Government of Canada Awards $65 Million to STARS for New Emergency Medical Air Ambulance Fleet in Western Canada

Every second counts when it comes to saving lives! In Western Canada, the Shock Trauma Air Rescue Service (STARS) plays a vital role in making sure residents and visitors get medical attention as swiftly as possible, no matter where they might be when the need arises. 

Since 1985, STARS has played a critical role in emergency management in Western Canada. The founder of the nonprofit, Dr. Powell, determined to change emergency care across rural Alberta after seeing too many patients from rural areas die due to not getting treated as soon as they needed. He and his colleagues created a helicopter air ambulance service, built and supported by the community. 

As they've grown and evolved, STARS has never wavered from its mission to deliver rapid and specialized helicopter emergency medical services. They've expanded well past Alberta to cover Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and parts of British Columbia, including indigenous communities and national parks. 

They believe that where you live, work, play or travel shouldn't impact your chance of survival. The core values of STARS are safety, teamwork, accountability, respect, and spirit. 

Since its inception, STARS pilots have flown over 40,000 missions, bringing critically ill and injured people living, working and playing in rural and remote communities of Western Canada, rapid and specialized helicopter emergency medical services when they need it most. With lives hanging in the balance, having the most reliable air ambulances available can mean the difference between life and death, so new state-of-the-art vehicles are needed to replace the helicopters they've been using. 

The STARS volunteer board has been working to raise enough money for three new air ambulances as the first phase in a fleet renewal plan to eventually have nine state-of-the-art air ambulances in service. Three new aircraft were purchased by accessing cash reserves and financing. 

On March of 2019, the Canadian Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, the Honorable Ralph Goodale, announced a $65-million grant from the Government of Canada to STARS to fund the purchase of five new Airbus H145 helicopters. 

What a windfall! Imagine the difference this will make in their operations? 

These five new helicopters, part of a fleet renewal plan that includes the purchase of nine new aircraft, will help increase STARS' availability of service and improve their flexibility to respond to emergencies across the region.  The plan also streamlines flight operations from two current helicopter types to a single-model fleet, resulting in less time and money spent on maintenance and training.

"This commitment by the Government of Canada is an investment in the future of Western Canadians, enabling STARS to be there to fight for the lives of patients in need for generations to come. This is a historic announcement for STARS and for our fleet renewal process. It's exceptional news for our patients," said Andrea Robertson, President, and CEO of STARS.

STARS has been involved in responding to several high profile emergency management events including the Humboldt Broncos bus crash, the school shooting in La Loche, the Fort McMurray wildfires, and the 2013 Spring floods in Calgary.

An important element of their quick activating is the STARS Emergency Link Centre. The Emergency Link Centre coordinates emergency responses quickly, shares information and pools resources among responding agencies and organizations within provinces and between them. 

"STARS is a vital lifesaving service across the West. "Our investment will provide them with five new, modern, first-class emergency medical helicopters that will help save lives.  The Government of Canada is proud to support STARS in renewing its fleet—their work is precious to so many lives across the region," said  Minister Goodale.

This investment helps support emergency response services in the region and is aligned with the common priorities that all federal, provincial and territorial governments agreed to in the Emergency Management Strategy for Canada released in January 2019. 

The Federal, Provincial and Territorial Ministers responsible for emergency management outlined five common priority areas for action. The award to STARS aligns with the priority to enhance disaster response capacity and coordination, and to foster the development of new capabilities.

Nonprofits and for-profits in the area of emergency preparedness, response, and more can find grant opportunities on GrantWatch.com

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

GrantNews Celebrates Journalists and All They Do On World Press Freedom Day

Freedom of the press is a cornerstone of life as we know it in the United States. That is not the case in many corners of the world. Journalists all over the world risk their lives on a daily basis uncovering stories and getting to the root of community, state, federal, national and international political, social, environmental, and global issues that face us. 

Freedom of the Internet, media control, privacy, and surveillance are all issues impacting the future of journalism and with it, all our lives, and society as we know it. 

For our communities to thrive, we need to work closely with journalists to report the stories that are important and meaningful to us. We need to hold our leaders accountable for needed resources, for positive change. We as a community of readers and journalists need to work together for the common good and reward honest reporting.

It starts at the local level, reporting on the stories that affect our lives, our homes, education, health, and jobs. By being involved in the discussions, we are involved in shaping our future. The stories told about us include our voices. "The more engaged we are with local media, the more local journalism reflects us, lifts up diverse voices and serves our needs," according to www.freepress.net. 

An organization called News Voices organizes events, workshops, and collaborative projects to build power with communities seeking a stronger voice in local news. 

New Voices addresses the issues, local journalism, and the future of journalism in general. Their work raises the voices of diverse segments of the populations so they have a role in setting the news agenda and changing the way news is covered in their communities. 

Journalists can connect with communities, they say, by adopting strategies that organizers use to build trust with communities and uncover untold stories.

Organizing is a powerful approach to building relationships and deepening trust, but it’s an approach most journalists aren’t familiar with. According to FreePress.net's News Voices Organizing Guide…

The principles and practices organizers use can be powerful tools when adapted to the newsroom, and can be incorporated into a reporter’s everyday work to:

• build trust and relationships with people across a community,

• uncover underreported stories,

• better share information with community members,

• learn from the people an issue most affects,

• lift up unheard community voices,

• collaboratively identify solutions, and

• heighten the impact of reporting.

GrantWatch lists grants for journalists and investigative reporting on the local, community, state, federal and international levels. In addition, there are 254 current grant listings related to media. See two of the current grant listings for journalism, media training, and investigative reporting below. 

Grants to USA and International Nonprofits and Institutes of Higher Education for Journalism Education and Media Training, Deadline: 10/01/19

Funding is intended to promote college-level journalism studies and technological advances in the media industry. Preference is given to projects and programs that benefit the areas in which the foundation does business and that seek to encourage diversity in newsrooms and in coverage. The Foundation's priorities are encouraging those wishing to enter the field of journalism and supporting innovative, national, and regional training for current journalists. Particular attention is given to the First Amendment and its responsibilities. 

Grants to USA Nonprofits and Institutes of Higher Education for Scholarship and Research on Public Policy, Deadline: 08/22/19.

Grants to USA nonprofit organizations and universities for scholarly research on public policy issues that impact on the personal and economic liberties of the nation's citizens. Funding is intended to support scholarship resulting in the publication of policy papers, journal articles, film projects, books, and new media initiatives. 

Through its grant-making, this trust seeks to develop solutions to the country’s most important and challenging domestic policy issues. Funding is typically provided in the form of research grants, fellowships, and other types of targeted project support. With the Foundation’s assistance, university and think tank scholars investigate a wide range of issues, including: 

  • Tax and budget policy
  • Cost-benefit analysis of regulatory practices and proposals
  • the workings of the legal system
  • Environmental policy
  • Social welfare reform
  • K-12 and higher education policy

Journalism plays a critical role in our communities. It shapes our lives and connects us to our communities and our communities to each other and the world. To find more grants for journalists, search under Research & Evaluation, Higher Education, Literacy & Libraries, Secondary Education, and any topic from the categories that align with what you are looking to research. Also, try advanced searches for "journalism," "investigative reporting," and "media." 

If you liked this article, sign up to receive our free newsletter and new grant listings weekly, or come back to read them regularly on GrantNews.com, or each of our GrantWatch affiliated website blogs, GrantWatchYouHelpGrantWriterTeam, and MWBEzone

 

About the Author: The author is a staff writer for GrantNews and all GrantWatch affiliates.

Grants Available to Reduce Environmental Health Risks and Improve Air and Water Quality

Hazardous materials found in public and commercial buildings can wreak havoc on people's health. Imagine living in a home or going to work and being exposed to mold, mildew, toxic chemicals and inhaling their fumes and particulate matter daily. Some of these environmental health risks are hidden – they're invisible and don't have a smell or a scent. The greatest risks to our personal and communal health are found in the environments where we spend the most time due to continuous, prolonged exposure.

Over the past forty years, people have been warned of the dangers of materials like lead and to keep children away from peeling paint.  Lead is also found at dangerous levels such as our soil, water and the food we eat.

In addition, mold and mildew can pose a serious threat to your health and well being and the integrity of your property. Extensive growth can weaken the building's structure. 

Libby Hikind, Founder and CEO has discovered and recommends her two mold spore reducing measures. Libby now uses hydrogen peroxide as a cleaning tool, the same hydrogen peroxide you use on cuts and scrapes and whenever the air starts to bother her, indoors she closes all windows, turns on her AC and her Dyson Pure Cool TP01 – Hepa Air Purifier & Fan. 

Recent studies are finding multiple health risks associated with air and water born pollutantsDyson Pure Cool TP01 HEPA Air Purifier, substances like mold and mildew. The worst types of molds could lead to chronic respiratory illnesses, COPD and have now been linked with fibromyalgia, chronic pain, severe allergic reactions and possibly certain types of cancer. 

Warning Signs of Possible Mold and Mildew in Your Environment 

Visible growth: Any black or discolored spots on the walls are a clear indication of a problem.

Musty smell: If you detect a moldy odor in a particular room or area, this could mean it's growing inside your walls or under the floorboards.

Allergies: If you or any of your staff members are experiencing symptoms such as difficulty breathing, a runny nose, watery eyes, throat closing, itching, and other allergic reactions, fungal growth could be the culprit. 

The Grantwatch.com website lists medical and healthcare related grants to individuals to organizations, clinicians, researchers, and other individuals operating in the health fields. Grants also encompass the health and wellness sphere and other health-related initiatives. In addition, GrantWatch lists grants from the United States Environmental Protection Agency to clean up the environment both in the U.S. and abroad. 

Here is a current grant open to USA nonprofit organizations working to protect natural resources, strengthen communities and the food system, and enhance public health. Applications are invited from both small and mid-sized organizations for either specific projects or general operating support.  

Grants to USA Nonprofits to Protect the Environment, Enhance Local Food Systems, and Strengthen Communities, Deadline: 6/01/2019 

Applications are invited from both small and mid-sized organizations for either specific projects or general operating support. Priority is given to applicants that address the funding priorities from a holistic perspective including by reducing environmental health hazards. 

Priorities include:

  • Reducing Environmental Health Hazards
  • Improving air quality
  • Cleaning up water supplies
  • Reducing other exposures to toxic materials

And here are two grants for improving drinking water quality currently listed on GrantWatch: 

Grants to California LEAs, Preschools, and Day Care Centers to Improve Drinking Water Quality, Deadline: Ongoing through 6/30/2019

Grants to California local education agencies serving grades K-12, child care facilities and preschools to improve the quality of driving water. Projects must be located at schools within or serving a disadvantaged community. Projects may involve the installation of equipment necessary to ensure clean water, as well as the provision of interim water supplies. 

Grants to USA Nonprofits to Protect Drinking Water and Natural Gas Resources, Deadline: 7/12/2019 

Grants to USA nonprofits to address environmental issues, specifically the protection of clean drinking water resources, as well as efforts to challenge the development of natural gas use and infrastructure in New York State. Funding is intended for projects that promote enforceable water policies and that advance cleaner and more accessible energy systems.

Through preservation grants, landmarks can get funding for historical homes, libraries, museums, film, art, cultural and religious institutions for remediation from health risks such as asbestos and mold. Grants for remediation can sometimes also be found on GrantWatch under housing or financial assistance. 

Reducing health risks:

  • Using water filters, even some of the most basic can remove lead from water. Check to make sure the ones you use do. 
  • Don't use plastics that have been exposed to high temperatures. Don't drink beverages or eat foods that plastic might have leached into.
  • Only use microwave-safe containers to heat food and beverages. 
  •  A ventilation system that exchanges stale polluted air for fresh and filtered air will keep your office healthy.
  • Install a properly-sized, whole-home or building ventilation system. Older homes have two conditions that lead to high levels of airborne pollutants: the building "envelope" allows dust and pollen and other contaminants in through air leakage, and there’s not enough controlled mechanical ventilation to clear the indoor air. In situations like this, tightening up the building envelope and installing a controlled ventilation system will lead to a cleaner indoor environment.Fan in the breeze
  • For those who already have a respiratory illness, fresh and filtered air can improve their quality of life by eliminating the majority of pollutant triggers.
  • Get as much fresh air as possible, preferably out in nature. 
  • Clean vents and replace air filters regularly.  
  • Be mindful of the air you breathe and the water you drink! To learn more about how to prevent airborne particulate matter exposure, visit the MAA Center website. 

Small businesses, entrepreneurs, nonprofits, public and private foundations frustrated by the often-overwhelming process involved with searching for grants can identify funding opportunities that are easy to read and simple to comprehend at GrantWatch.com. Sign-up here to receive the GrantWatch weekly grants newsletter prepared specifically for your organization's location.

 

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

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Research Needed to Solve Opioid Crisis, Find Alternatives For Pain Relief

Among the greatest challenges the world is currently facing is the runaway abuse of illegal drugs. Drug abuse is a problem that is affecting people the world over, from the rich to the poor, and in all age groups. Because of the increase in drug abuse, global crime rates, terrorism and corruption have skyrocketed within the last few years. For the few who the drug trade has created substantial wealth, there are many more that it has destroyed. It has led to the loss of millions of lives and destabilized communities across the globe. 

Nonprofits looking for grants for research into this problem of epidemic proportions can find them on GrantWatch

Opiates are extremely addictive because of the high, experienced when the drugs interact with the brain. So addictive are these drugs that they can cause addiction within three days of use. Medical professionals at opiate rehab facilities need more insight on to positive ways to treat the addiction.  

"Opioid misuse and addiction is an ongoing and rapidly evolving public health crisis, requiring innovative scientific solutions," writes Nora D. Volkow, M.D. and Francis S. Collins, MD PhD in their article "The Role of Science in Addressing the Opioid Crisis." Research is needed to find medications that will work with patients that are not so highly addictive as well as developing better overdose-reversal and prevention interventions to reduce mortality, saving lives for future treatment and recovery.  Research is also needed to find new, innovative medications and technologies to treat opioid addiction; and find safe, effective, nonaddictive interventions to manage chronic pain. "Each of these areas requires a range of short-, intermediate-, and long-term research strategy."

Opioid Abuse 

Medication or drugs that combine with the opioid receptors in the brain are referred to as opioids. Previously this term was used to describe synthetic opioid receptor binding drugs but has now been expanded to also include opiates derived from natural sources. 

  • Naturally occurring opioids are derived from opium which is obtained from the poppy plant. These include morphine and codeine.  

  • Semi-synthetic opioids describe naturally occurring opioids that have undergone some level of chemical alteration in the laboratory. These include hydrocodone and oxycodone. 

  • Synthetic opioids describe opioids that have been entirely manufactured in the laboratory, mimicking the chemical makeup of the naturally derived opioids. An example of these is fentanyl.  

Statistics from the NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse) show that over two million US residents are addicted to opioids. These statistics also indicate that on the average ninety Americans succumb to opioid addiction on a daily basis. 

Long term use of opioids is known to be a major cause of degradative behavior within many communities and society at large, not to mention the effects that the drug has on the body of the user and their overall wellbeing.  

The Use of Medical Marijuana in the Treatment of Opioid Addiction 

Various studies have shown that medical marijuana may be a suitable alternative for opioids for the management of pain. "Compounds that target nonopioid pain pathways, such as the endocannabinoid system, are also being evaluated for pain management. There is strong evidence of the efficacy of cannabinoids, including tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), in treating pain. Medications that target the endocannabinoid system without producing the cognitive impairment and rewarding effects of marijuana could provide a powerful new tool," according to Volkow and Collins.  

Increasing the use of medical marijuana for therapeutic purposes could be one of the ways of reducing over reliance on prescription opioids for many a patient. The resulting interaction between opioids and marijuana has been a topic of exploration for decades in both clinical and pharmacological levels. However there is still a lot of research being done on the potential marijuana has in the modulation of the addictive effects of opioids, which are a much harder class of drugs. Those going to an opiate rehab may benefit from medical marijuana or its extracts.   

The Importance Of Research Grants For Substance Abuse 

The crisis that is caused by opioid abuse results in significant costs to society with regard to the productivity lost, social disorder, and the overall utilization of healthcare. Research has been the main method used to access the treatment methods available for opioid addictions, giving more insights into the addiction itself. Through research, the traditional methods of treatment were able to be effective to the needs of the time, and any research going forward will be essential in understanding the potential marijuana has to modulate the addictive aspects of opioids.  

More research into substance abuse is needed given the level to which it effects society. Although the findings of such research can be monetized by a few entities, it is largely aimed at benefiting the millions of people who are not able to access privatized treatment for substance abuse. Grants in this sector would enable the projects to access better scientific tools, equipment, and manpower ensuring better chances of success. 

Amazing discoveries have been made on account of scientific advances into the effects of addiction on the brain. The continued influx of funding, in the form of grants, directed toward research will enable the development of fast and effective treatments that deal with the core pathology of addiction. The discovery of new diagnostic markers will also aid in identifying the issues early and intervening at the right time. 

Although institutes such as NIDA (National Institutes on Drug Abuse) might have the required tools of research, they still need adequate funding in order to realize the ambitious goal of finding treatment for opioid addiction.  

Having trouble finding funding for your scientific, medical and academic research? Find grants to apply for on GrantWatch.com for your organization or institution. A research project without a readily available grant should also consider starting a campaign here: https://www.youhelp.com/start

 

About the Author: Dale is a writer and researcher in the fields of mental health and substance abuse. After a battle with addiction Dale was able to become the first person in his family to earn a Bachelor’s degree. Dale likes to write about these issues to help reduce the stigma associate with both. You can find more of his work on Twitter https://twitter.com/DaleVernor

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7 Brand Strategy Secrets for Long Term Success for Nonprofits

Most nonprofits are so busy helping all the people in need of assistance that they deal with that they don't take the time to build their "brand."

"Nonprofits need a brand strategy just as for-profits do to achieve optimal brand awareness and loyalty," according to Libby Hikind, founder and CEO of GrantWatch and all GrantWatch services. 

What is Brand Strategy?

According to Hubspot's Carly Stec, "Brand strategy is a plan that encompasses specific, long-term goals that can be achieved with the evolution of a successful brand — the combined components of your company's character that make it identifiable." 

Your brand is much more than your nonprofit's name, logo, website, and services. It's the intangible elements that go into creating the overall sense of what your organization or agency is all about. It's your mission and vision, it's how you express them and the feelings they elicit in people who hear your story, and eventually, at the mere mention of your organization's name. 

In her article 7 Essentials for Strong Company Branding, Stec talks about the most important element being purpose. We've adapted her seven components for nonprofits. 

1. Purpose 

Purpose of course is even more important for nonprofits than for businesses, but marketing experts for businesses also list this as the most important component. for a comprehensive branding strategy. According to Business Strategy Insider, purpose can be viewed as either functional or intentional. 

Functional: This concept focuses on the evaluation of the success in terms of immediate and short term concerns. 

Intentional: This concept focuses on success as it relates to the ability to make money and do good in the world. 

2. Consistency  

Both Forbes Nonprofit Council experts and Hubspot list consistency as number two in importance in building your brand. Only include information, messages and images that relate to your brand. Whether in your emails or your social media posts and at events, keep your message cohesive.

"Consistency contributes to brand recognition, which fuels customer loyalty." 

Consider creating a style guide for your staff and volunteers who deal with content creation, copywriting, and all social media posting. This can cover everything from the tone of voice you use, to the color scheme you employ in your ads, posts and emails, to the slogans or catch phrases you use, to the backgrounds in your photographs and even at your events. 

3. Emotion – Build Relationships 

Nonprofits are all about emotion. Your mission, your vision, your values expressed in your story should elicit many emotions if done correctly.

People who read your story should feel they share a powerful connection with you and want to get involved. You can create a feeling of belongingness in those you serve as well as in your donors and sponsors. 

Give them the opportunity to feel like they're part of a larger team, or a tight-knit community.

The need to feel love, appreciation, and be part of a group or community, are important human needs.

Having positive, solid relationships help people feel like they're a part of your organization and lead to greater loyalty and becoming more actively involved. 

4. Flexibility 
Be open to change and growth. Remain flexible and stay relevant. Flexibility enables you to make adjustments that build interest and distinguish your approach from other organizations with similar missions. According to Kevin Budelmann president of Peopledesign,

"Effective identity programs require enough consistency to be identifiable, but enough variation to keep things fresh and human." 

Continuing to update your marketing strategies and your brand can bring in younger people and expand into new demographics.  

5. Staff and Volunteer Involvement

It's important to hold everyone in your organization to your core values and to be consistent in the message they communicate when representing your brand. This includes for phone calls, customer service. Stec recommends having a look at Zappos School of WOWzapposinsights.com./training/schoolofwow

6. Loyalty

Reward the volunteers, donors and funders you already have with love and appreciation. Some of them have already gone out of their way to tell their friends about you and share your story. They've written about you, and act as your brand ambassadors. Cultivate loyalty early and keep nurturing it at every stage in your relationships. Show your loyalty to the people you serve as well as those who assist you in your mission. 

Whether it's with a call, a shout out on social media, a personalized letter, or sending them a special gift (with your logo, branded to match your mission, of course).

Ensuring positive relationships with all those you serve keeps them coming back and has a big impact on your organization. 

7. Competitive Awareness 

Keep creating more value for those you serve and those who assist you to keep building your brand. Stay abreast of developments in your sector and how other organizations are operating. What branding tactics do they use? What can you learn from them? What can you incorporate into your own programs, fundraising and social media efforts? You don't need to copy everything they do, keep your uniqueness, but keep an eye on what they've got in the works.  

For some more great branding strategies for nonprofits, read Forbes article featuring their Nonprofit Council: Nine Aspects to Consider When Branding A Nonprofit.

GrantWatch is dedicated to helping nonprofits and businesses succeed. Find the grants you need the GrantWatch website, and a grant writer to write a winning proposal for you on our sister Grant Writer Team site. Contact us at 561-249-4129 or open a chat with our customer support team if you have any questions or need assistance. 

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

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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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