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DomesticShelters.org makes giving easier in support of domestic violence shelters

Using Amazon Business, the nonprofit organization has automated its donation delivery process to meet the needs of hundreds of shelters in the US.

 

Theresa’s Fund is an Arizona-based 501(c)(3) non-profit charity started in 1992. The organization focuses on transforming domestic violence services in its home state through grant making, board development, and fundraising for Arizona-based organizations like East Valley Child Crisis Center, Sojourner Center, Florence Crittenden, Emerge, UMOM, and West Valley Child Crisis Center. The organization has changed the shelter landscape in Arizona—offering consulting and fundraising support to expand the capacity of area shelters, renovating aging facilities, and assisting in mergers and consolidations to support underfunded shelters.

 

Making an impact with digital solutions


In 2014, the organization launched DomesticShelters.org as a way to increase awareness of the services available to those experiencing domestic violence, and make it easier and faster for shelters to find services and information best suited to their location, language, and needs.


There are five times more searches online for domestic violence programs than hotline calls, and 75% of domestic abuse victims conduct a search online when making these decisions. Each year, there are 36 million searches for “domestic violence” in the US—however, not all shelters had websites, there was insufficient data, and it was confusing to understand how to find help when time is of the essence.1


Service providers—and the people searching for them—needed a consolidated searchable database of all known domestic violence programs in the US and Canada. DomesticShelters.org was created for this purpose—it is the first online and mobile-optimized searchable database of over 2,800 shelters. Additionally, the website contains over 800 articles, a curated library of over 100 recommended books in 16 categories, and other resources for victims and professionals. The site helps over three million visitors each year, and is growing +25% annually.


“Domestic violence shelters are notoriously small budget operations, and they don’t often have people on staff that are focused on digital solutions, such as search engine optimization,” said Chris McMurry, Co-Founder of Theresa’s Fund. “Our goal was to create a central place where people could understand domestic violence, read about it, and find the right resources quickly, to provide as much help as we could to as many people as possible.”


To communicate needs to potential donors, shelters often maintain and publish wish lists of supplies that change regularly. With more than 2,400 shelter wish lists scattered around the US, often using text-based lists and downloadable documents, there was an opportunity to create a modern solution for domestic abuse resources.


In 2016, DomesticShelters.org created a Wish List platform, which allows independent shelters to create shopping lists of items needed to support operations on its website. To enable this functionality, the DomesticShelters.org Wish Lists program integrated with Amazon Business to access its selection, and through its Business Prime-enabled account, deliver eligible items with fast, free shipping directly to shelters.


What used to be a time consuming process searching for a shelter’s wish list, visiting stores to find items, contacting shelters to arrange donations—and delivering—can now be set up in as little as five minutes, allowing donors to get supplies to shelters quickly, and without incurring shipping costs.

 

“Our wish list has provided a steady flow of much-needed items even during the most difficult times in the pandemic, said Cheryl Hurd, at the Sojourner Center in Phoenix, Arizona. “DomesticShelters.org has helped us make new connections in the community while providing a safe space for donors to support the work we do.”   


In the five years since launch, 453 shelters in all 50 states have turned to DomesticShelters.org Wish Lists powered by Amazon Business to automate the donation delivery of supplies. Additionally, through the integration, it is easier to update new needs, specify products, and coordinate deliveries. Above all, it makes it easier to generate donations, even from donors outside of the proximity to the shelter, to keep them running smoothly.


“Prior to creating our wish list platform through Amazon Business, the donation process for both donors and domestic violence programs was so time consuming that it deterred a great deal of giving,” said Ashley Rumschlag, VP of Digital Services at DomesticShelters.org.

“Now we’ve made the giving process easy. Donors just visit DomesticShelters.org and with a few clicks, they can select a local shelter, buy the items needed, and have the items shipped directly to the shelter. As a result, 5,789 items worth over $165,000 have been generously donated to domestic violence programs across the United States. Our partnership with Amazon Business’ innovative technology is truly making a difference in the lives of victims and survivors of domestic violence.”

"Our partnership with Amazon Business’ innovative technology is truly making a difference in the lives of victims and survivors of domestic violence.”

— Ashley Rumschlag, VP of Digital Services, DomesticShelters.org

1There are 7 million hotline calls annually according to National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) and National Domestic Violence Hotline (NDVH), and 36 million searches for domestic violence terms annually in the US, according to Google.

 

 

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Published On : 14 April 2021