How to Build Resilience as Care Givers

Working with survivors is rewarding, but it can also be exhausting. Most caregivers experience compassion fatigue at some point or another. Psychotherapist Dennis Portnoy believes that compassion fatigue is caused by empathy. “It is the natural consequence of stress resulting from caring for and helping traumatized or suffering people.” All this means that when you’re serving and coming alongside survivors, it just might wear you out. Staying healthy and whole as a Caregiver is vital, both to those your support and the loved ones who need you before and after work. 

Healthy boundaries help Care Givers remain healthy for their loved ones

Two vital keys help support Care Givers: personal boundaries and remaining present.

Setting and Maintaining Personal Boundaries

Personal boundaries are the mental, emotional, and physical limits you establish to protect yourself. They separate who you are, what you feel, and what you believe from the thoughts and feelings of others. In other words, they’re what define your “you-ness.” Anytime someone crosses these boundaries you’ve established, it’s an infringement.

Unhealthy boundaries show up in a lot of ways. 

You might need to establish healthier boundaries if any of the following ring true for you:

  • You’re a people-pleaser.
  • You give for the sake of giving.
  • You take for the sake of taking.
  • You let others define you.
  • You expect others to fulfill your needs.
  • You feel guilty saying “no.”
  • You don’t speak up when you’re treated badly.
  • You play the victim.
  • You accept advances without first granting permission.
  • You don’t keep yourself safe.
  • You hug people you’re unfamiliar with.

Healthy boundaries allow you to be confident in who you are, what you feel, and what you believe.

What a better way to live! Unhealthy boundaries push you into lying. Wait, what? Unhealthy boundaries cause you agree to things you don’t want to do or don’t believe in to please people, gain approval, or avoid guilt. You quickly say, “Yes, I’d love to,” when you don’t have time, energy, or passion for it. You can wind up stressed out, exhausted, and failing to keep up. No one wants to see you there! 

A brighter life for Care Givers is possible

It’s important to remember that healthy boundaries are often a work in progress. Establishing healthy boundaries starts when you know your values. And from there, you can begin to say “no” by saying “yes” differently.

Remaining Present Physically and Emotionally

Have you ever been in a conversation with someone but suddenly realize that your thoughts are a million miles away? How about playing with your child but mentally trying to solve a difficult situation at work? It can be difficult to remain physically and emotionally present at home, especially when you’re working with traumatized and suffering people at work. 

Take a few minutes to center and grounding yourself takes only minutes but makes a big difference.

When you find your mind wandering, a few deep breaths through your nose can help pull yourself back to the present. When you’re transitioning from work to home, take a few moments as you leave to intentionally leave work at work. Listen to a meditation with Indrani on your way home.  

Care givers can take a few minutes to center and ground yourself.

Unpack your emotions related to the problem you’re trying to solve.

When you have healthy boundaries, you are able to live confidently. If something keeps tripping you up mentally or emotionally, it’s often the result of a boundary issue. Take a few moments to ask yourself what boundary is being crossed and whyyou have that particular boundary. Once you’re able to unpack the root cause of the problem, you’ll be able to pursue a healthy solution.

Establish a gratitude practice.

Start a gratitude journal! Bookend your days with a short list of things you’re thankful for. Surround yourself with positive people who make you shine. The more we shine, the more we’re available for love. And if you aren’t sure where to start, consider uncovering your strengths. When we pursuse our strengths, we’ll be able to handle stress and life challenges, become happier, and develop more satisfying relationships.

Boundaries setting and remaining present takes discipline and practice. Training can provide the tools to make the process easier. It also helps you establish a support network of like-minded people. If you don’t know where to start, jump into our free Live a Brighter Life course. These six classes with teach you to live a more empowered life. If you’d like training for your shelter, organization, or group of Advocates, contact us. We’ll show you how to respect yourself, establish healthy boundaries, and build resilience. A brighter life is possible!

ILF Rebrand: Playing in the Visual Sandbox

This is Part 4 of our Rebrand Story
Part 1 Rebranding ILF: A Story of Change
Part 2 Our Brand’s Highs and Lows
Part 3 A Solidified Brand Profile

With the stakeholder interviews and brand profile complete, our team was getting in the groove. We were actively ticking off the checkboxes of the rebranding process with the help of Rethink (the company helping us through the rebrand process).

Next up, Rethink presented us with what they call “visual sandboxes.” This process involved …

Wait a second. This step was all about the images, colors, and design that would inspire the new ILF look, so let’s not make this post overcomplicated with a bunch of words. 

Instead, let’s jump into the sandboxes we liked, the ones we didn’t, and the ones that made us go “hmmmm.”

The Sandboxes We Wanted to Play In

ILF Sandbox 1

We loved the multiple colors, the simplicity of the name, and how the pattern separated onto different elements translated into a single image.

ILF Sandbox 2

We liked the, well, blockiness of this one, the multiple colors, and the way the font also matched the blocky theme.

ILF Sandbox 3

We liked the contrast of the stronger blue color with the softer pink color. We liked the rounded “R.” We also realized that given this, the previous blocky example might be too blocky. 

The Sandboxes That Were More Like Kitty Litter Than Sandboxes

ILF Sandbox 4

We actually liked the darker green in this one, but everything else was too soft and reminded us a bit of 80’s pastels.

ILF Sandbox 5

We felt this was too confusing and hard to read. Plus, we wanted some color in our brand.

ILF Sandbox 6

While it’s true that our team wants to move towards more evidence-based practices, this felt waaaaaay to clinical and scientific to represent our work.

The Sandboxes That Made Us Ask, “What’s Happening Here?”

Working with a big team of creatives at Rethink definitely has been interesting at times. Rethink always gave us a wide range of ideas and visuals to process. These design inspirations were …. well, you decide.

ILF Sandbox 8
ILF Sandbox 8

After the presentation and our feedback, Rethink sent off our chosen visual inspiration to their creative department to start working on the colors and visuals that would represent Indrani’s Light Foundation for 2019 and beyond.

Except there was one twist in the plan before we could move forward:

We decided to explore changing our name.

Wait, what?!

Get ready for the next post in our rebranding story. It will be filled with misfires, emotion, panic, blocks, and eventually a brand new name for Indrani’s Light Foundation.

How to Help a Friend Who Is Being Abused

We all hate the thought of abuse, but many don’t know how to express concerns about a friend who is being abused. What we do know is that abuse is all around us. More than 1 in 3 women (35.6%) and more than 1 in 4 men (28.5%) in the U.S. report having experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime. 

How to Help a Friend Who Is Being Abused

According to the National Center for Abuse and Domestic Violence (NCADV), “Domestic violence is the willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, and/or other abusive behavior as part of a systematic pattern of power and control perpetrated by one intimate partner against another. It includes physical violence, sexual violence, psychological violence, and emotional abuse. The frequency and severity of domestic violence can vary dramatically; however, the one constant component of domestic violence is one partner’s consistent efforts to maintain power and control over the other.”

According to JaneDoe.org, 90% of all domestic violence survivors are female and most abusers are male. As a result, we refer to survivors in this article as “she,” but realize that men can be abused as well.

If you suspect someone you love is being abused, it’s important to broach the topic with her. It’s tempting to want to rush in save the day, but abuse is complicated. Confronting abuse has the potential to be dangerous, especially for the abuse survivor. There are many ways to help a friend who is being abused. We cover a few below:

Voice Concern

When we see a friend getting hurt, whether it be physically or emotionally, let her that know you’re concerned. Initiate the conversation rather than wait for her to say something. Let her know you’ve seen some things that don’t seem healthy for her and ask her how these make her feel. It’s important to allow her space to identify these situations and work through the pattern of abuse.

Generational violence normalizes abusive behavior, so it may be difficult for her to realize she deserves a safe relationship. When you voice concern, it’s important to ensure this talk is at time and place that is private. It’s helpful to have this discussion in person, as well.

Listen

It may be tempting to share your concerns and then walk away, letting her decide whether or not to heed your warnings. Or worse, tell her what she should do. An abused woman is already being told what to do by their abuser. They don’t need you trying to control them as well. Instead, invite conversation. Ask her what she would like to see in her relationship. Abuse is about power, so ask how she would like to see herself regaining some of her own power. 

If you suspect a friend is being abused, voice concern

Be patient as you listen. It’s often difficult for a survivor to talk about her abusive. She’s learned to live in denial to survive, so a shift in thinking may take time. 

Support

Far too often, people choose to support an abuse survivor only if she leaves her abuser. When we offer this conditional support, we are no better than her abuser, who uses manipulation to control behavior. And if she chooses to remain in the relationship, your conditional support only isolates her more.

An individual who has been abused may lose her voice — her ability to speak for herself. Encourage her to talk and explore some potentially new thoughts concerning her relationship. Sometimes support looks like helping her find someone to talk to who has experience in dealing with abusive relationships. 

No matter what she decides at the end of your discussion, remain supportive. If she decides to remain in the relationship, you may voice concern, but again, remain supportive of her.

Don’t Blame

Let her know that the abuse is not her fault. It’s common for a survivor to think that if she had handled the situation better or used a different tone of voice the abuse would not have happened. An abuser chooses to abuse, and this choice has nothing to do with the actions of the survivor. Never blame an abuse survivor for her abuse.

Help Make a Safety Plan

If you suspect a friend is being abused help her create a safety plan

Creating a safety plan might involve a packing bag of essentials. It may be developing a code word so she can let you know that she is in danger without her abuser suspecting she is sounding cry for help. You can help arrange a meeting place if she needs to leave at a moment’s notice. It’s also helpful to have a list of local shelters in the event a safe, private shelter is needed.

Well-Known National Resources

If you work with abused women, thank you! We encourage you to remember to continue to care for yourself through the process. Self-care and a practice of gratitude is necessary to keep yourself centered and to remain strong. Our Live a Brighter Life Course and Caring for the Caregiver is a unique and powerful resource for people just like you. We also host monthly Caregiver Call. Check our Facebook page for details on the next call.

Rebranding ILF: A Solidified Brand Profile

This is Part 3 of our Rebrand Story.
Part 1 Rebranding ILF: A Story of Change
Part 2 Our Brand’s Highs and Lows

With information from our team, the stakeholder interviews, and all the material on the current website, Rethink (the company helping us through the rebrand process) took the next step by building and presenting a Brand Profile to the ILF Team. 

Our Driving Insight Sums Up the ILF Mission

Everyone on the ILF team experienced a shiver down our spines when Rethink presented “ILF’s Driving Insight” for the new brand:

Advocate well-being is the crumbling infrastructure that holds up sexual and domestic violence organizations across North America.

This broken bridge represents the crumbling infrastructure that holds up sexual and domestic violence organizations across North America

Our team has struggled to explain clearly and simply why our work is important. And now, here it was, right in front of us, written in a way we never would have discovered on our own.

This one sentence felt like a complete reset in how we could talk about the importance of ILF’s work. Our team doesn’t only help with self-care. We don’t only teach boundary and communication skills.

Our Mission Supports DV Advocates

Our mission is to find ways to strengthen the advocate infrastructure that supports the survivors of sexual and domestic violence so they can rebuild and return to better lives.

With this amazing insight to kick off the Rethink presentation, the ILF Team felt like we were seeing our work again for the first time. But Rethink had more for us, and continued to share the new brand profile.

Our Brand Profile Supports the ILF Message

Wait, what is a brand profile?

A brand profile, we learned, is the foundation that our brand is built upon. This brand profile serves as guide for the creation of everything — from the colors on our website to the language used to express what we do.

Without going through the whole process and presentation, here are some of the highlights from our shiny new brand profile document:

ILF Brand Foundations

Care workers are selfless agents of change who are obsessed with helping others. “Maintainers” are the unsung heroes of society. ILF is unique in providing comprehensive, practical self-care training at the lowest overall cost.

ILF Brand Profile Venn Diagram

ILF Brand Belief & Ambitions

We believe that the most effective Advocate is one who is thriving. This is our Brand Belief. We seek to inspire all Advocates to take the time to care for themselves. This is our Brand Ambition.

ILF Brand Profile Brand Belief and Brand Ambition

Everything Extends From the ILF Brand Profile

The combination of our driving insight, brand foundation, brand belief and ambition, combined with our brand voice (positive, empathetic, calm, candid), target audience, emotional benefit, and reasons to believe is our complete ILF Brand Profile. This will become the solid foundation that the new ILF brand will be built upon.

Moving forward, everything — including colors, fonts, logos, wordmarks, images, and eventually a brand new name — is held up by this Brand Profile. It provides the structure and strength.

Anticipating Our Next Steps

Everyone was excited and emotional, anticipating what would happen next as we moved forward in the process. Soon we would be looking at visual sandboxes to determine what the new Brand Design would look like.

Join us in the next post as we share some of these visual sandboxes (the ones we liked and ones we….meh), then continue reading as we move forward to see how all of these different pieces come together.

What Does Ending Generational Violence Mean?

What does ending generational violence mean?

It means that we stop saying “ It happened to me and I turned out ok.” What does that really mean? Does it mean all of the following? 

I did not die. 

I did not commit murder.

I am holding a job and have a man so I must be ok. 

I don’t do half of what so and so did to me 

At least I don’t throw sharp objects.

I can come up with a list of other useless and meaningless statements. 

Why are we settling for barely or merely ok?

Why don’t we aim to thrive?

Ending generational violence means that we not only stubbornly refuse to spread the pandemic of violence to women and girls but that we also become lifelong learners about what abuse does to the brain and healthy brain functioning. 

It means we choose a path of healing and peace for ourselves and everyone in our home and life. 

It means introspection and taking responsibility for all our actions. 

Let’s end violence together.

How to Say No by Saying Yes Differently

We can all learn to give a powerful and positive “no.”

Have you ever struggled with boundaries? Perhaps you’ve been able to say “no” to someone but doing so filled you with anxiety. Or maybe you were plagued by guilt afterwards. There’s a way to say “no” differently, in a way that is helpful and — believe it or not — easy.

Learning to say “no” is important. In fact, there’s a world out there that needs us to say “no” once in a while (or all the time). It’s a world in which you can create what you want, protect what you want, and then change what no longer works. There’s a way to not just say “no,” but to say it powerfully and positively. 

Below you’ll find some solid principles on how to say “no,” taken straight out of William Ury’s book, The Power of a Positive No. (Over the last thirty years he has helped millions of people, hundreds of organizations, and numerous countries at war reach satisfying agreements.) We love this book! 

An unhealthy “no” shows up in three ways.

Before we get to that empowering place of “no,” we need to understand the ways in which we’re currently giving an unhealthy “no”: 

  • Instead of saying “no,” we accommodate. In the process we lose power.
  • Instead of saying “no,” we attack. In the process we lose the relationship.
  • Instead of saying “no,” we avoid. In the process we lose both power and the relationship.

These are all unhealthy noes. If you’re unsure what type of unhealthy “no” you tend to give (and it may be more than one category), think of an instance in which you’d like to say no to someone or something but don’t know how to say “no.” What emotions do you feel? What physical symptoms do you experience?

Yes, all that.

In this moment as you think about the situation, you might feel anxiety. The beginnings of a headache. Guilt. Defeat. These feelings and emotions are great signals to let you know that you need to learn how to say “no” in a healthy manner.

A healthy “no” centers on our values.

We feel these things because whatever uncomfortable situation we find ourselves in is typically a situation contrary to our values. Our values are unique to each of us. We could define values as a GPS system that helps us remember where we’re going. Values are something we carry with us every single day to help us make our decisions. Values point us to our purpose in life. They’re what make us work the long hours, give until we don’t feel we can give anymore, and then go home and give to our families. Our values allow us to know what’s a true yes and what’s an actual no. 

A healthy “no” follows a formula.

A healthy “no” involves three parts: yes, no, yes. 

  • The first yes is a yes to ourselves and the values that are important to us. 
  • No is a firm enforcement of our boundary.
  • The second yes offers another possibility or option. An “I won’t do that but I can do this.” This is another yes to ourselves but in way that aligns with our values. There isn’t always a second yes.

Let’s visualize this. Imagine a tree. The first yes is the root system. It provides the stability for the tree. Our values provide our stability. The no is the trunk of the tree. It is firm and straightforward. This is how we stand in the face of something that is contrary to our values. The second yes is the branches. A branch the possibility we offer as a different solution. We can choose one of many options. This isn’t a compromise or an accommodation — it’s a different plan, one that aligns with our values and reinforces them.

A-healthy-“no”-centers-on-our-values

Occasionally, we might experience some pushback to our positive “no.”  If we waver in the face of this pushback, it’s a sign that we need to go back and explore our values and identify a more important one that supports our first yes. Once we discover our core values — the deep ones — we won’t waver, feel guilty, or second guess our positive “no.” 

If you’d like to learn more, are struggling with setting healthy boundaries, or find it difficult to say “no,” sign up for our Live a Brighter Life Course.

In this free course, we teach people to live with more joy and more freedom. And that involves learning to say “no.” Whether you’re a survivor of domestic violence or a CEO of a world organization, living in a shelter or running a shelter, this course will challenge and encourage you!

Discovering Our Brand’s Highs and Lows

[This is Part 2 of our Rebrand Story. Read Part 1 here.]

After the “Listen and Learn” call, Rethink (the company helping us through the rebrand process) continued learning about our brand.

They had already heard from us, so it was now time to interview the various ILF stakeholders: 

  • Sexual violence Program Director
  • Domestic violence Shelter Manager from a shelter we trained
  • Domestic violence shelter Director of Development & Community Outreach
  • Executive Director of a domestic violence coalition
  • Indrani’s Light Volunteer 
  • Vicarious Trauma Researcher
  • Director of a Domestic Violence women’s shelter who said “no” to our training
  • Indrani’s Light Board Member
  • Indrani, our Founder

Hearing from our stakeholders, and most importantly, from the people we are helping was both heartening (when we heard the good news) and frustrating. (Bad news is never great, even when helpful.) Rethink compiled everything into a report and presented it to our team.

The Good News

The people who have taken the training believe in the work and find it helpful and important:

  • “Brings unique training to centers that may not have that expertise.”
  • “For a lot of them it was new. They didn’t know what to expect but they liked how it was presented and the activities they used.”
  • “It’s the level of focus they put on things that makes the difference.”
  • “I came into this training feeling as though I knew all there was to know about self-care. In fact, I was a little annoyed at the idea of having to attend yet another self-care training. But this was so much more than that.”

There is no doubt that the training is needed in shelters:

  • “We need to start stepping back and seeing how we take care of the advocates.”
  • “Organizations don’t build self-care into their culture, which is something that needs to be change.”
  • “When we first started, I felt guilty to close my center for 2 days. But at the end, I feel like it was dearly needed.”

The Bad News

Although the work is inspiring and beneficial, no one knows about the training:

  • “I worry a lot of advocates don’t know about it. I mentioned it this morning and no one knew what it was.”
  • “People don’t know about ILF.”
  • “Not enough people know about it.”
  • “Until I met Jeremie, I had never heard of ILF.”

People are confused when speaking about what ILF does:

  • “I don’t even know what their brand is. I don’t even remember a logo or what it looks like. The colors I remember were a purple envelope that had their stuff in it.”
  • “I would describe it as a Canadian based organization designed to help victims of abuse, specifically from India and countries like Trinidad and Tobago.”

There is confusion around the name Indrani’s Light Foundation:

  • “It’s limited because as the name suggests it’s Indrani’s Light Foundation and it stays as Indrani’s foundation. It doesn’t become more generalized. It doesn’t become more neutral.”
  • “The foundation becomes tied to a personality and that may be part of the issue.”
  • “I think the name suggests the focus – Indrani’s Light suggests a call to CERTAIN people.”
  • “The title of the agency doesn’t say what they do. They could be about anything.”

There are barriers that prevent people from committing to the training:

  • “Barriers include finding the time and prioritizing the need for self-care.”
  • “If they’re not clear on what they’re trying to sell, no one else will be.”
  • “Time constraints. If it was a 2-hour training then we would do that, 100%. I cannot commit two to three days or even one full day.”
  • “Self-care is still in its infancy. Just because we know about it doesn’t mean we’ll do anything about it.”

 

What we learned and what needs to change.

Let’s start with the most important piece of learning from this process:

The stakeholders confirmed that tools for building resilience to compassion fatigue and burnout are needed, and that ILF’s curriculum make a difference.

(Whew!)

Next, and although we know this, it was still hard to hear: 

Indrani’s Light Foundation isn’t doing a great job of building awareness around who we help and how we help them. In fact, we have been doing the opposite, creating confusion about our work.

Our team has a lot of passion around the work we do. We want to make a big impact on the advocates we help, and through them an impact on their clients, family, and friends. We are keeping that impact small by confusing the very people we’re trying to help.

This absolutely has to change. Thankfully, the rebrand will help.

We also discovered that there are some changes that we may need to make that go deeper than our brand. Looking at the length of our training, reviewing the curriculum and making necessary changes, getting our language clear, doing a better job of gathering evidence that our work is making a difference,…

Wait, that’s a completely different post, and if we are learning anything from this process, it is that we tend to get off track in our communication and create confusion. Ignore that last paragraph, let’s get back on track.

Next Steps

With all of this stakeholder information in hand and the meeting with Rethink wrapped up, it was time to move on to the next big step in the rebrand process: The ILF Brand Profile.

What is a brand profile? We had no idea, but we were going to learn all about it in our next meeting with Rethink. You can learn all about it reading the next post in this series…

Rebranding Indrani’s Light Foundation: A Story of Change

The Early Days of ILF

It all began during the team retreat in January 2018 as a discussion about making changes to the Indrani’s Light Foundation (ILF) website. It seemed so simple as the team sat in a condo in Portland, Oregon. Stacie called in via Zoom after bad weather grounded her flight.

Indrani's Light Foundation story

Our website had been created in 2014 to represent Indrani’s global work to end gender-based violence. In the following years, the team added and tweaked pages as our mission shifted towards supporting domestic violence shelter staff. Although the core pages remained, the ILF website and message was becoming cluttered and confused.

People, especially those we were trying to help, didn’t understand what we actually did. That was a big problem. No problem, we thought. We will rewrite the copy, change images, fix some navigation, and everything will be clarified. 

Of course, nothing ever turns out to be as simple as we think, does it?

The Donation that Made an ILF Rebrand Possible

2018 brought about big changes. ILF’s very first team member, Stacie Cassada Kenton, moved on to follow an amazing opportunity for her business and Amy Jaffe reduced her role at ILF to help in her family’s Portland pie shop. 

These changes put the website project on hold until late 2018, when ILF received a donation to use for a full rebrand. This gift meant something very different from the original website renovation project we had envisioned. What had begun as an idea to reorganize and rewrite the current website had evolved into the opportunity to recreate the ILF brand to better represent our work.

We had to think even bigger now! We were excited, but to be honest, we were also a bit terrified. What did we know about rebranding?

The ILF Rebrand Adventure Begins 

Lots of learning, lots of proposals and meetings later — including one proposal for a full rebrand and ongoing publicity at $25,000/month, which we said “no” to — we made a decision. On February 7th, 2019, the ILF team (Indrani, Jeremie, and newest team member Mariam) met with Rethink, a marketing agency in Vancouver, British Columbia for a “Listen and Learn” call. This kicked off the branding process.

The story continued from that Thursday in February with many twists and turns. And it continues to wend its way forward as we finalize a new brand and website, scheduled to launch in September, 2019.

We’re sure you’re eager to know what the new Indrani’s Light Foundation brand looks like. Join us over the coming weeks as the rebrand story unfolds in the following blog posts. (SPOILER: The whole process leads to an exciting new name as part of the rebrand.)

The ILF Rebrand Story

  1. Origins of the Original Indrani’s Light Foundation Brand
  2. What Our Clients, Supporters, and Competitors Think about ILF
  3. The ILF Brand Profile
  4. What the New ILF Will Look Like: Exploring Visual Sandboxes
  5. Harder Than We Thought: Renaming Indrani’s Light Foundation
  6. Developing a New Logo
  7. Bringing It All Together: Honing the Final Brand for ILF

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!

How Training Helps a Shelter

Shelters Provide Basic Short-Term Needs

Shelters provide an amazing service to those in need. Every single one works a little bit differently, but the heart to help is their unifying mission. Shelters generally provide the following:

  • A Safe Space. Safety is a shelter’s priority, both for you and any children who come with you.
  • Confidentiality. Your situation and information is yours, and will be kept private unless you grant permission for that information to be shared.
  • Food, Clothing, & Toiletries. Shelters generally provide these necessities for you and your family.
  • Transportation. Most shelters will provide transportation to get you to the shelter. Many times, bus passes are provided to help you get to any appointments or a job.
  • A Place to Sleep. Shelters will provide a bed for you and your loved ones. This may be in a common room or a shared bedroom, but it will be warm, clean, and dry. 
What Shelters Provide

Often these things are provided on a short-term basis. Safe housing programs are typically available for 3-7 days. Homeless shelters can be for up to 6 weeks. Transition programs can last much longer.

Shelters Can Provide Long-Term Assistance

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs acknowledges that our basic needs must come first: food, water, clothing, and shelter. Once these very base needs are met, our safety needs come next: personal security, emotional security, health and well-being, and financial security. The final three layers of the pyramid of needs are belonging, self-esteem, all of which culminates in self-fulfillment. Shelters provide basic needs, and often provide some physical safety.

But what if a shelter could go beyond the basic provisions, and provide tools that could help sustain people for the rest of their lives? What if this could be done without overtaxing the already exhausted shelter workers? What if there were a training that actually helps these workers avoid compassion fatigue and instead helps them build resilience?

Our free Live a Brighter Life curriculum can do just this. In six classes, students will learn to do the following:

  • Set boundaries and define personal space
  • Say no by saying yes differently
  • Uncover self-respect by letting go
  • Uncover a self-compassion that leads to resilience
  • Stand in divine power
  • Reclaim self physically and emotionally by being present

These 6 principals will not only help shelter workers bring their best selves to work each day, it will help them establish firm boundaries that are loving and compassionate to both themselves and to those around them. And these foundational truths will help them learn to rest, refresh, and value themselves in a way that allows them to become their best selves. Live a Brighter Life reshapes perspective. When all workers in a shelter are focused on these principals, decisions will be easier to make, organization will become easier, and because of the overall lift in emotional and physical health, your internal culture will shift.

How Training Helps a Shelter

In turn, shelter workers can pass this knowledge on to all those who come through the doors. Our Train the Trainers program will help your advocates provide the tools to help those in your shelter to learn to stand in their own power, respect themselves first, and teach their children to be their best as well. 

And in turn — step by step — we’ll begin to change our communities and change our world.