AmeriCorps VISTA member, April Comperda, worked alongside Denton County Friends of the Family (DCFOF) Marketing and Development team to prepare for Taste for a Cause, DCFOF’s largest fundraising event of the year. April assisted with garnering in-kind donations for the silent auction. These donations had a total value of $14,000 and contributed to DCFOF raising over $75,000. In addition, April helped her agency raise $11,000 through North Texas Giving Day, an annual online fundraising event. April spread the word about the event through social media and attended a tabling event held on the Square in Denton. These funds will allow DCFOF to serve more clients by providing lifesaving services and programs to victims of sexual and domestic violence across Denton County. It’s the dollars that make the difference as $1,500 provides one week of emergency shelter for a mother and her two children and $1,000 provides one month of groceries for the entire shelter. Since January, DCFOF has been able to serve 1,302 new clients and because of events like Taste for a Cause and North Texas Giving Day, DCFOF is able to increase their capacity to help more and more.
April Comperda serves as the Community Marketing VISTA with Denton County Friends of the Family (DCFOF). In July, she worked towards promoting DCFOF’s campaigns and upcoming events. The Back to School Drive was featured on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and the bimonthly newsletters. April shared the link to their Amazon Wishlist in order to create an easily accessible form of contribution. DCFOF collected 300 backpacks filled with school supplies and recruited 20 volunteers who served 72 hours to help fill them. Promoting DCFOF through social media makes a substantial impact on community responsiveness. Incorporating current social media trends, such as the Boomerang App with four second videos, is something April will be working to improve in order to increase followers, donors and volunteers.
Denton County Friends of the Family (DCFOF) is committed to providing compassionate, comprehensive services to those impacted by rape, sexual abuse, and domestic violence while partnering with the community to promote safety, healing, and prevention. AmeriCorps VISTA, April Comperda, began the process of automating DCFOF’s bi-weekly newsletters and weekly board member newsletters to ensure that donor communication remains effective and sustainable. Automation provides non-profits, like DCFOF, with an innovative platform for functional, instantaneous donor behavior tracking. After sending the email newsletters out, April was able to determine how many people opened them and which parts received the most attention/clicks. Studying the feedback responses, April had the capacity to formulate segmented marketing personas based on similar behavioral trends. One persona that April identified was Millennials and the continuous upward trend of social activism. As a Millennial herself, April recognizes that her generation makes decisions based on personal values and actually will engage in the causes they care about. Even though, at the start of their career, Millennials don’t necessarily have the means to contribute financially, their giving capacity grows as their careers progress. Using their voices to speak out, volunteering, and participating in peer-to-peer fundraising are just some initial stepping stones leading to the future of committed donors. In the upcoming months, April plans to strengthen DCFOF’s donor communication methods and maximize the agency’s full potential with automation.
In May, April Comperda began service with Denton County Friends of the Family (DCFOF) as their Community Marketing Liaison VISTA. April will build capacity through increased awareness of DCFOF’s brand and services, create a sustainable form of communication with donors and volunteers, improve social media marketing and donor acquisition/ retention. The goal of the project is to create a sustainable donor relations plan, with the intention of increasing donor retention, donor acquisition, and dollars raised through fundraising efforts. The majority of April’s first month was learning the various ins and outs of the entire organization and her own role at DCFOF. She attended the four day New Worker’s Institute training for all new interns and employees and began to work with her team to promote their latest campaign, Faith for Freedom. The goal of the campaign is to build a relationship of trust with faith communities in order to connect clients with congregations of their faith, while simultaneously raising awareness of domestic violence and resources that are available. The campaign will kick off with a social event on June 22, 2017 at the outreach office to raise momentum and strength for the campaign.
VISTA member Nicole Owens completed her year of service in April at Denton County Friends of the Family, an agency dedicated to providing compassionate, comprehensive services to those impacted by rape, sexual abuse, and domestic violence, while partnering with the community to promote safety, healing, and prevention. To raise awareness for Sexual Assault Awareness Month, Nicole created educational social media content to share on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Sexual Assault Awareness posts on Facebook had about 15,000 views and almost 400 reactions, comments and shares. Twitter had over 7,000 views and about 170 engagements (clicks, likes, and re-tweets). The hope is that these facts about sexual assault will raise awareness and combat some common misconceptions people may have heard about sexual assault. Awareness is the first step in prevention and creating a community where fewer people experience sexual assault and those that do feel safe and secure in coming forward and getting help. Nicole will continue to serve the clients at DCFOF as she was hired as the Community Education Coordinator. Her primary duties will be to schedule and lead presentations at schools, assist with planning for awareness months, schedule and lead trainings in the community, and to train and supervise interns and volunteers for Speakers Bureau.
AmeriCorps VISTA, Nicole Owens, is in the process of completing the Denton County Friends of the Family’s community education project. Nicole has welcomed two new Speakers Bureau members who completed their training in the month of March. They are now able to shadow tabling events and presentations to learn more about representing Denton County Friends of the Family (DCFOF). Developed by VISTA Members, the rigorous Speakers Bureau training covers a variety of topics to insure members have an adequate understanding of intimate partner violence, sexual assault, and the dynamics that contribute to both. Once they’ve observed several presentations, members will assist with presentations, alleviating some of the heavy workload of the DCFOF community education team.
January is Stalking Awareness Month, and VISTA Nicole Owens helped to spread awareness of this often overlooked but very serious issue in coordination with her service site, Denton County Friends of the Family. Stalking awareness content and resources were posted to social media, reaching nearly 8,000 people on Facebook. Nicole brought attention to frightening new technology stalkers use to track and harass their victims. Knowledge of stalking and stalkers helps to create awareness in the community about the seriousness of the issue and provides important information to the community about unsafe technology.
During the month of August, Nicole Owens, the Community Education VISTA serving with Denton County Friends of the Family (DCFOF) spoke with over 490 people at resource fairs in the Denton area. Informational brochures were provided to parents, students and educators. Pens with DCFOF’s crisis line were handed out at the resource fairs. Nicole explained the power and control wheel to students at the University of North Texas and told parents at various school resource fairs about the community education programs that their children could benefit from.
The incoming freshmen class at the University of North Texas (UNT) is no longer in the dark about sexual assault and domestic violence after AmeriCorps VISTA, Nicole Owens, at Denton County Friends of the Family, set up an interactive table at the Dean of Students After Dark event during freshmen orientation. There have been five After Dark events in June- one for each freshmen orientation- and there will be two more events in July. The entire incoming freshmen class will have the opportunity to learn about Denton County Friends of the Family and even test their knowledge with a short true/false quiz created by Nicole. Classes may not start for a few more weeks, but the incoming freshmen have shown their skills by excelling at the sexual assault and domestic violence centered quizzes. More than 40 incoming freshmen have expressed interest in volunteering and hundreds have stopped by to ask questions and learn more about Friends of the Family.
Rebecca Dake is serving at Interfaith Ministries of Denton, Inc. as the Community Outreach VISTA. She will be assessing existing events and programs to design and implement improvements and increasing awareness of services and events through the development of new marketing and media material.
Nicole Owens is serving at Denton County Friends of the Family as the Community Education VISTA. She will assist with marketing of the Community Education department’s activities and presentations offered through the development of partnerships with civic groups and businesses, social media campaigns and the continued development of Speaker’s Bureau.
Adam Jones is serving at Woman to Woman Pregnancy Resource Center as the New Volunteer Training VISTA. Adam will be improving current volunteer systems and procedures thus increasing retention of volunteers, developing a curriculum to thoroughly orient and train new volunteers and refining volunteer education and training in order to move volunteers from program participation to ownership.
Sarah Crain is serving at Woman to Woman Pregnancy Resource Center as the Logistics VISTA. Sarah will improve current operations at the agency’s resale store so that volunteers can ensure efficient transition of donated items received to the sales floor. She will be creating strategies for effective organizational policies and procedures to efficiently sort donations, creating a warehouse training curriculum, and developing an environmental stability plan for unsellable items.