Category Archives: Community

Setting Up Fundraisers to Support Domestic Violence Shelters

Domestic violence shelter needs may seem daunting. They need healthy food, personal hygiene items, laundry detergent, children’s toys and games, and clothing. Often survivors need medical attention, counseling, and legal advice. All need a clear path to stability. And it takes funding to make it happen. With a little ingenuity, a solid plan, and a willingness to ask, many people can raise more funds than they might believe. And it only takes one person to get the ball rolling. After all, it only took one woman — Rosa Parks — to start the civil rights movement. It took one man — Ghandi — to start a non-violent protest that led India to independence. Martin Luther nailed his 99 Theses to a church door and started the Protestant Reformation. Thomas Edison electrified the entire world with carbonized sewing thread.

And yet it also took a village, as these individuals built on the story they were given, one that was started by others before them and carried forward by others after them. The same is true when it comes to making an impact on your community. It takes one person with a vision and a passion to inspire others to rally around a worthy cause. Why can’t that person be you?

Whether you’re a shelter worker, a business owner, or a stay-at-home mom, you have the potential to change the world and impact your local domestic violence shelter in big ways. Below are a few steps to get you started on the road to setting up fundraisers and community events:

Set a goal.

Set a goal and be specific. You may want to raise a certain dollar amount. You may want to raise one ton or 100 cart-fulls of food. It may be all about stocking up on hygiene items. Whatever your goal is, make it specific. Whatever goal you set, share that goal with as many people as possible. People and businesses can’t rally around you unless they know the goal exists.

Build a team.

We’ve all heard the phrase, “It takes a village.” This is true when it comes to fundraising as well. No one person can pull off a fundraising event. It might all stem from one person with a vision, like this woman in Kentucky who raised $40,000 in just one month for Welcome House. But it takes a whole posse of passion-filled people to plan an event. Together they can gather supplies, donations, and procure any entertainment. 

Your team needs to have variety and enthusiasm for the cause because no one person can do everything well. Some people are born planners. Some are born sales people. And others love to talk and put people at ease. Each person in our community has a special set of giftings. When setting up a fundraiser, match your tasks to the people who can do them well. When everyone is strategically matched to their job, your event can move forward more efficiently, but also more enthusiastically. 

Tell the story.

It’s one thing to say, “We need $3,000.” It’s another to share a story about how much $100 will go: 

  • 2 nights at our shelter
  • Meals for 20 individuals
  • Job training for 13 single moms

Help your audience visualize the change they will make when they give. Share the success story of a young man or middle-aged woman or a teen mom. How did staying at your shelter make a difference in his or her life? Surround your fundraiser with stories that people can relate to or visualize. When we help people see the tangible difference they personally can make through their contribution, the momentum to give can build. 

Plan well.

A good plan is a well-laid plan. Involve everyone in regular planning meetings to energy stays high, everyone is clear on the goals, and camaraderie is built. Communicate well and be specific in what you will need at every step in the process: before, during, and after your fundraiser. But no matter how well you plan, remember to be flexible. Not everything may go exactly as you want, but that doesn’t mean that setting up a fundraiser was all in vain. Keep your enthusiasm high, stay flexible, and lean on each other as you move forward. Be creative! The ways to fundraise are only as limited as your imagination.

Ask.

Most businesses and individuals will support your efforts. They may not give financially or physically, but they may be wiling to help by posting flyers and sharing the cause with their customers. They may donate their services. They may give their time. But remember, no one will be likely to give if you don’t ask. Start by asking your friends and acquaintances so you can build your confidence and rehearse your story with people more likely to give. And don’t be afraid to leave the door open to creative giving options. “Is there another way you could contribute to this cause?” is a great question to ask every potential donor. 

Make it fun.

People make the best memories when they’re having fun. If you make your fundraiser a celebration event, you’ll raise more money, but more importantly, you’ll build loyalty with the people who attend. Which means you may have just built a fundraiser that can continue for years to come!

Recognition feels amazing, but isn’t worth worrying about

On May 3rd 2019 Indrani was recognized as a champion of gender equity and justice for both her global work to lift women and girls out of poverty, and her domestic work to improve the level of care for domestic violence survivors by teaching front-line advocates resilience against compassion fatigue and burnout.

Indrani was so excited to receive her award from Vagina Monologues writer Eve Ensler.

After the event Indrani recorded this video for you to talk about how it feels to be recognized, whether that recognition is something small or something big, and to encourage you to take a tiny step forward with whatever goal or dream you are envisioning.

Now it is your turn to answer Indrani’s questions:

What is it you want to do?
Why do you want to do it?
What are a few first steps you can take right now?

Leave a comment below with your answers to these questions so Indrani and the ILF Team can share your journey.

Sakhi for South Asian Women (Sakhi), New York City’s first South Asian American women’s organization and an award-winning nonprofit that combats domestic and sexual violence in NYC’s South Asian community, celebrated 30 years of service and advocacy at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine at its gala ‘Honoring the Power Within’, on May 3, 2019.

What a Career in Domestic Violence Really Looks Like

what a career in domestic violence really looks like

There are many roads that can lead to a career that works to end domestic violence.

Some pursing a career to end domestic violence grew up in homes that openly and actively supported human rights. Others were influenced by situations in the home or the community that highlighted the need for greater social justice. And some working to end domestic violence are survivors themselves who want to help others trapped in abuse. No matter what the impetus, most want to help others get to a place of greater freedom and confidence.

You can advocate for and support survivors in a myriad of ways.

A career to end domestic violence could range from case manager to shelter worker, social worker to strategic planner, law enforcement officer to legislator. The opportunities are endless. Additionally, work is greatly needed, deeply meaningful, and intensely rewarding. But working a career to end domestic violence is not easy.

 

Consider the following truths when pursuing a career to end domestic violence:

Days can be long.

No matter what type of job you pursue, some days are long. When you work with those affected by domestic violence, your emotions get pulled in a million different directions. Your heart can break and then become elated At the end of the day, it’s hard to leave your work at the office. If you’re a case manager or shelter worker, every single day looks different than the day before. Most of the time you’re in a reactionary mode rather than working as instigator. All this can wear down your body, your mind, and your heart. It’s difficult to remember that you get a fresh start tomorrow.

Days can be long when pursuing a career to end domestic violence

Circumstances can be difficult.

You’ll need fortitude and creativity to navigate effective solutions. There are times you’ll wish you could sweep away all hurt and trauma. People will make decisions you don’t agree with. Lawyers will find loopholes for perpetrators. You’ll want to take people home with you and let them sleep on your couch. Kids will cry. Shelters will run out of extra space. Much will be out of your control. As such, it’s difficult to remember that your job is to take the next best step forward.

 

We’ve found that a few simple practices can help you avoid burnout when working against domestic violence.

Most individuals working a career to end domestic violence find the task to be all-consuming. If you’re not careful, after a few years into your career, you can easily find yourself experiencing burnout. To avoid this, we recommend a few simple practices:

Boundaries need to be enforced.

While we can’t always leave work at work, time on the clock after hours should be the exception, not the norm. When you’re with friends and family, be fully present with them. Be intentional about what fills that time and space. Remember that working with survivors is your profession. This means you get to conduct yourself as a professional, not a charity. Emotional intimacy with clients is tempting, but maintaining a professional boundary allows you to sustain yourself and your career for years to come.

selfcare is vital when pursuing a career to end domestic violence

Self-care is essential.

Working in a career to end domestic violence generally affects every piece of your heart. Most who pursue this career have deep passion and feel every setback personally. But passionate work must stem from the overflow. When you keep yourself healthy both physically and emotionally, you’ll be much more effective in your work. Exercise. Eat good food. Drink lots of water. Pursue hobbies. Schedule down time. Build your relationships with friends and family. These habits will fuel your work and help make you more buoyant and flexible on a daily basis.

Gratitude must be daily.

When you’re working with survivors, you see a lot of evil. You’re daily in the trenches with trauma, and studies show that second hand trauma can have long-term consequences. The good news is that you get to choose your perspective and focus. A daily gratitude practice can keep you positive and enthusiastic. Start a gratitude journal. Make it a dinner-time discussion. Keep the good things at the forefront of your mind and you’ll find much more satisfaction with life in general, not just in your career choice.

 

Whatever path you follow to pursue a career to end domestic violence, the choice means being part of positive change.

This career choice means you get to be part of the solution. And you get to witness survivors bravely moving forward towards thriving. With healthy boundaries, consistent self-care, and a daily gratitude practice, you’ll truly be able to thrive.