UHelp | Crowdfunding on #GivingTuesday2017 Builds Holiday Cheer for Forgotten Children

Home for the holidays can take on a somber meaning for girls in theVillage’s residential treatment programs.

The nonprofit, organized to build healthier families and prevent child neglect and abuse, does its best to ease the loneliness and abandonment felt by the girls in-residence who either can’t go home or just don’t have a place to return to at all. But, too often, inadequate funds can get in the way of the best intentions of any charitable organization.

Jory Barrad, Vice President of Development and Marketing at theVillage, learned of UHelp while scrolling through mental health funding resources on Grantwatch.com. Barrad's staff jumped at the opportunity to take advantage of the free crowdfunding platform to solicit support on #GivingTuesday for holiday trips and activities that will make the girls feel special this time of year.

“Blanket statements asking people to give to a charity don’t usually work very well.  People respond when they know where their money is going,” said Elizabeth Marafino Fiola, senior development coordinator at theVillage, in Bryn Mawr, Pa. “This year was our most successful #GivingTuesday campaign because we tailored our message to raise funds specific for trips and activities during the holidays.”

Since launching an appeal on UHelp, “Christmas at theVillage” has received more than $1,1000 in paid donations and with verbal pledges, is on its way to achieving its goal of $2,500. Fiola said the donations will help to sponsor trips for the girls, ages 12-18, to the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, or places to ice skate or to see a live show, such as Panto at People’s Light, Disney on Ice, Stomp, and the Nutcracker.

“These normalizing activities are a great opportunity to boost self-esteem and make the holidays brighter for the girls in our care,” she said.

Crowdfunding is all about engaging potential donors and building momentum within “the crowd,” said Libby Hikind, CEO and founder of UHelp and Grantwatch.   

With limited human resources at their disposal, Fiola said past #GivingTuesday campaigns were somewhat overwhelming and produced less. UHelp, she said, simplified the process. Her task was much easier, using the UHelp platform, to draw attention to the crowdfunding page by emailing theVillage’s database, posting on Facebook and Twitter, and monitoring donations recorded to the tote board on the UHelp crowdunding page.

The mission of theVillage is to promote the healing of the spirits of children, families and communities broken by trauma including violence, neglect, addiction, poverty, mental illness, racism and other serious societal problems. 

theVillage provides a spectrum of child welfare and residential programs, as well as mental health and prevention services that help children impacted by trauma from abuse, neglect and mental health issues.

theVillage works with families to resolve the issues that lead to intervention and work toward a better future. Programs emphasize evidence-based methods and a caring environment that reflects our commitment to the Sanctuary Model of Trauma Informed Care. Programs include: Residential Programs; Outpatient Behavioral; Health; Foster & Kinship Care; Adoption; After School/Out of School Time; and In-Home Services.

About the Author: Staff Writer for Uhelp.

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