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.
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.
The VISTA North Texas project has 3 new service opportunities that will begin on August 14th. Applications will be accepted through June 30th.
Denton Christian Preschool Marketing and Fundraising VISTA Denton Christian Preschool (DCP), located in Denton, TX, provides early education for at-risk children in the community. The Marketing and Fundraising VISTA will increase community awareness and enhance fundraising activities to help provide early education for at-risk children in Denton, TX. Major functions will include developing a marketing plan to increase Denton Christian Preschool’s presence in the community to include the development of print materials, social media content and participation in community event. The VISTA will enhance fundraising activities and write grants to raise an additional $100,000 for the education and care of at-risk children.
DCFOF Community Marketing Liaison VISTA Denton County Friends of the Family (DCFOF) located in Corinth, TX 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. The Community Marketing Liaison VISTA will help stop financial abuse and help victims break the cycle of poverty by creating a sustainable system to increase support and strengthen donor relationships. Major functions will include developing and implementing a donor management system to include communication through print and social media to keep supporters informed and creating a time-effective donor acknowledgement process. The VISTA will create new, general marketing materials for agency use, assist in the planning, marketing and execution of fundraisers and create a planning manual for all agency fundraisers.
Woman to Woman Pregnancy Resource Center Volunteer Recruitment and Development VISTA Woman to Woman Pregnancy Resource Center located in Denton, TX, empowers individuals to make wise life choices financially, sexually, and relationally through 3 programs that work together to provide assistance to women in unintended pregnancies and bring families out of poverty. The Volunteer Recruitment and Development VISTA at Woman to Woman Pregnancy Resource Center will enhance the volunteer program to develop volunteer leaders. Major functions will include expanding and enhancing the volunteer program through implementation of new policy and procedure manual and continued development of a volunteer training manual, developing a volunteer management system to track volunteer activities and hours of service and developing areas to cultivate relationships with volunteers and move 12 of them to leadership positions within the organization to ensure retention and growth of the agency’s programs.
This month, Denton County Friends of the Family Speakers Bureau grew when two new members joined the group. VISTA Nicole Owens provided the first part of their training in which they learned the basics of intimate partner violence and sexual assault. It also got easier for volunteers to get involved with the creation of a shared speaker’s bureau calendar. Volunteers will easily be able to see when they can help and participate in presentations. One volunteer started presenting individually when Nicole became unexpectedly ill shortly before a presentation. With no other staff members available on such short notice, the speaker’s bureau volunteer was able to step up and represent Denton County Friends of the Family. VISTA Nicole’s training perfectly prepared this volunteer for any circumstance!
Community Education VISTA, Nicole Owens, is working with Denton County Friends of the Family to improve their social media presence and educate the community about domestic violence and sexual assault. Their coordinated efforts resulted in a Facebook reach of over 30,000 people and nearly 7,000 post engagements. Nicole also worked to prepare a social media campaign for National Stalking Awareness Month in January. She hopes to include various forms of media in the campaign to keep supporters engaged.
VISTA member, Nicole Owens and the Denton County Friends of the Family Community Education team worked together to revamp and organize their presentation for Denton High School’s freshman class. Nicole and the team added several activities and vital information to help the freshmen understand the dynamics of abuse and sexual assault. Each group of freshmen will be presented with three 90 minute classes on topics such as boundaries, abuse, and healthy relationships. Nicole and the team have already started the presentations for over 400 students at Denton High School and the presentations will continue into December.
October was Domestic Violence Awareness Month and to spread awareness, VISTA member Nicole Owens planned and coordinated two of Denton County Friends of the Family’s awareness events, as well as the Silent Witness Display and social media for the month of October. Nicole kicked off the month with The Clothesline Project at the Denton Square. Community members were invited to decorate a shirt to honor and show support for victims of intimate partner violence. Over 50 shirts were created and many more people stopped by the display to view the shirts and get more information. The following weekend, Rock N Stroll took place at Harvest House, featuring bands Remain and Puddin’ Taine. Hundreds of Harvest House customers had the opportunity to learn more about intimate partner violence while listening to great bands and viewing a display of Silent Witnesses, wooden silhouettes of women that represent victims of intimate partner violence. Silent Witnesses were also displayed at local Denton businesses for the month of October. Fifteen different businesses participated, as well as the University of North Texas and North Central Texas College in Corinth. Social media focused on domestic violence reached over 45,000 people on Facebook and over 10,000 people on Twitter. It’s unknown just how many people were able to participate in the different events or view the displays, but it’s clear that the goal of spreading awareness was definitely achieved.