National Adoption Month. #FlipTheScript

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Honoring and listening to the most underserved  voices in adoption and foster care.

About the author: Katie Stickles-Wynen, MSW, a Colombian adoptee, has a Masters in Social Work. After college, Katie worked at Hyde School in CT where she helped design a program for adopted youth and parents. Katie studied under Dr. Joyce Maguire Pavao in Boston before moving to California and joining the Pact staff where she leads groups, works with tweens and teens and provides psycho-educational counseling to pre-adoptive parents.

adoption_month1November is National Adoption Awareness Month. This month originally started as a week in the state of Massachusetts to promote the need of adoptive families for children in foster care and was eventually expanded to a month by President Bill Clinton. The month now recognizes all adoptions, but does continue with a focus on children in the foster care system.

The adoption narrative/discussion is often lead by adoptive parents; the triad member most directly served in the adoption process. The voices of birth/first parents and adoptees is ignored; the triad members most directly affected by the adoption process. Fed up with the shiny, happy, lucky, narrative of adoption, The Lost Daughters began a movement in November 2014 called “Flip The Script.” This movement features the voices of adult adoptees who have lived experience. They share the struggles, complications, loss and trauma of adoption and their personal journeys.

While adoptee voices are becoming louder, the voices of birth/first parents are still being silenced. Birth/first parents are often painted in a negative light as parents who “threw away” their children. If birth/first parent voices were honored as much as adoptive parent voices, the public would know that each journey is different, that the media representation of birth family is not accurate and that the voices of birth/first parents are essential to understanding the adoption process and supporting adoptees.

Adoption is complicated. It’s not all rainbows and unicorns. All voices of the adoption constellation need to be heard and honored, especially those of adoptees, foster care youth/alums and birth/first parents.

Check out these 3 non-profit organizations that support the underserved members of the adoption and foster care communities and learn how you can help:

slm-for-web-e1432840609939Silver Linings Mentoring is a non-profit in Massachusetts that empowers youth in foster care to flourish through committed mentoring relationships and the development of essential life skills. If you live in MA learn how you can become a mentor. If you live out-of-state your donation will help provide services for foster youth. Donate Now »

On Your Feet Foundation empowers, unites, and supports women who have placed a child for adoption.oyff-logo OYFF provides critical services to support and empower birth parents who currently live in California or who have placed a child for adoption in California. Academic and counseling grants are offered to birth parents in addition to Birth Mother Retreats three times a year to provide birth mothers with a unique opportunity to share common experiences, participate in therapeutic workshops and build community. Donate Now »

pact-logoPact, An Adoption Alliance serves adopted children of color by providing not only adoptive placement, but lifelong education, support and community for adoptees and their families on matters of adoption and race. Pact’s adoption placement program serves families of color seeking to adopt, as parents of color are greatly underserved in adoption. Pact also leads support groups for adult adoptees and foster alum of color, birth/first parents of color and hosts two, week long camps that provide support, community, education and empowerment to adopted youth of color and their families. Donate Now »

#FlipTheScript, get involved and donate to these and other organizations whose mission is to serve the underserved in the adoption community.

Katie Stickles-Wynen, MSW
Pact, An Adoption Alliance

Featured Nonprofit FAQ: Customizing your donation button

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Question

Can I customize my donation button for specific programs, amounts or for recurring?

Answer

Yes, you can add specific text to your donation button link so that program, amount, or recurring options are prefilled when your donor arrives art your page. Here are some examples using the sample donation button link https://npo.justgive.org/nonprofits/donate.jsp?ein=94-3331010.

Program designation

If your organization is running a campaign, has multipleprogram chapters, or is a fiscal sponsor, customizing your donation button link with a specific program ensures donations are easily and correctly designated. To specify what program is selected when the donor arrives at your donation page, add “&designation=Program+Name” to the end of your donation link.

Example: https://npo.justgive.org/nonprofits/donate.jsp?ein=94-3331010&designation=Children’s+Literacy

Custom amount

To ask for a particular amount for events or programs, prefilling the amount for your donor adds convenience and ensures accuracy. Add “&amount=x” where x = the dollar amount to the end of your donation link to prefill a specific donation amount.

Example: https://npo.justgive.org/nonprofits/donate.jsp?ein=94-3331010&amount=50

Recurring donations

Make it easy for donors to support your cause monthly by including a custom button link with the recurring donation option preselected on your website, recurringsocial media, and in email communications. To prefill the recurring donation checkbox, add “&isRecurring=true” to the end of your donation link. They can uncheck it if they prefer not to make their donation recurring.

Example: https://npo.justgive.org/nonprofits/donate.jsp?ein=94-3331010&isRecurring=true

Multiple items

The above appends can be combined to prefill more than item. For example, if you want to encourage donors to set up a recurring, $20 donation, you would set up the donation link like this:

https://npo.justgive.org/nonprofits/donate.jsp?ein=94-3331010&isRecurring=true&amount=20

Perfect for ongoing programs, you can even combine all three customizations to ask for recurring donations of a specific amount for a specific program:

https://npo.justgive.org/nonprofits/donate.jsp?ein=94-3331010&isRecurring=true&amount=20&designation=Urban+Homelessness

When your donor visits a link like the one above, they will see the amount, recurring and program designation prefilled as in the highlighted screenshot below:

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Note: If your organization is using a custom shortcut url like https://npo.justgive.org/justgive, the first symbol of the appends above should be changed from “&” to “?”. For example:

To preselect the recurring option, add “?isRecurring=true”: https://npo.justgive.org/justgive?isRecurring=true

The offer donors a recurring, $20 donation link, add “?isRecurring=true&amount=20”: https://npo.justgive.org/justgive?isRecurring=true&amount=20

Don’t miss out on other helpful tips and tools: To automatically receive an email when we post more, subscribe to our Nonprofit Blog.

Amanda Chun
Account Development Manager

5 Easy Ways to Help the Homeless

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Many of us could be steps away from homelessness. The loss of a job, sudden illness, or family death could be the route to total despair. People on the streets and in shelters across America have lost their homes and been deserted by family and friends. Here are 5 super easy ways to make a difference that you can incorporate into everyday:

  1. Develop lists of shelters. Figure out where your local shelters are and what services they offer, you can find shelters through the Homeless Shelters Directory. Print them on some cards or papers and hand them out to homeless people that want that information.
  2. Carry extras. Keep stuff in your car or a few items in your bag and hand them out to people that need them.
    • Things like hats, gloves, socks, heat packs and blankets can go a long way in the winter. (Knit some stuff for fun instead of buying it!)knitting_unsplash_small
    • Feminine hygiene products are SUPER important, and can be difficult for homeless women and girls to get a hold of.
    • Walgreens or Starbucks gift cards, so they can decide what they need.
    • Keep some food items with you, try to be aware of common food allergies when you decide what to carry. When you pass someone who asks for change, offer them something to eat.
  3. Give them money. You never know a someone’s life situation just because they are on the street. Something you can give to anyone that is useful, lightweight, and portable is MONEY. That money can be used by a number of things. For more information on why money is important check out Lily A Rayne’s response to blessing bags which features a great response from a homeless person about what they really need.
  4. Volunteer. food_line_unsplash_smallThere are so many ways you can volunteer, pick what feels best to you: Shelters, follow-up programs and soup kitchens, can almost always take more help. Find out where you can provide your professional services or your hobbies (no matter what you are good at, you can find ways help the homeless with your talents and skills).
  5. Donate to nonprofits. One of the most direct ways to aid the homeless is to give money. Donations to nonprofit organizations that serve the homeless go a long way.

No matter what, don’t judge people you see on the street, you don’t know why they are there. A little compassion and kindness goes a long way…especially in winter. Go help someone today!

An introduction to JustGive’s Donate Now button: Webinar Highlights

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Today, JustGive hosted a webinar to introduce nonprofits to our Donate Now button. With Giving Tuesday less than three weeks away we thought it was important to give nonprofits helpful information about fundraising and get as many nonprofits as possible involved in the movement. Many of the features we offer can be implemented for Giving Tuesday. The webinar demonstrated how to customize their donation page in order to raise more donations and reducing fundraising fees.

If you missed the session, you can view it anytime here: An introduction to JustGive’s Donate Now button.

Webinar highlights

Features of the Donate Now button

Our Donate Now button gives nonprofits numerous ways to highlight their cause in ways that increase donations and the option of covering the fees which reduces fundraising fees. These features include:

  • Branding and messaging
  • Custom donation amounts
  • Custom program descriptions
  • Donor paid fees

Other features enhance the donor experience inspiring them to give more and more often. These features include:

  • Mobile responsive template
  • Recurring donations
  • Friendly customer service and support
  • Tax receipt and giving history
  • Gift and memorial designations

Setting up your Donate Now button is quick and easy

  1. Register with your EIN or tax Id number
  2. Upload your logo and enter your mission statement
  3. Customize your donation amounts
  4. Add descriptions of what donations can accomplish for your programs
  5. Add program names
  6. Create a shortcut url
  7. Launch button on your site or send link through email or social media postings

Reporting

Our reporting provides you with access to donor details at any time so you can acknowledge donors and stay in touch.

Next Steps

If you missed the session, you can view it anytime here: An introduction to JustGive’s Donate Now button. Hope to see you at any future webinars.

Andrea Lloyd, Business Development Director

Featured Nonprofit FAQ: Personalized Donation Receipt

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Question

Can We Customize Our Donation Receipt?

Answer

Your donation receipt can be customized with your organization’s logo. If you uploaded a logo when you customized your donation page, that same logo will be used in your donors’ email receipts. To upload your logo and customize your donation page, visit our nonprofit resources: Edit your Donation Page

Below is an example of a donation receipt email.

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All donations made to your Organization through the Donation Site are processed and disbursed through JustGive’s DAF. If goods or services are provided, you shall provide the donor with the estimated value of goods or services provided in return for their donation.

Don’t miss out on other helpful tips and tools: To automatically receive an email when we post more, subscribe to our Nonprofit Blog.

Andrea Lloyd
Business Development Director

Are People in Your Neighborhood Going Hungry?

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43 million Americans are going hungry. Can you tell who in your neighborhood is going without food? 1 in every 8 people you pass by on the street could be missing meals.

The latest statistics on hunger from Feeding America tell us:

  • 1 in 8 Americans go hungry every day.
  • 1 in 6 children in the United States don’t have enough to eat.
  • 1 in 12 seniors in the U.S. struggle to access enough food.

Feeding America provides an interactive map of food insecurity in the United States. Check out your district to see how you compare to others. Is your neighborhood hungry? What can you to do change that? How can we make this better?

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Easy Ways to Make a Difference for Hunger

Donate Food. Find a local food bank that’s collecting food. Check their website or call and ask what food items they need, but them and deliver them to the food bank. Make sure to check their hours for accepting donations.

Start a Food Drive. Move for Hunger has great information on how to set up a food drive in your area. Check out their tops, find a great location and get your community involved.

Fundraise. Create an online fundraiser and get others involved in raising money for charities solving hunger issues. You can set one up in minutes on JustGive and post your appeal on social media to get your friends and family involved. When someone asks what’s on your holiday gift list, tell them gifts of charity for the hungry would mean the most to you.

Volunteer. Find a local food banks, soup kitchen or rescue mission serving meals and collecting food.  Find a few and call around to see who can use the help and set up a time to go. Their need is ongoing; offer to help as often as you can.

Give.  There are a lot of nonprofits doing great work to fight hunger, and your donation gives them the ability to do more. It doesn’t take much to make a big impact. We have a short list of recommended hunger charities on the JustGive site, and here are a few examples of what your gift can do:

Let’s take action today and do something for the more than 43 million Americans who don’t have enough food to eat . . . so no one goes hungry.

 

#GivingTuesday Tips for Success

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Less than 4 weeks to go until #GivingTuesday. Here’s what you need to know.

GivingTuesday, the global day of giving, is November 29th. It offers a huge opportunity to increase awareness for your cause and support for your organization while reaching out to new and current donors. There are many ways to get your staff and the community involved in your #GivingTuesday. The three areas of focus we’re highlighting are fundraising, collaboration and communication.
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Launching a #GivingTuesday campaign helps kick off your year-end fundraising campaign and creates awareness within your community. Customize your donation page and take advantage of our free Donate Now button features. Add a #GivingTuesday top graphic and message on your page, customize your donation amounts and descriptions, and include a special program designation for #GivingTuesday.

The more your donors feel connected to the #GivingTuesday theme and tie-in, the more likely they are to participate in the movement.

Join our webinar: “An introduction to JustGive’s Donate Now button” on Wednesday, November 9 at 2pm ET. We’ll show you how to customize your Donate Now button so you can raise more donations and reduce fundraising fees.

Collaborate
Rally your community and get others involved. Reach out to local businesses for support or collaborate with other local nonprofits and present a united front to the local merchants association. Offering a good word may be enough for a local business to invest in a community board announcing #GivingTuesday and give 10% of net proceeds from sales on the day or offer a matching gift.

Set a goal and ask a board member or corporate sponsor to match donations for the day. You can use this to incentivize new or larger donations during your campaign.

Communicate
Social media is the key to making sure your message is received and shared to new audiences. Build momentum with your supporters in advance and communicate a consistent message across several channels, including email. Starting with your email list, get the word out about #GivingTuesday and don’t forget to encourage your #GivingTuesdayaudience to share.

Make your posts compelling and share-worthy. Give donors a clear message and encourage them to tweet, post, snap and share.

For more tips and tools, #GivingTuesday offers free toolkits, sample messages, promos, and more.

Don’t miss out on other helpful tips and tools: To automatically receive an email when we post more, subscribe to our Nonprofit Blog.

Andrea Lloyd
Business Development Director