What’s a Suicide Prevention and Awareness Bench? First Unveiling for Josh’s Benches of Awareness

When tragedy strikes, some people become embittered while others are propelled to bring positive change to the world.  For some, the loss of a loved one motivates them to raise money for a cause that they or their deceased loved one(s) held dear.  For Cindy Nadelbach, it was to become the founder of a new suicide prevention organization along with Victor Perez, one of her son's closest friends.  

Last year on May 22, 2018,  Cindy's life was forever changed when her 21 year old son, Joshua Nadelbach, from Wellington, Florida, lost his life to suicide. Joshua battled depression and anxiety, which started when he was about 15. After 2 years of therapy sessions and medication management, it appeared to friends and family that his difficulties were behind him.

"He acted like he was in remission," says Cindy. "He was working a lot, going out with friends, planning his future, and was always just out and about, but he wasn't really okay. He was hiding his struggle. He would talk to friends and helped so many people suffering from depression and thoughts of suicide. People come up to me all the time and shared that he helped them, when they were thinking of suicide. That smile he put on his face was actually a fake one." He was suffering still but this time in silence."He wanted to live, he just wanted the pain to stop. The pain was the internal turmoil only he knew, and he lost the battle to this horrible illness called depression and anxiety." 

Family and friends describe him as a loving, kind soul, a wonderful son, brother and friend. "We were told that though he kept his feelings to himself, he helped many through their struggles and was a selfless individual," she continued. "We believe that by doing this it gave him inner happiness and peace to know he was making a difference in other people's lives.

"We want to have his legacy live on and we know he would want us to help save the lives of others." 

In memory of Josh, the Nadelbachs and his best friend, Victor Perez, started a nonprofit called Josh's Benches for Awareness.  Josh's Benches educates organizations and individuals from a young age through adulthood about suicide prevention and awareness and highlights important resources in a visible manner. 

In order to help them fund the benches, they started crowdfunding and are now looking for grants for suicide prevention and awareness, sponsors, donors and volunteers to expand their reach.

"We are focusing our efforts on raising money for yellow benches and having them installed at schools, colleges, and public spaces to raise awareness for mental health issues. Yellow stands for hello, because sometimes that's all it takes to let someone know they're not alone," said Cindy. "Yellow is all about making the issue visible. No one should have to suffer in silence. We're not hiding it anymore.

Josh's Benches for Suicide PreventionThe bench is a physical symbol that you're not alone. Everyone knows it's there. It's a springboard to bring more conversation about the topic and start a "movement," to add mental health curriculum to schools."  We hope the yellow benches will make people feel comfortable reaching out and communicating with others. People, organizations and corporations can sponsor benches. The benches list information and a phone number to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline  1-800-273-8255.

Perez has dedicated his career to helping businesses grow, and is using his knowledge to make a positive impact on the community. Perez said, "Today, I am on the board of two nonprofits and I have helped build a marketing and SEO firm called SPO Consulting. I look forward to making big things happen with the help of all of our new friends."

This first bench was installed in Pierson Park, where Josh used to play as a child, and will be dedicated on Tuesday, February 19, by Mayor Anne Gerwig, Commissioner Melissa McKinlay, Ch.5 WPTV anchor Ashleigh Walters. members of the Wellington City Council, the Palm Beach School Board, staff from the local Starbucks, Wellington Parks and Recreation, The Palm Beach Post and other local press. 

"We would like to thank everyone who donated and helped us start our project to start placing benches around town and beyond. We hope to see more benches installed this year and are working with the school district to get benches installed in every school!" said Cindy.

Their goal is to have hundreds of thousands of benches all over the country for suicide awareness and prevention. 

A few months ago, Nadelbach was invited to speak at Palm Beach State College, hosted by Dr. Suzanne Duffs, head of the psychology department and campus events. At the event a student who often times considered suicide shared that what prevented her demise was focusing on her dreams, her hopes, wishes, and goals in life and remembering the people who care about her. "My advice is to give it time and to reach out. And even if it's difficult and you don't know what to say, just being around other people will help," the student shared.  

"The important thing we want people to know is that there is help out there for you.  If you are struggling, go to the Student Counseling Center.  We also want you to create an awareness that people may be struggling and by treating people with respect and kindness, here on campus and in the community, you might prevent a suicide," said Dr. Duffs. 

In addition, Josh's Benches for Awareness has formed the following two Facebook support groups: Josh's Benches Support Group and RIP Joshua Nadelbach. For more information or to offer support, go to: www.joshsbenches.com, or their Facebook page.  

If you're searching for mental health grants, grants for suicide prevention and awareness or want to start or grow your nonprofit or small business, visit GrantWatch.com to locate grants and funding applications. 

About the Author: The author is a staff writer for GrantNews.

On The Anniversary of the Parkland Massacre, Our Hearts Are With the Families of All Those Killed By Gun Violence

For many, Valentine's Day has now been transformed in their psyches to the anniversary of the Parkland shootings. One year ago today, on Valentine's Day 2018, 17 students and staff members from the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School were murdered when a student, Nikolas Cruz, walked into the freshman buidling with a bag containing a semiautomatic rifle, and 17 more were wounded. 

Among those killed were heros such as geography teacher, Scott Beigel, who opened the door to his classroom so students could take refuge from the shooter, and as a result put himself in danger, and Aaron Feis, assistant coach and security guard who shielded students with his body. 

A group of students responded to the massacre by founding a movement they called "Never Again MSD." The founders include David Hogg, Emma Gonzalez, Jaclyn Corin and Alex Wind, and Cameron Kasky. The group have become activists and continue to speak out against gun violence whenever the opportunity arises as well as creating those opportunities. In fact, last week, Kasky attended the State of The Union address and a House Judiicary Committee hearing on gun violence. 

The group were the driving force who organized the National School Walkout of Mark 14 last year and the March of Our Lives that drew more than a million people across the nation to rallies for safe schools and an end to gun violence 10 days later. 

Expenditures for school security have continued to rise since 1999, but many students still feel unsafe. Knowing that deputies and other safety officers "may" but are not required to confront active shooters is a point of contention for many Broward County families. Grants for nonprofits, faith based institutions, fire departments, EMS groups, law enforcement, and emergency services for safety & capacity building and other Homeland & National Security funding, including security systems for schools can be found on GrantWatch

Gun control continues to be a controversial issue nationwide. The Never Again MSD students continue to lobby for tighter restrictions on firearms and are challenging the National Rifle Association and the politicians who support it. 

The Parkland students who founded the organization are spotlighted in a USA today article and those killed are remembered in this Sentinal article. 

 

 

About the Author: The author is a staff writer for GrantWatch and all sites powered by GrantWatch.

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10 Best Practices in Volunteer Management

Do you have all the volunteers you need for your programs?  Do you know how to make the most of your volunteers' talents and the opportunities they present?

Finding volunteers and the best ways to identify their strengths and fit them into your nonprofit organization can be a challenge. Volunteers are the backbone of nonprofit organizations. Many volunteers feel underutilized and can do so much more than they're given the opportunity. to do. 

Here are 10 best practices gleaned from a Canada Volunteerism Initiative report, Best Practices in Volunteer Management.  

Lay a strong foundation

1. Value the Role of Volunteers

When not valued, volunteers tend to leave the organization, so, let people know how much you value them. A great way is by putting it in writing in your literature, policies and your volunteer recruitment information. Investing money and staff time to build your volunteer program and taking care of your volunteers can yield great benefits for your nonprofit organization. 

2. Define Rules and Expectations

Have clear policies and procedures for your volunteers. Screen volunteers to keep out anyone who might pose a risk to you or your clients. Policies define your group's rules, beliefs, and values, and its expectations of volunteers. They help you treat everyone fairly. Most importantly, you can protect your group from liability by writing policies that specify the steps that must be followed to protect clients and volunteers.

3. Develop Your Volunteer Management Skills

Pay attention to how to attract and keep your volunteers. Have someone, whether it's a staff person, a volunteer, or a committee, who is responsible for developing a core set of skills, including writing recruitment messages, designing volunteer jobs, providing feedback to volunteers, creatively recognizing volunteer contributions, resolving conflicts, avoiding risks, developing orientation and training materials, and motivating others to help out. This person or committee can also be a voice for volunteer interests within your group. To build these skills, look for the web sites of different volunteer centers or volunteer management resources and ask people who work well with volunteers for tips. Most importantly, ask the volunteers you work with for feedback on how you're doing!

Develop volunteer jobs and get the right people 

4. Reduce Client and Group Risk

Some volunteers might pose a risk to your clients or nonprofit. They could physically harm people or steal from you. Reduce these risks by screening all volunteers to at least some degree. This might mean getting everyone to fill out an application form and provide references. You might require all regular volunteers to go through a short interview.

5. Create Clear Assignments

Having clear job assignments makes it easier to recruit volunteers. Volunteers deserve a job title as well. This should tell potential volunteers what you'd like them to do, what qualifications they need, how many hours you want them to work, and what they'll get in return. After all, the word "volunteer" reflects what they get paid, not what they do. Tell volunteers the purpose of their job and how it will help your group achieve its goals. Consider what motivates volunteers to get involved and what needs to be done when recruiting and giving out tasks.

6. Reach Beyond Your Circle

Simply saying "We need help!" isn't the most effective way to recruit volunteers. Think about what you need people to do and what volunteers would like to do. Write job descriptions that reflect these tasks and then let people know what jobs are available and the skills needed. Get the word out by targeting places where your ideal volunteers are likely to work or play. 

Create an environment where volunteers feel they belong and want to stay

7. Provide Orientation and Training for Volunteers

All volunteers should get information on the history, mission, structure and programs of your organization as well as training and information regarding their assignments. It will help them raise your group's profile when people ask about their volunteer work. More importantly, the volunteers will know where they fit in and how they are contributing to your group.  

8. Provide Supervision

Like paid staff, volunteers require direction and feedback on how they are doing. They need a supervisor, someone to say, "Good job!" or, "How's the job going?" or, "You don't seem to be enjoying this task. What would work better for you?" Volunteers also need someone who will respond to their concerns and give them more work or more of a challenge when they've shown they can handle it.  Volunteers in more complex or risky positions should get more supervision. Supervisors should regularly check in to both give and receive feedback.

9. Make Your Volunteers Feel Like They Belong

Show them you want their input and involvement. Invite them to staff and planning meetings when appropriate. Send them emails about developments in the nonprofit organization. Invite them to the staff holiday party. Efforts like these show volunteers how much you value them. Volunteers who feel valued and engaged in their work, are more likely to hang around. 

10. Recognize Your Volunteers’ Contributions

Frequently acknowledging volunteers' contributions, whether through formal or informal types of recognition will ensure your volunteers feel wanted, needed and appreciated. So, whether it's a plaque, an official awards dinner, a pizza dinner when they finish a day long program, or just a thank you note, don't wait for months to pass to acknowledge their contributions.   Consider linking the reward to the individual. Be creative, but make sure the type of recognition is important to the volunteers (ask them what they prefer!) 

Find grants for developing volunteer programs and gaining volunteer management training on GrantWatch

About the Author: The author is a staff writer for Grantwatch and GrantNews.

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How Nonprofit Leaders Can Make Their Own Self-Care a Priority

Why is self-care important to nonprofit leaders?

Self-care is essential to the overworked, overstressed and underpaid nonprofit leader's our well-being, but it doesn't mean the same thing to everyone. What constitutes self-care is up to that person, but generally includes taking time out of one's work schedule to relax, recharge and reinvigorate oneself in order to stay in the best health possible for as long as possible. Self-care can be as basic as getting enough sleep, maintaining a proper healthy diet, and exercising regularly, but self-care also includes what's necessary to maintain one's mental, emotional and spiritual well-being. It can include some or all of the following: 

Relaxing 

Relaxation can be as simple as sitting with a cup of tea, legs curled up under you, reading a novel or magazine, knitting or doing other craft projects, or more along the lines of incorporating activities like meditation, yoga, tai chi, chi gong, guided imagery work, breath work, getting out in nature for a walk or to watch the sunrise (or set), into your life. 

Recharging

Recharging activities can be relaxing or invigorating. It can include self-pampering activities like getting your hair or nails done, getting a massage or watsu session, taking a long, hot bath infused with essential oils like lavender, sandalwood or ylang ylang, reading for pleasure, taking time off from work, spending time with family and friends, spending time on your own doing something you love. 

Growing and Processing 

Going to see a counselor or therapist, spending time with family and friends, journaling, doing artwork, taking classes you're interested in whether in your field or learning about something completely different that interests you, attending a support, religious or spiritual group, volunteering and community service – giving back to others outside of your own organization. 

Don't shortchange yourself. Put self-care on your to-do list and make sure you keep it there. 

In this valuable article by nonprofit expert Susan L. Axelrod, the author reminds us of important self-care points in ways that will help people institute them in their lives or get back to them if they've let them go.  

Shallow breathing, racing thoughts, tight voice, hunched shoulders. Frazzled, overwhelmed, always behind.

The nonprofit practitioner? No, this was me after just listening to war stories from and reading about the stressed lives of nonprofit leaders.

Here are quotes from several nonprofit leaders with whom I have spoken in preparation for this article:

“I found myself face up in a hospital bed, having had a massive heart attack, asking myself, is this worth it?

“I lie in bed every night, my mind racing in fear of losing one grant that is 10 percent of our entire budget. How are we going to feed the families?”

“Right now, I’m huddled in a blanket in my home because I’ve used most of my own money to pay the bills for my organization; I can’t afford heat in my own house.”

“With one government grant take-back, I lost $15 million. My entire budget was $30 million. I fell to my knees.”

How Do You Feel Every Day When You Walk Through the Doors of Your Office?

Let me ask: How do you feel every day when you walk through the doors of your office? Do you feel energized, refreshed, excited, impassioned? Do you feel ready to take on the day, knowing your resources are in place and secure, and ready to Make Mission Happen?

Or, do you cross the threshold of your office and give a deep or subtle sigh, feeling the overwhelm of your reality come over you and settle like a cloud?

Likely, you fall somewhere in between as you race in and open email, hard mail, texts, and private messages, and listen to your voicemail. In numerous conversations, I heard versions of these comments:

“I feel tied to my devices, responding all day to emails and texts.”

“Many days I look up and can't believe four hours have passed. I feel like I haven't gotten anything done.”

“My to-do list doesn't begin to get addressed until after work hours.”

“I get home, take care of everyone else, and then sit down to get my work done. I average four hours of sleep per night.”

Abigail Goldberg Spiegel, executive director of Leo Baeck Temple in Los Angeles, said: “My greatest challenge is that I have multiple roles in my life, executive director, mom, spouse, president, friend, etc., and I find that a need in any one area pushes self-care to the back burner.” Sound familiar?

You know better than this though. You know the many “shoulds” about self-care — breathe, create email reading hours, get outside at lunch, take breaks during the day, exercise more, eat better… and doubtless, there are “shoulds” about your personal life.

But this simply is not realistic. Teams of humans have human needs. They are often understaffed and under-resourced. Board members too-often do not want to raise money. There are too many government cutbacks in your funding. Your facilities are aging. Technology and equipment are expensive — even your phones now cross the five-figure budgetary expense.

Now, back to the title questions:

  • What about me?
  • What do I want?
  • Does it matter?

HEAR THIS: You are important. Yes, yes, yes, because you lead! If you constantly subjugate your needs, your vision and leadership will suffer.

Get clear on what you want — crystal clear, so you know you’re on track, on point, on purpose (more on this later).

It DOES matter. It matters because you must lead from a position of clarity, strength, and passion. If you’re burned out, overwhelmed, unclear, then mission impact suffers.

What Is the Picture of Your Life?

Picture this: you drive up to your office building, sit in the car for just sixty extra seconds, take a deep, cleansing breath, and set an intention for your day.

You visualize exactly how you want to feel during the day, not how you want it to go (a vital difference!), but how you want to feel: calm, in control, okay about the choices you make with your time.

Then, as you cross the threshold of your office, you affirm your intention: “I control my thoughts and my actions. I control how I feel today.”

When you sit at your desk, you affirm again and instead of going straight to email, you look at your calendar for the day and week, and mentally set up yourself for self-care success.

Only you know what “self-care success” means to you. Is it creating a checklist? Writing action items? Clearly delineating specific accomplishments that support your more balanced mindset?

Sue Catroppa, executive director of CAPTAIN Community Human Services in Saratoga County, New York, told me that she has created self-care routines in her life to help her be present and to avoid anxiety about issues in the past or concerns about the future:

I use my commute for processing, something I don't have a lot of time to do during my day. I breathe and try to wind down. When I get home, I change out of my “work clothes” and put on “home clothes.” I try to be fully present while I’m prepping dinner, just to be in the enjoyment of cooking. I love that I can create and complete something in the meal because much of my work is of long duration — big projects, strategic priorities, program outcomes — and it feels like I never complete things. I put love into my cooking, take care with it, and feel an accomplishment with a finished product.

Other things she does for her good self-care routine include reading. “I read to fill my mind so that I don’t perseverate on problems at work,” she said. She also uses weekends to recharge: “I get outside and get filled up with nature where I easily find calm and can quiet my mind.”

How does everyone around you respond when you are in better balance, confident, in control, and happy?

Imagine Starting Every Day with a Good Self-care Routine

Imagine and visualize throwing your car into park, running in, pulling up email while also listening to voicemail, taking off your coat, having a conversation with the office manager, and still having the audible book on fundraising going in the background. Is this scenario too familiar to you? Perhaps you do not have to “imagine” this, no?

Now, imagine, instead, how it would feel to start each day with a good self-care routine. Can you see why it is important that you know you are important, that you know what you want, and that you realize how much you matter?

On Competing Priorities

Let's get real. The life of a nonprofit leader is filled with multitudes of competing priorities at work. Program, staffing, funding, finances, facilities, planning, communications, and community development — “what about me?!” doesn't even seem like an appropriate thing to contemplate!

Okay, I get it. But, how is the overwhelm going for you? What if you committed this year to doing it differently? To contemplate and integrate new self-care habits to be a best role model for your employees, to feel better and more self-responsible, and to feel more in control this year? What would that feel like? Desirable? What would that do for you? How would it change your life? Think about this a LOT. The result of that self-reflection is your “Why?” Why do I want to feel more in balance and to get better at self-care? This is vital to your self-care success. It is your Why that helps you when you fall off the self-care bandwagon.

One executive revealed that she falls off that bandwagon. When faced with a big dilemma at work, she lies awakes at night with her mind racing about what to do; she simply cannot get her mind to settle down from the anxiety. Then, she loses sleep, is doubly stressed at work, and feels short patience and increased irritation. Then she feels guilty and the not- merry-go-round spins.

And what if you arrive home with young children needing to eat and get their homework done, a dog needing walking, aging parents you need to check on, and a uniform that needs cleaning again?

Here is the answer:  I have no idea.

That’s the truth. That scenario described my life for nearly two decades — and my husband cooked, cleaned, and parented!  I went down to part-time working to try to address all of this (ask me about the breakdown I eventually had while trying to do THAT),  back to full-time to make more money to pay for more things and alleviate the financial stress (that didn’t work out so well either), then finally started consulting in order to have more flexibility.

The only thing that worked was when I did a values prioritization to get really clear on who and how I wanted to be as a professional, wife, mom, person, etc. During these busy family years, I eventually had to let go of perfectionism and the picture in my mind of what I thought life should look like.

Do you have a picture in your mind of what your life should be like as the perfect leader? See that picture — what can you redesign? What might come later?

Here’s a secret: everything doesn't have to happen right now. What can you drop out of that picture, for now, in order to get, feel, and be better, more in balance?

Ultimately, the goal is not what you want to do, but how you want to feel while you are accomplishing great work today, in better self-care balance.

Please think about that. What, what, what can you do to get a little better at self-care and balance this year? What new habits can you create and keep? What will it feel like? How do you think it might affect your organizational culture if you succeed?

This article was originally published by CharityChannel. Reprinted with permission.

About the Author: Susan L. Axelrod, CFRE, FRC, CCP, is an intuitive strategist with over thirty years of experience in the nonprofit sector. She helps people feel good about themselves and create purposeful connections in areas of deep and abiding interest. She helps clients get Conscious, Clear and Confident, and live in Purpose. See www.whatwillyourlegacy.com

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Attract More Traffic to Your Nonprofit Website With Content Marketing Strategies

Nonprofit executive directors often need to wear a lot of hats, especially when you're first starting a new nonprofit or trying to grow to the next level. Becoming proficient at all the aspects of running and leading an organization requires flexibility and a learner's mindset. Add to that the need to switch to marketing mode and attract new donors with engaging and current website content.

If you are the writer of that content or if you have a designated content writer, you as the executive director need to know that using the best strategies for online marketing can make all the difference in driving more traffic to your website, your blog posts, social media pages and feeds.

What is Keyword Density?

"When writing blog posts and content for your website and social media, you must understand the needs and interests of your target audience and gear your writing towards them. Think like a party planner," suggests Libby Hikind, Founder and CEO of GrantWatch.com. "Think about it as if you were making a birthday party with a theme. You use that theme in the invitations, the cake, the napkins, the plates, the tablecloth, the thank you notes – etc – that is keyword density. Keyword stuffing would be repeating that word in nonsensical ways – while density is using the keyword, word phrases and synonyms in a manner that is informative, engaging and useful to the piece.

"The keyword is like the theme which will be repeated at least five times in your article, in the title, in the subtitle, in the search engine for SEO and SEM. The content of the article needs to be informative and smooth for the reader and for Google and other search engines.  People searching need to understand clearly the topic of the post when it comes up on their feed, or when they open the newsletter. They get that from the keyword density." 

You need to know who your target audience is and gear your writing to them. "Include the main keywords in the article's title, the article tag, the short description, and any alt tags or image tags as well, and in the article's first paragraph. Use words relevant to the article topic, that give you SEO juice.  If you choose words that are searched for very often on Google and other search engines you will have high competition and if you choose words not searched as often you will show up in more specific searches possibly attracting only the audience you seek. I like to use both kinds of words when choosing keywords. It can take a bit more time to figure them out, but it's worth it for the results you'll get," recommends Hikind.  

Keyword density is the number of words in the copy/number of times the keyword is mentioned. While there's no exact number of times a keyword should appear, it's best practice is to keep it to no higher than 2%. Anything higher is considered "keyword stuffing" and can harm your SEO.

The right keyword density will place your website or your blog post high in search engines. According to Hikind, it's important to, "Have three words or phrases that you will have used five times or more in the article. Before you start to write – think about the main idea of the article, page or post – stay focused and find the three keywords or keyword phrases that describe the main idea and are searched for quite often and use them often – but only as informative and relevant to the topic."

Jennifer Yesbeck, Marketing Manager for Amazon's Alexa, writes about the 18 Types of Keywords Every Marketer Should Know. Yesbeck provides detailed helpful advice on how to maximize traffic to your website.

The more specific the keyword or phrase, the less often it will come up in web searches, but the higher conversion rates it will generally have.  So, you can choose your main keywords depending on the purpose of your article, your audience and what you want to achieve through your post. 

Primary and Secondary Keywords

Use primary and secondary keywords to drive traffic to your posts. Make sure you choose a clear, often searched word or phrase as the keyword to target on each webpage. Each page of SEO content should have one primary keyword assigned to it. It should follow keyword optimization best practices so that the reader will know that that keyword is the focus of that page. Your primary keyword should make the purpose of the web page very clear to your visitors and readers. 

What is the Purpose of Your Post?

What phase of the purchase funnel is the post geared towards? If your post is about raising awareness or branding, you'll want to use informational keywords ("know"). This is the type of keyword to use if the purpose of your post is to teach people something, or let them know about your organization or company. Posts in the "consideration phase of the funnel" should use navigational keywords ("go"), and posts geared toward the "conversion phase of the funnel," getting people to buy, act or make some type of decision, should use "transactional keywords ("do").   

Define Your Website's Purpose 

Have your mission and vision clearly stated for your readers. Show your achievements and provide access to different activities such as events, training or email lists to join. If you're selling anything or looking for donations or volunteers, have buttons which will link them straight there with precise directions of what and how to do it. 

Write for Your Target Audience

The more people know about your nonprofit the better. Who do you think you'll appeal to? Who do you want to appeal to? Direct your message to them. How old are they? What professions are they in, or are they still in school? Where do they live? Are they in business? Do they work for the government or the community? Are they members of the clergy or congregants? Managers or workers? Trainees or trainers?  Choose your tone of voice depending on your target audience, and use the kind of language they use. A helpful article on identifying and prioritizing your target audiences is available on www.health.org.uk. 

Develop a Content Strategy

Every organization that needs to communicate with the public needs a highly developed content strategy to make sure they're not ignored or misunderstood. 

Content strategy is the "high-level vision that guides future content development to achieve a specific objective. If you do not have a clear picture of what you want to tell, whom and how, you will deliver content that does not resonate with the audience and leads to confusion," according to www.knowhownonprofit.org. 

Use content strategy to establish your organization's authority, engage the audience and drive traffic to your website. “Content” doesn’t just mean written copy. It includes everything – photos, videos, infographics, and more. Keyword-SEO Infographic

Come Up With Your Priority Topics 

Write a list of topics for posts for several months ahead depending on the purpose and audience you've chosen and organize them into several groups based on topics or "theme groups" to make sure you've included all types of content in the right proportion.  

Your articles or blog posts should give "added value" to the reader/subscriber/customer/contributor.  Not everything you write should be geared to the "sale or ask for donations." Write articles that give helpful and newsworthy information to your current readers and build your audience by making it sizzle. 

Though you have a schedule, be flexible so that you can publish breaking news and trending stories when the opportunity arises. Don't get bogged down in keeping to the schedule.

Websites like Sprout Social list the best times of day and days of the week to post on Facebook and other social media platforms for each social media platform for your industry.  Use that information to maximize your social media marketing strategy. 

Choosing Your Title

"How to" articles get a lot of traction as do blog posts with a number of steps or "listicles." Words and phrases such as "key" or "keys," – "The Keys to Successful Content Writing, " or "The Key to Finding the Clients You're Looking For…" and "Essential Ways To," or "Best Practices For," get lots of hits. 

When using numbers or steps such as "Eight Steps to Financial Freedom" (or is it Ten?), make sure it's not too few or too many.  

In summation: Understand keyword density; primary and secondary keywords and how to use them; know your purpose; write for your target audience; write your content strategy plan; come up with your priority topics; and choose great titles.

Executive Directors  – If you want to share what is novel and can be replicated about your nonprofit organization or small business and get some free publicity, sign up as a writer on GrantNews.com.

About the Author: The author is a staff writer for GrantNews.com.

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Nonprofits Like – Fill a Heart 4 Kids – Provide Pivotal Positive Experiences For Homeless Youth and Children in Foster Care System.

Imagine you're living on the streets of Chicago, exposed to elements, trying to find a way to stay warm
after running away from an abusive situation at home. Imagine it's below freezing, the snow is falling,
you don't have a warm coat or blanket and you've only got $6 in your pocket. Imagine you're only 12
years old and want to stay in school and you don't want anyone to know you're living on the streets.
Imagine you go to a shelter and it's full, and you don't know where else to turn. Imagine you meet some
kids who tell you about an opportunity to make some money… What would you do?

This isn't an imaginary scenario by any means. It's estimated that 1.3 million children in public schools
across the U.S. are homeless, of which over 20,000 are in Illinois. Nearly 2.5 million youth in the U.S. are
homeless or face a period a homelessness each year.

The saying, "There, but for the grace of God, go I" comes to mind. We're all born into different
circumstances and situations – by the luck of the draw, karma or Divine will, some of us grow up in
warm, happy, loving families, and others have parents who wind up in jail and may not have any family
members in a position to take them in. There are many ways children wind up under the Department of
Children and Family Services'; purveyance, or on the streets making themselves invisible to elude the
system. Approximately 17,920 children are in DCFS custody in Illinois, and over 691,000 were served by
Child Welfare System programs throughout the U.S. in 2017.

We all have formative memories. These may come from scoring the winning basket on the court or
facing a judge in family court, living in a suburban four-bedroom home with loving parents — or sharing a
room in a group home, or getting shuttled from one home to another in hopes that one will stick.
Inconsistency in their home life takes a toll on foster children, leaving them at greater risk of falling
behind academically or dropping out of school.

Annie McAveeney, founder and the driving force behind Fill a Heart 4 Kids, specializes in creating pivotal moments and memorable positive experiences for children and teens. Exuding energy, passion and purpose, McAveeney devotes her time to helping children in desperate need. "We offer typical experiences that these kids are robbed of, like birthday
parties, holiday gifts, and trips to the movies,” said McAveeney. "We do programs for every holiday so
they know they're loved and not forgotten." 

For the past 12 years, the McAveeney family and Fill a Heart 4 Kids (FAH4K) have been providing those
life-changing memories for thousands of homeless children and children in the foster care system in the
Chicagoland area. Being a Safe Family Mom, the idea sprang from her desire to cheer up her daughters after their first foster son –who had lived with them for six months –went back to live with his biological
family. The McAveeney family had all grown very attached to him and his mom, and while the goal of
the Safe Families for Kids program, as well as the foster care system, is reunification whenever possible,
letting go is still difficult. "I suggested that we do something to help others,” said McAveeney. “There are thousands of kids in group homes, shelters and family placements in foster care. These programs are severely underfunded.
They have no money to spare for extras.”

Her family made 48 Valentine's Day hearts and delivered them to group homes in their area. And with
this, Fill a Heart 4 Kids was born. Over the past 12 years, the organization has grown exponentially with
over 6,000 volunteers in 2018. "About 50% of our volunteers are kids. We partner with organizations
and corporations, and schools, Girl Scout troupes, churches and temples all bring groups to volunteer," 
she said. “It's a meaningful experience for the kids and teens who volunteer to give to other kids and see
the impact they can have on a child’s life.”

They've hired their first staff member, an executive director with fundraising experience, Denise O'Handley.  O'Handley, turned to GrantWatch, to see if they could find a grant to increase their operations. Some of the organization’s current ongoing programs include: Locker Homes 4 Homeless Kids, so they can store their belongings while at work or school; Survival BacPacs 4 Homeless Kids, filled with basic necessities; Project Warm and Project CoCoa, both which provide coats and other supplies to help keep kids warm during the winter months; food Gift Cards 4 Homeless Kids, so they can get off the streets and eat with dignity, Project Smart, which provides school supplies to kids year-round; and a Pilot Work Program to teach foster children new skills.

"We serve about 1300 children who are homeless or in foster care in the Chicago area. Of these, about 850 are in group homes or private home placements and about 500 are homeless,” said McAveeney. “Many are homeless due to aging out of the system and not being able to afford to pay rent. Eighty percent of the kids in our program were either abandoned or have been abused, molested or trafficked by family members. On average, one out every four unaccompanied homeless kids is trafficked within 72 hours. We want to give kids experiences and the necessary tools so they can have a brighter future," said McAveeney.  

Over six years after that initial Valentine's Day, Annie saw a Valentine's Day heart hanging on the wall in a child's room that she knew she'd made that first day. The child told her that they looked at that heart first when they opened their eyes every morning and knew that they were loved.  Such a small token as a valentine's day card or a birthday cake can make a huge difference in a child's life.

"These kids want to be loved so badly. They need to learn to build relationships so that they'll be good parents when the time comes,” she said.  

Over the years, the McAveeney's have hosted many children as a "Safe Family for Children." This means they don't take any governmental assistance for the children who come to live with them. The children they host are cared for just like their own children. They take on all financial aspects, such as feeding and clothing them.  “It’s a privilege to walk beside the biological parents and see the transformation,” said McAveeney.

Less than 3% of children in the foster care system earn a college degree. Positive childhood experiences such as getting placed with a solid, loving family for even a few months and knowing that someone cares can have a huge impact. If you’re a parent, teacher, administrator, or nonprofit, remember, each moment can be an inspirational experience. You never know which will become pivotal moments that shape the course of their lives or set them on their life's path. For more information, or to support Fill a Heart 4 Kids, see: https://www.fillaheart4kids.org/.

To help create special memories for children and those in need, go to GrantWatch.com, which has grants for children, education, community, out of school youth and more.

 

 

About the Author: The author is a staff writer for GrantNews.

Sources:

2018 Project Drive Grant Recipients Announced

Grant makers award grants based on their specific eligibility criteria.  Funding sources fund according to their pre-determined interests in program categories, locations, types of organizations and what monies may be used for. Some grants, such as the Project Drive Grant, a part of the G. L. Huyett Charities, are location specific. In their case, anyone outside a 50-mile radius of Minneapolis, Kansas is not eligible.

Project Grants are allocations of money that nonprofits, organizations, institutions, and businesses are eligible to apply for by submitting specific project proposals.  Similar to project grants are program grants. These are grants where the money is used for a specific program such as establishing a gymnastics team. 

Most grant makers prefer to help start a project or program or give it a boost part-way through, but not to cover any ongoing expenses once it is up and running. They want the project to become self-supporting, for its operational costs to come from other additional efforts, such as endowments or membership drives for nonprofits and operating activities such as sales.

How do people find out about grants in their area?

To find out about grants in their area, people need to be plugged in to the network, like working for a nonprofit organization that gets reports regularly of funding opportunities in their area, or by subscribing to a grant database like GrantWatch.

Those eligible to apply for Project Drive grants include any project that will help make the community a better place. Previous recipients of grant funds include: technology, electronics, playground equipment for schools; books and supplies for libraries; equipment/appliances for local organizations; building materials for facility renovations; and training materials for support groups. 

Foundation and corporation grants can be found on GrantWatch.  Be sure to change location on the navigation bar so that all grants listed will be for your location. Here are two examples of foundation grants:

Grants to New Jersey Employers, Nonprofits, IHEs, and 
Agencies to Develop and Expand Apprenticeship Programs
: Deadline: 3/1/2019

Grants of up to $80,000 to New Jersey employers, nonprofits, trade associations, labor and workforce organizations, LEAs, vocational schools, workforce development boards, and IHEs to expand and develop approved apprenticeship programs. Funding is intended to cover wage reimbursement and training costs, and to provide incentives to employees to hire registered apprentices. 

Grants to USA Nonprofits, Schools, and Agencies in 
Multiple States for Education and Economic Development
: Ongoing

Grants to USA nonprofits, schools, IHEs, faith-based organizations, and government agencies in multiple States for programs in the area's quality early childhood education, affordable housing, community development and revitalization, community services, and arts and culture. 

Grant award recipients were announced during their annual company Thanksgiving gathering.  Project Drive, founded in 2007 by G.L. Huyett, is part of a comprehensive community improvement program that awards grants of up to $50,000 for any one project to a non-profit individual, institution, or organization seeking to improve a North Central Kansas community. 

Project Drive started with $1,000, grew to $5,000 in 2010, and increased to $25,000 in 2015 thanks to contributions from private donors. In 2018, Project Drive awarded $59,022 to 11 projects in Cloud, Ottawa, and Saline Counties.

Project Drive's awards this year provide funds to impact a library, adult day care, veteran’s memorial, after-school program, senior meal delivery program, food banks, low-income families and individuals, and several community organizations.  

2018 Project Drive Grant Recipients

Front row (from left): Barb Young, North Salina Community Development, Inc.; Stephanie McAlister, Glasco Community Recreation Board; Peggy Crippen, Catholic Charities of Northern Kansas; Mary Hrabe, Community Thrift & Care; and Joyce Roe, Gypsum Community Library. Back row (from left): Larry Betrand, Golden Wheel Senior Center; Lindsay Huenefeld, Sunflower Adult Day Services; Doug Plummer, Minneapolis Noon Lions Club #7127; Demerle Eckart, Friends of Culver; Kay Good, Tescott United Methodist Church; and Becky Selm, G.L. Huyett Charities.

Gypsum Community Library – $1,500 to purchase family friendly movies and books for their children’s story hour and summer reading program in Gypsum, KS.
 
Catholic Charities of Northern Kansas – $3,500 was awarded for the purchase of a commercial freezer that will save space and allow more shelving for dry goods in Salina, KS.
 
North Salina Community Development, Inc. – $3,542 will assist in repurposing eight more donated newspaper racks into “Little Libraries” to be placed at CityGo bus stops in northern Salina, KS.
 
Friends of Culver – $3,170 will assist in purchasing new storm windows and insulation for an abandoned house to rent out and then to use the rent to fund community projects in Culver, KS.
 
Minneapolis Noon Lions Club #7127 – $6,657 will purchase 14 high-quality maintenance free trashcans to replace the dilapidated ones in downtown Minneapolis, KS.
 
Community Thrift & Care – $2,500 to replace the roof on the Community Thrift & Care in Minneapolis, KS.
 
Sunflower Adult Day Services – $3,250 to purchase a refrigerator, stove, and upright to replace worn out ones at a day care facility for seniors or disabled adults in Salina, KS.
 
Glasco Community Recreation Board – $3,000 will help to repair and restore the Glasco Youth & Family Center building Glasco, KS.
 
Tescott United Methodist Church – $1,128 was awarded to purchase a laptop, projector, screen, and speaker for an after-school program in Tescott, KS.
 
Golden Wheel Senior Center – $880 to purchase a commercial ice machine, microwave, and six insulated food carriers for their Meals on Wheels service in Minneapolis, KS.
 
G.L. Huyett Charities – $29,815 to build a raised bed garden to grow fresh produce for local food banks or families in need in Minneapolis, KS.

Nonprofits, educators, small businesses, and concerned citizens frustrated by the often-overwhelming process involved with searching for corporation and foundation grants can identify funding opportunities that are easy to read and simple to comprehend at GrantWatch.comSign-up to receive the weekly GrantWatch newsletter which features geographic-specific funding opportunities.

  

 

About the Author: The author is a staff writer for Grant News.

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When You See or Hear Hate Speech, Don’t Ignore It

The deadliest attack on the 11 innocent Jewish people at a prayer service at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, the Parkland shooter who murdered innocent children and their teacher at a school in Florida, the person who sent bombs to high level Dems, and the Monday October 29th school shooter in North Carolina, all had two things in common.  All had mental health issues, and all had a history of posting hateful, incendiary messages on social media platforms laced with misinformation and conspiracy theories.

What can you do, when you see something?  Would anyone have been able to deter these crimes by calling attention to their social media posts or their suspicious actions? Hindsight is twenty-twenty, so how do we get ahead of these deadly criminals. 

The creator of the mail bombs was driving a van plastered with hateful images and carried large duffle bags into work and no one ever stopped him or questioned him. As a good citizen of the world, it's our responsibility to be aware of our surroundings and report when we see suspicious actitivity.

"Be a good citizen of the world. Free speech is not hate speech," said Libby Hikind, founder and CEO of GrantWatch. "Be aware of threats, be alert online and around your physical surroundings, where you work and live and where you visit. As a good citizen, report anything that seems suspicious.  There are opportunities to join local chapters and partnerships with organizations like the Department of Homeland Security, InfraGard and others, or run your own programs. Organizations and businesses can look for homeland security funding on GrantWatch or MWBEzone for grants to increase security and programs to help support their employees, members and participants with training to handle emergency situations and in coping with traumatic events."  

Target hardening is a term used by police officers, those working in security, and the military referring to the strengthening of the security of a building or installation in order to protect it in the event of attack. Follow the link for Homeland & National Security funding to improve security and train staff.

The following grant is currently available to provide funding to assist with support for recovery in communities following violent and traumatic attacks.

Grants to USA LEAs and IHEs to Support School Communities Following Violent and Traumatic Events, ongoing

Grants to USA local education agencies and institutions of higher education to assist the school community in restoring a learning environment following a traumatic or violent event. Schools may request short-term assistance to address an acute need as well as longer-term recovery assistance. 

The organization Share Some Good has some good recommendations about effective ways to respond to and prevent hate speech.  (http://sharesomegood.org/what-can-you-do/) They recommend reporting the inciteful or hate-speech postings to the appropriate channels at that social media company and taking a pro-active stance against hate. If the site administrators determine that the post is considered hate speech, it may be removed. “The more reports they receive of hateful content, the more pressured they feel to remove it." 

FYI: When you are on social media and you “unfriend” or stop “following” a person or group, it gets them out of your sphere of awareness, but it does not alert the authorities of a potential threat. The evidence shows that often anti-social behavior combined with hate related social media posts have been the precursor to gun violence, terror attacks, deadly hate crimes, or shootings.

You can find instructions on how to report hate speech via the step-by-step How to Guides (ohpi.org.au/how-to-guides), offered by the Online Hate Prevention Institute. They can help you find the best way to report hateful posts on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Google, and directions on online safety and security. OHPI aims to, “get technology companies and governments to recognize and take action against hate speech." The Online Hate Prevention Institute has reporting guides on how to report a Facebook image, page, post or comment, a YouTube video, user, channel, or comment, and a Twitter status (Tweet) or user, or a Google+ post, comment or community page. In addition, they have directions on how to secure your access and your information on Facebook and Google. 

If you see a serious threat, or a post that's inciteful, report it to the Department of Homeland Security or the FBI. 

Homeland Security urges citizens to get involved in their campaigns, “If You See Something, Say Something,”  “Stop. Think. Connect.” and the “Citizen Corps”. “If you see something, say something,” is a national campaign that raises public awareness of the indicators of terrorism and terrorism-related crime, as well as the importance of reporting suspicious activity to state and local law enforcement.  “Informed, alert communities play a critical role in keeping our nation safe. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is committed to strengthening hometown security by creating partnerships with state, local, tribal, and territorial (SLTT) governments and the private sector, as well as the communities they serve,” according to their website.

The "Stop. Think. Connect" Campaign is a national public awareness effort that increases understanding of cyber threats and empowers the American public to be safer and more secure online. It encourages people to view internet safety as a shared responsibility – at home, in the workplace, and in our communities.

The Citizen’s Corp empowers individuals through education, training, and volunteer service to make communities safer, stronger, and better prepared to respond to the threats of terrorism, crime, public health issues, and disasters of all kinds.

They recommend that we all plan so we're ready for disasters, stay informed and even participate in active shooter training
Recognize the Signs

Recognize the Signs of Suspicious Activity.

  • Expressed or implied threat
  • Surveillance
  • Theft/Loss/Diversion
  • Testing or probing of security
  • Aviation Activity
  • Breach/Attempted intrusion
  • Acquisition of expertise
  • Eliciting information
  • Misrepresentation
  • Cyberattack
  • Recruiting/financing
  • Sabotage/Tampering/Vandalism
  • Materials acquisition/Storage
  • Weapons Collection/Storage
  • Sector-Specific incident

 

Be Alert, Be Aware, Report 

Suspicious activity is any observed behavior that could indicate terrorism or terrorism-related crime. This includes, but is not limited to:

·         Unusual items or situations: A vehicle is parked in an odd location, a package/luggage is unattended, a window or door is open that is usually closed, or other out-of-the-ordinary situations occur.

·         Eliciting information: A person questions individuals at a level beyond curiosity about a building’s purpose, operations, security procedures and/or personnel, shift changes, etc.

·         Observation/surveillance: Someone pays unusual attention to facilities or buildings beyond a casual or professional interest. This includes extended loitering without explanation – particularly in concealed locations; unusual, repeated, and/or prolonged observation of a building (i.e. with binoculars or a video camera), taking notes or measurements; counting paces; sketching floor plans, etc.

Some of these activities could be innocent, but they’re worthy of reporting. Law enforcement can then determine whether the behavior warrants investigation, but they can't do anything to stop it if they don’t know about it. Better be safe than sorry. The above list is not all-inclusive, but those examples have been compiled by Homeland Security based on studies of pre-operational aspects of both successful and thwarted terrorist events over several years. “If You See Something, Say Something” emphasizes behavior and activity rather than personal appearance in identifying what is suspicious.

While due to privacy and freedom of speech laws the FBI does not monitor sites without just cause, individuals and organizations can work with them through InfraGard, a partnership between the FBI and members of the private sector. The InfraGard program provides a vehicle for seamless public-private collaboration with government that expedites the timely exchange of information and promotes mutual learning opportunities relevant to the protection of Critical Infrastructure. With thousands of vetted members nationally, InfraGard’s membership includes business executives, entrepreneurs, military and government officials, computer professionals, academia and state and local law enforcement; each dedicated to contributing industry specific insight and advancing national security.

The mission of the InfraGard Program is to foster collaboration and information sharing that enhances our collective ability to address threats to the United States’ critical infrastructure through a robust private-sector/ government partnership.

The over-arching goal of InfraGard is to promote ongoing dialogue and timely communication between members and the FBI. InfraGard members gain access to information enabling them to protect their assets and in turn, give information to the government in order to prevent and address terrorism, cyber threats, and other crimes.

The best way to get social media posts taken down is to report them.

The New York Times addressed this issue Tuesday in an article by Sheera Frenkel, Mike Isaac and Kate Conger, “On Instagram, 11,696 Examples of How Hate Thrives on Social Media.

“Social media companies have created, allowed and enabled extremists to move their message from the margins to the mainstream,” said Jonathan A. Greenblatt, chief executive of the Anti-Defamation League, a nongovernmental organization that combats hate speech. “In the past, they couldn’t find audiences for their poison. Now, with a click or a post or a tweet, they can spread their ideas with a velocity we’ve never seen before.”

Facebook has started “actively reviewing hashtags and content related to these events and removing content that violates our policies,” according to Sarah Pollack, a Facebook spokeswoman. T

YouTube has strict policies prohibiting content that promotes hatred or incites violence and takes down videos that violate those rules, so they are a good partner to report to. They will take your request seriously.

Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s chief executive, recently told the New York Times that although the company’s longtime principle was free expression, it was discussing how “safety should come first.”

How to Report Suspicious Activity:

Public safety is everyone’s responsibility. Report suspicious activity to local law enforcement or a person of authority in a clear way, describing what you’ve observed including:

Who or what you saw, when you saw it; where you saw it; where it occurred; and why it’s suspicious.

If there’s an emergency, Call 9-1-1. 

About the Author: The author is a staff writer for GrantWatch.

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Is this Name Changer a Game Changer? For Purpose vs Nonprofit

Can an ordinary person create extraordinary change? According to Adam Braun in his bestseller, The Promise of a Pencil: How an Ordinary Person Can Create Extraordinary Change, the answer is a decided "yes".  Each chapter in this book highlights one clear step that every person can take to turn their highest ambitions into reality and make their life a story worth telling.

On YouHelp.com, when you start a purposeful fundraiser for any and every purpose, you get to write what is called the "back story" of your purpose.

Why start a nonprofit in our capitalistic society? Braun had a "lightning moment" as he describes what changed the course of his life. That moment in time led to his writing this purpose guide-book and to his founding the Pencils of Promise Foundation in 2008 at age 25, leaving behind a promising career at a top investment firm.

Braun proposes that the terms "for-purpose" and "profitable purpose," be used to describe nonprofits and for profit corporations respectively.  He goes on to explain that the term nonprofit is a misnomer giving the wrong impression to would-be donors and participants.

The Promise of a Pencil

One of Braun’s (and his organization’s) most deeply held conviction is: “every child should have access to quality education”. This conviction was shaped while he was attending a Semester at Sea program as a junior, in college. As he traveled Adam asked other young people what they wanted most in life. While docked in India, he saw a young boy begging on the streets and stopped to ask the boy what he wanted the most, and this little boy said, “A pencil!.” Braun then reached into his backpack and gave him a pencil of his own. This small act of generosity could have been forgotten. Instead, this moment propelled Adam to action and changed the trajectory of his life.

From an initial $25 of his own money, Pencils of Promise grew beyond just providing pencils, to build over 489 schools around the world: The foundation's programs are currently educating over 95,873 students.  

And what sets Pencils of Promise apart from other nonprofit organizations? They promise “100% for purpose”, “100% direct giving,” and “100% operational integrity", (and) “100% transparency.” Pencils of Promise is guided by this “revolutionary” “for-purpose” approach.  “Blend the head of a for-profit business with the heart of a humanitarian nonprofit, we rigorously measure the return on investment of every donor dollar we spend. Joy and passion are great, but results are what we’re all about.”

Donors can never truly be sure of where their money is going. By covering their operational costs through private donors, events and companies, 100% of every dollar donated online can go directly into programs to educate children.

According to their website: “We don’t just build a school and move on, we monitor and evaluate every project we undertake. We have a proactive process to ensure every school we open is educating students.”

One of the drawbacks of the term “nonprofit” (a legal tax designation) is that it can creates a misconception surrounding purpose and revenue. “Nonprofits” actually need to make a profit or they cease to exist, just like for-profit companies except it’s usually a longer, slower, more drawn out and painful death.

In addition, while thinking like a “nonprofit,” many organizations fail to emphasize good business practices. They consider the idea of being profitable as somehow being morally wrong. All “profits” can go to funding the work the organization is doing and for their operating expenses, and to keeping the organization operating “in the black.” When good business practices aren’t a priority, the nonprofit will eventually implode.

Braun conceptualized a new way of looking at “for-purpose” organizations. He built a huge following by proposing that 501C3s not use the term “nonprofit,” but instead adopt a positive, affirming term that focuses on what’s really important.

The following lead statement is from the Forbes article entitled, A New Nonprofit Model: Meet The Charitable Startups:

Startup companies are traditionally for-profit enterprises, but in recent years philanthropic ventures have begun adopting the technological know-how and scrappy mentality of startups to develop a new breed of lean nonprofits.

Adam Braun, founder of Pencils of Promise refers to Pencils of Promise as a "for-purpose organization" rather than nonprofit. He insists they remain focused on the bottom line – instead of gross profit, its "gross efficacy.” Braun believes that nonprofits can learn from big business.

Braun said, “Across both startups and the not-for-profit sector, people are driven by intense passion around purpose and mission – they are there because they believe the company is doing something that wasn’t there before.”

“Entrepreneurs have a ludicrously large vision to change the world but have the humility to be solving very clear pain points,” agreed Ted Gonder, founder of Moneythink, a nonprofit which teaches financial literacy to inner city students. “All these things are also true of nonprofits.” …

“Startups test new innovations and are always evolving – I think that that’s really, really important for any organization.”

So, if you lead, work or volunteer for a nonprofit, maybe it’s time to change the way you think about your operational model. Maybe it’s time to start learning from startup businesses, big corporations, and perhaps partnering with for-profit organizations in more ways than simply asking for donations?

In founding Pencils of Promise Braun adopted the term “For Purpose,” and the idea that in some ways, all companies should be “for purpose” corporations as well.   What’s the purpose of your organization or business?

Whether you choose to adopt Braun’s term or come up with another entirely, isn’t purpose the real focus of your organization or institution? Let’s focus on what we are, not what we’re not.

Many ways exist to raise funds for causes one believes in. Start a purposeful fundraiser to raise money for a charity or business on YouHelp.com For more information contact support@youhelp.com or call (888) 240-1494.  

 

 

 

About the Author: Staff writer for GrantWatch.

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Hurricane Michael: What You Can Do Now

As Hurricane Michael continues to wreak havoc along its path, disaster relief efforts have already begun on site and behind the scenes. Organizations such as Save the Children, the Salvation Army, Gleaning for the World, Chabad Lubavitch Organization, The Humane Society, World Vision, and the American Red Cross, have started fundraising campaigns open for donations and volunteers to come and rebuild. They’re readying relief supplies and identifying church partners in potentially affected areas allowing them to mobilize as quickly as possible once it’s safe to begin restoration efforts.

Leading disaster relief organization World Vision recommends praying and giving as the top ways to help those affected by Hurricane Michael.

When disaster strikes, World Vision is often one of the first organizations to respond across the United States. Their relief workers connect with partners — including religious institutions — in affected regions to help hard-hit communities. They are continually preparing for the next disaster by equipping their field sites and partners to help those affected by tornadoes, floods, storms, wildfires, and other disasters across the country. They also remain long after disasters have faded from the headlines helping communities rebuild. 

Their prayer: “Almighty Father, we ask for Your care and protection for people in the path of Hurricane Michael. Give them the assurance of Your presence and equip those who will provide relief and assistance after the storm passes.  Strengthen the minds and bodies of first responders for the days ahead.”

Strengthen mind and body of first responders

If you’ve been affected by the hurricane and need assistance, contact them or FEMA and your insurance company to set the process in motion to receive aid. To find additional funding for yourself, your organization or others in need, there are some grants available for hurricane relief on GrantWatch.com with the key words Hurricane and disaster-relief-grants.

For immediate assistance, there are shelters available but they’re filling up quickly. Shelters in Dothan, Florida, and some others in the panhandle and across south Alabama are some of the closest for evacuees.

The two main shelters in Dothan are Wiregrass Church at 900 West Main Street and the First Baptist Church shelter at 300 West Main Street. Both have plenty of cots and food and both still have room if you need assistance. 

There are three American Red Cross shelters in other areas of Alabama open now.   Aldersgate United Methodist Church, 6610 Vaughn Rd, Montgomery, Ozark Civic Center, 302 East College St, Ozark, 36360 and Robertsdale Coliseum, 19477 Fairground Rd, Robertsdale, 36567

The Dothan, Florida shelters have family areas and places where children can play.

Background

Hurricane Michael made landfall near Mexico Beach, about 20 miles (32 km) southeast of Panama City in the Florida Panhandle as a Category 4 storm early Wednesday afternoon with tree-snapping winds and towering waves that flooded whole beach towns.  Maximum sustained winds of 155 mph (249 kph) according to Reuters News Service, have been recorded in the storm’s eye wall. It is the first Category 4 storm in recorded history to make landfall in the northeast Gulf Coast. Its sustained winds were just 2 mph (3.2 kph) shy of the highest, Category 5.

Coastal areas could see up to a foot of rain, winds above 130 mph, and storm surges of 14 feet. The storm is expected to track through Georgia and the Carolinas as it moves inland Wednesday and Thursday, bringing more wind and rain to areas affected by Hurricane Florence.  

“This is the worst storm that our Florida Panhandle has seen in a century,” Gov. Rick Scott said Wednesday morning.

"Unfortunately, this is a hurricane of the worst kind," said Brock Long, head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Here's what makes Hurricane Michael especially dangerous:

It's the strongest hurricane to ever hit Florida's panhandle

Michael crashed onto Florida's coast Wednesday with 155 mph winds — strong enough to demolish houses.

Those kinds of winds "are above typical building codes," Long said. Even with the tougher standards in the Florida Building Code, set in place after Hurricane Andrew in 1992, older homes aren’t built to withstand a hurricane of this magnitude.

Hurricane Michael began in the southwest Caribbean Sea and was first monitored by the National Hurricane Center on October 2. It strengthened from a tropical storm to a hurricane by October 8. Warnings were sent out to 20 counties to head towards higher ground, but those who hadn’t left their homes by early Wednesday morning were told it was too late to leave.

You can start your own campaign for those affected by the storm on our crowdfunding website, www.youhelp.com.

Local municipalities, nonprofits, religious institutions, community-based groups and concerned citizens frustrated by the often-overwhelming process involved with searching for grants can identify funding opportunities in support of hurricane and other disaster relief initiatives at GrantWatch.com and MWBEzone.comSign-up to receive the weekly GrantWatch newsletter which features geographic-specific funding opportunities.

 

 

 

About the Author: Staff Writer at GrantNews

Sources: