most.
Our volunteers at The Trevor Project are truly life-savers, taking time out of their busy lives to provide empathy, active listening, and de-escalation to LGBTQ youth in crisis. The greatest challenge we face with recruiting volunteers is creating a scalable process to train the thousands of additional volunteers we need to onboard to achieve our strategic plan and serve every single young person who needs us. We have an extensive, 40-hour training for our new volunteers to ensure they have the skills they need to support youth in crisis, and we need to ensure our volunteer training is a flexible, high-quality experience. To tackle this goal, we have continued to iterate on our training program over time; for example, last year we launched a new, asynchronous training platform that gives our trainees more flexibility to learn on their own schedules, and that allows us to increase the number of volunteers we can train by 10x annually! We are also working hard to create a robust online community for all our crisis counseling volunteers. By helping our volunteers feel more connected to Trevor’s mission and each other, and by making sure they are supported in their own self-care, we can provide an amazing experience to our volunteers and maximize volunteer satisfaction and retention.
Our relationship began through amazing internal champions at Medallia elevating our mission on an org-wide level, first through an internal fundraiser and then through continuing conversations about Trevor’s life-saving impact with Medallia.org and Medallia leadership like CEO Leslie Stretch. We are thrilled to bring Medallia on as an official Trevor Corporate Partner and to work together to save more young LGBTQ lives. Given our shared vision of building connections and giving everyone a voice through innovative technology, there are many opportunities for collaboration — from technology integrations to employee engagement to externally-facing messaging around our amazing impact together. We are so excited to build something truly unique and impactful in the coming years. Thank you so much to Medallia for your invaluable support!