New VISTA Service Opportunity with Christian Community Action

CCA Logo_LargeFor more than 40 years, Christian Community Action (CCA) has been healing, feeding, and educating families in need throughout Collin, Dallas, Denton, Tarrant and Wise counties in North Texas. Headquartered in Lewisville, TX, CCA is one of the largest private nonprofits in North Texas, providing more than 10,000 individual services each year. Through careful case management, CCA’s holistic approach from rescue to transition helps families in need achieve self- sufficiency by offering a “hand-up” instead of a hand-out. Available programs include: the Food Pantry, Spiritual Care and Counseling, Vocational/Education Services, Case Management Services and Seasonal Programs. The Grant Writing and Social Media Marketing VISTA at CCA will build the agency’s capacity through grant research and development of new funding relationships as well as developing a social media campaign to increase donor engagement and community awareness. The VISTA will write a minimum of 10 grants proposals with a potential outcome of $250,000. As a Christian Community Action Grant Writing and Social Media Marketing VISTA you will be part of a cohort coordinated by the AmeriCorps VISTA North Texas project at Chisholm Trail RSVP, Inc. To learn more about Christian Community Action, visit http://www.ccahelps.org.

The Grant Writing and Social Media Marketing VISTA at Christian Community Action will build the agency’s capacity through grant research and development of new funding relationships and development of a social media campaign to increase donor engagement and community awareness. The VISTA will identify new funding opportunities and write a minimum of 10 grant proposals for a potential outcome of $250,000 to foundations and other grant-making organizations that persuasively communicate Christian Community Action’s mission and programs. The VISTA will create and implement a social media campaign strategy designed to increase donor engagement online as well as client and donor awareness of the mission and services, resulting in an increase of online donations by 20% and new Facebook likes by 20 a month. Applicants should possess excellent verbal and written communication skills, proficiency in research and basic grant writing knowledge and be familiar with social media platforms.

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Maegan Shafer Enhances Denton Christian Preschool’s Presence on Social Media

Maegan ShaferDenton Christian Preschool opened its doors during the month of August to welcome new 3 and 4 year olds. As the weeks progressed the children transitioned from anxious into excited and motivated learners. Since the 1970’s the organization has served thousands of at-risk children in the Denton area. AmeriCorps VISTA, Maegan Shafer, contributed to their continued success by making their online presence more viable by increasing their social media activity and updating their website. In addition to updating the information Maegan created several graphics that would advertise the Denton Christian Preschools services to be shared across all media platforms. With over 500 viewers reached we hope to increase our revenue and strategize to increase funding.

April Comperda Uses Social Media to Collect School Supplies

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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.

Hannah McNeill’s Social Media Skills Lead to Fundraising Success at Woman to Woman Pregnancy Resource Center

Hannah 1VISTA Hannah McNeill, serving in Volunteer Recruitment and Development at Woman to Woman Pregnancy Resource Center in Denton, TX, spent her month utilizing social media to market her agency’s Annual Ladies Purse Auction and Brunch. Hannah created a social media schedule posting once a week with a reminder and encouragement to register paired with the Purse Auction graphic to Woman to Woman and Twice As Nice Resale (TANR) Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. The week of the event, Hannah used TANR’s and Woman to Woman’s already implemented daily posts to advertise for the event. W2W’s #FactualFriday post let everyone know that the purse auction was coming up and TANR’s #TuesdayTreasures was of a purse that was currently for sale in the store with information that there would be more at the Ladies Purse Auction. The day of the event, Hannah was in charge of social media and co-coordinating the Twice as Nice Resale style show. Hannah communicated thoroughly with the style show volunteer models as to where they would go and what they would need to expect that morning. Hannah documented the event with pictures and videos of auctioned purses, brunch, the guest speaker, and the TANR Style Show. Hannah’s efforts on social media garnered 273 likes across all social media platforms combined. This year’s event’s monetary donations are still coming in, but so far the 193 guests in attendance gifted Woman to Woman with over $15,835, the highest amount received from the Annual Purse Auction ever! Hannah’s efforts will assist in the ultimate goal to further build the TANR and Woman to Woman social media and customer/client base thus increasing the number of low-income women who will receive free health care services.

Hannah McNeill’s Social Media Work Increases Interest in Woman to Woman Pregnancy Resource Center

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VISTA Hannah McNeill has been utilizing social media to potentially recruit volunteers and provide further resources for Woman to Woman Pregnancy Resource Center in Denton, TX. Throughout the past 9 months of her VISTA term, she has been posting daily to all Woman to Woman and Twice as Nice Resale social media platforms. The amount of people reached through the organization’s social media has skyrocketed substantially. This is easily seen from the Twice as Nice Facebook reach for August and September 2015 combined was 1,717 people. In March of 2017 alone, their Facebook page reached 12,167 people! As Hannah seeks to maximize the organization’s social media following, she also desires to provide Woman to Woman with viable ways to keep track of the social media success. One of the ways Hannah is doing this is by logging the social media statistics each month. With hopes to continue the growth in reach, Hannah organized a social media loop giveaway, collaborating with 5 local businesses. She facilitated each business donating their giveaway items as well as wrote a document with thorough wording and scheduling for the giveaway. This document was then given to each business with instructions to tag the other businesses in the post. Hannah’s hope in this giveaway is for strong relationships to be built with Woman to Woman and local businesses and for growth to be seen in followers for each business. These social media efforts are vital for Woman to Woman and Twice as Nice Resale to recruit volunteers and gain new resources. Her efforts paid off by recruiting 10 new volunteers to serve at the Twice as Nice Resale!

VISTA Hannah McNeill in Pursuit of #1 Spot for Woman to Woman PRC

img_1137This February, VISTA Hannah McNeill serving with Woman to Woman PRC, co-facilitated a Best of Denton campaign for Twice as Nice Resale. Best of Denton is Denton’s annual community acknowledgement of their town’s outstanding restaurants, coffee shops, stores, etc. Hannah assisted in composing graphics to use for advertising on social media and providing Twice as Nice with quality content to market their resale store for the event. Hannah’s hope is that through promoting Twice as Nice Resale in Best of Denton, the store will experience an improved presence in the community. Higher revenue, increased customers, and new volunteers will contribute to the Woman to Woman clinic in supporting women, children, and families in the Denton community. Throughout the month, businesses have been in a frenzy in the pursuit of the #1 spot. Now, the dust has settled. The ballots have been cast. Stay tuned to hear what’s next for Twice as Nice Resale.

VISTA Rebecca Dake Marketing Real Client Stories

Rebecca Dake-preferred photoOver the past year serving at a financial assistance nonprofit, AmeriCorps VISTA Rebecca Dake has taken the lead getting client stories out to the public. From a quick social media post about a family receiving help with their utilities to larger campaigns, including a video featuring multiple clients, she has relayed to her community the desperate needs of those living on the financial edge. In February, Rebecca focused on making her work easily replicable for staff. She created a graphic for the agency’s counselor Melody, featuring the counselor’s image blurred out with the title A Message from Melody.  Rebecca trained Melody in the use of a free graphic design program so she can easily add text to the graphic, enabling her to state something moving about a client’s story. This will ensure the agency has a steady stream of quality content for social media channels when the VISTA’s term of service ends.

VISTA Member’s Twitter Activity Spurs In-Kind Donations

Rebecca Dake-preferred photoDecember was a merry month for Community Outreach VISTA Rebecca Dake of Interfaith Ministries of Denton. Rebecca spent the month soliciting donations for a care package collection called Santa Loves Seniors that served 120 low to middle income senior citizens. She spread the word through email marketing, social media and newspaper contacts. Rebecca showed how powerful social channels are for community outreach through tweets she had with a local resident on Twitter in early December. The resident tweeted the agency asking what donations were still needed, and Rebecca responded that the agency was looking for more, new blankets. Showing great holiday spirit, the citizen committed to bring 15 new blankets (resulting in a $75 in-kind donation). Rebecca’s agency was previously inactive on Twitter, and those series of communications proved just how valuable the social media tool can be

VISTA Member Expands Interfaith Ministries’ Santa Loves Seniors Program

Rebecca Dake-preferred photo 1For VISTA Rebecca Dake, a large part of November was spent on expanding and enhancing Interfaith Ministries of Denton’s Santa Loves Seniors holiday care package collection, which served 50 residents last year. Earlier in the year Rebecca created a partnership with the Denton Housing Authority’s Heritage Oaks Apartments, a low to moderate income senior housing complex. Rebecca planned, with Heritage Oaks Assistant Manager Shawna Walker, the care package distribution, for up to 120 seniors, in conjunction with a holiday meal for late December. Rebecca helped identify potential in-kind donors and wrote a successful grant to ALDI for $200 that will be used to purchase cans of soup for each senior. In order to promote community involvement in the project, Rebecca created a Santa Loves Seniors Web page and Facebook event and notified the city’s newspaper, the Denton Record Chronicle, which ran the event as a news brief. Additionally, Rebecca created and scheduled emails in Constant Contact along with Facebook and Twitter posts throughout the month encouraging the community to help collect items and volunteer for the distribution. Check back in late December or early January to see how the project went.

VISTA Increases Awareness about Domestic Violence

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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.