According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, one in every four American women will experience domestic violence some time in their lives. Women and children who are displaced to domestic violence shelters across the country often need assistance as they rebuild their lives. Raising funds to assist these women is a challenge, but can be accomplished with some out-of-the-box thinking.
Develop a Fundraising Committee
First develop a fundraising committee. Spend time learning each individual's skills in research, organization, people skills, communication, accounting, evaluation and marketing. Assign tasks according to each person's strengths.
It is important and empowering for women who have experienced violence to play an integral part in raising funds to assist battered women. Be sure that your committee is driven by women who have shared the experience of domestic violence. These individuals will bring a passion to your fundraising endeavors that will help your group be a success.
Federal granting institutions such as the Office for Victims of Crime have funding available to assist women and children who have experienced domestic or sexual violence. Grant seeking can be a challenging and technical process. Your group must be associated with a nonprofit entity to apply for most grants. If you do not have grant-writing experience, seek out a professional to assist you.
Creative Fund Raising
Operating a thrift store is a good, ongoing way to raise money for battered women. Some domestic violence shelters operate thrift stores as a multipurpose means to assist their clients: donations of clothing, furniture and household goods can be disseminated to women and their children who are relocating; the resale operation is a great place for clients or former clients to volunteer to learn job skills; and funds generated through the sale of items can be used to assist families. Partnering with a church is a great way to get a thrift store operating quickly. Many religious women's aid societies are looking for projects in the community they can help with.
Events take significant planning and volunteer commitment, but often can yield larger sums of money than common fundraisers such as bake sales. Research fundraising in your community so you are not hosting a repeat event. You want your event to be exclusive to maximize attendance. Find a mentor to assist you, someone in the community who has a reputation for successfully facilitating events. Some ideas for events could include fashion, art or jewelry shows, concerts, black-tie dinners, bed races, or carnivals.
Several organizations have participated in the Clothesline Project, which began in Massachusetts in 1990 to address the issue of domestic violence. The project involves women creating hand-painted T-shirts that are displayed in October, slated as Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Many programs have contests to design a T-shirt logo, and the winning logo is reproduced. Proceeds from the sale of these shirts are used to benefit battered women.
Women's writing groups have successfully produced books of prose, poetry, art and photography dedicated to the issues of domestic violence and sexual assault. Books can be sold at local book stores, gift shops, resale shops, fairs, carnivals and events.
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- Fundraising For Social Change; Kim Klein; 2006
- Fundraising For Dummies; John Mutz and Katherine Murray; 2005
Robin Devereaux has been writing professionally for more than 25 years. She has written for "The Sowell Review, "Health and Healing Magazine" and has been a contributor to several local Eastern Michigan publications. Robin is a graduate of the Central Michigan University Arts Program.