Nonprofit Insurance Program

Domestic Violence Shelters: Increase Community Support

By Alexa Connelly
July 29, 2016

Domestic violence shelters are essential in helping women break free from an abusive relationship. The safe environment provided to women allows them to live their lives without continued fear of being hurt or abused. Domestic violence shelter’s directors and volunteers face many challenges and struggles to keep the shelter doors open. A shelter relies on support and donations from their local community to continue to provide a safe haven for women. A significant challenge they face day to day is keeping the community informed and involved.

Here are six ways to increase your community involvement and

1.Advertise. There is an assumption that advertising costs a great deal of  money. Here is the truth: it can, but it does not have to.Contact your local newspaper or community magazine to see if they offer free or discounted ads to local nonprofit organizations. Include a list of items your shelter needs like gift cards, clothing, pantry items, furniture or cleaning products. If your domestic violence shelter cannot afford this type of advertising, try an alternative free method. Flyer distribution is a gre at way to list the items you need. Once you have created a list, have volunteers hang them in local business waiting areas or on community bulletin boards.

2.Partner with organizations. Schools, business networking organizations, and other local organizations are great to partner with. These organizations often host fundraising drives and seek out local nonprofits like your domestic violence shelter to benefit from their hard work.Initiate the conversation via telephone, e-mail or in-person meetings.

3.Create a newsletter. The easiest way to keep your community members involved and supportive is to tell them what you do.Keep them informed by creating a one page newsletter or flyer that highlights your successes, events and current donation needs. Distribute via mail or e-mail if you have a list of previous donors.

4.Hold a volunteer fair. The key to running a successful nonprofit domestic violence shelter is recruiting and maintaining strong volunteers.Host a volunteer fair to discover new volunteers in your local community.Strong volunteers have personalities that are passionate and engaging. These volunteers are likely to share their passion for your shelter with friends and family in the lives, who will catch the desire to help as  well.

5. Educate your community. Does your community know how you have impacted  and saved women’s lives? Educate your community through local events.A number  of domestic violence shelters have volunteers that were previously residents.Ask these volunteers if they are willing to share their story and the new life the shelter helped them gain.Real life scenarios are a powerful tool that can truly impact potential donor’s willingness to give.

6.Host a fundraiser. Fundraisers drive donations and awareness to domestic  violence shelters.The most successful fundraisers are well-planned in  advance and should have a designated volunteer  committee assigned to them.  5k races, yard sales, bake sales, community fairs and paint nights are great fundraising ideas that promote community involvement and awareness.

Running a domestic violence shelter for women is a great responsibility.Take steps to educate your local community on who you are, who you help and what you need.Increased community involvement directly impacts the number of women and children you are able to help.

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