DomesticShelters.org has extended its track record of employing technology to help domestic violence survivors and the programs that serve them with the roll out today of a new fundraising platform that makes it easier than ever to create, manage, and publish wish lists, and for donors, makes giving as simple as any online shopping experience.
"A wish list is a list of items that a program or shelter needs in order to help victims and survivors. For years, most programs have presented their wish list as text on their website. This makes the lists difficult for program operators to update on the fly, and there is no way for a donor to quickly and easily act," explains Anita Hildreth, executive director of Theresa's Fund, the 501(c)3 that operates DomesticShelters.org. Watch video.
"This outdated model retards wish list giving, and our innovative Wish List Program platform fixes all of that and amplifies giving." The net result of this is programs and shelters operating with increased resources to help victims and survivors escape abuse and thrive in their recovery.
Programs can now log into DomesticShelters.org and create a wish list from a catalog of over 2,000 products commonly used by shelters. This includes products in categories such as baby, beauty and personal care, bedroom, cleaning, clothing, electronics, food, beverage, kitchen, medicine, pets, furniture, maintenance, toys and office. On the odd chance the catalog doesn't contain a desired item, programs simply request that DomesticShelters.org add that new item.
"By specifying the exact products a program needs, and the related quantities, programs using our platform are assured of receiving only what they need," says Brittni Pagan, the program champion for the project at DomesticShelters.org. "Program operators will tell you their current textual wish lists don't offer this level of specificity. More often than not, this results in well-intended people donating items that are unneeded."
As donors purchase items off a wish list, quantities are proportionately reduced through the system's inventory management tools. When an item reaches zero quantity, it no longer appears publicly on a program's wish list, ensuring that donations don't go to waste. Also, any time an item reaches zero quantity, the program is alerted, in the event the item is still in needed and they desire to increase the quantity again.
A number of domestic violence programs are already using the service. "Within the first week we received over $700 worth of donated items. Quite a wonderful surprise," says Jeanette Ashton, executive director of Mt. Graham Safe House in Arizona. Sandy Nadeau, Director of Development at Anne Marie's Alliance in Minnesota adds, "The Wish List Program was much easier to set up and use compared to what we've done in the past! It allowed us to offer all of the items we need."
But, it's not just about making wish list management easier. The new Wish List Program also makes giving easier. Just like any e-commerce experience, donors simply select the items they want to purchase and send to a program, enter their credit card information, and if they like, add a personal message to the program. Click "SUBMIT ORDER" and within seconds the items are being processed for shipping to the program.
"In this day-and-age, people expect any business, whether a charity or not, to make their involvement quick, easy and mobile friendly. Our Wish List Program makes that possible for programs and their wish lists," says Hildreth. "Prior to this roll out, a donor would have to visit a program's website or call them, find out what's needed, go to the store to buy the items, call the program again to coordinate a drop off time, and drive all over town. Now they can do good in seconds, instead of hours, and it removes the operational, and potentially dangerous, burden of shelters coordinating drop offs since our service automatically delivers the items to the program's preferred shipping address."
About Theresa’s Fund
Theresa’s Fund is an Arizona-based 501(c)3 non-profit charity started in 1992 by Preston V. McMurry, Jr. At a time when domestic violence wasn’t yet a headline, Theresa’s Fund focused on changing the landscape of 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. In 2014, it developed the DomesticShelters.org concept as a way to expand its reach to people across the U.S. and Canada. DomesticShelters.org is the first online and mobile searchable database of programs and shelters in the U.S./Canada, and a leading source of helpful tools and information for people experiencing and working to end domestic violence.