am in search of help! I want
to open my own domestic violence
shelter and I am in need of
some serious do's and don'ts
from anyone who has opened their
own shelter or who is in the
process. I have worked in a
shelter before and will be starting
at a new shelter soon. I would
greatly appreciate any help
you could offer about grants,
start-up costs, overhead, etc..
THANKS, in advance! -Nida
for your note to feminist.com--and
what a great project you are
undertaking. I have actually
never opened a shelter either,
so I am certainly not the most
appropriate person, but I did
helped to found an organization,
so I know many of the steps
neccessary for such an undertaking.
The first is to make sure that
you aren't duplicating someone
else's work. For instance, is
there already a shelter in your
area. If yes, maybe you should
partner with them to open another
location or something. I encourage
this, but there is alot of paper
work involved with starting
your own organization. For instance,
the next step will be inquiring
about obtaining non-profit status.
Perhaps you can find a sympthetic
attorney to help you with this.
Also, you can try the Support
Center, which is a New York
City based organization, which
helps provide this type of support/information.
This is very important to obtain,
because this is what will help
you raise money for you work.
People are much more likely
to give--not to mention that
you have access to foundation
dollars--once they know they
can get a tax write-off.
once this is secure the next
step is raising money. I prefer
raising money from individuals--I
think that it's easier to ask
individuals or host an event
than it is to wait and pray
that a foundation sees the value
of your work. However, there
is now more foundation money
available for domestic violence.
To research this, please try
Center --they have information
on various foundations and you
can search by issue.
people are going to want to
give you money only after they
know what you are doing--even
if you aren't actually doing
it yet, you need a plan of action.
For instance--how many clients
do you want to serve? how much
on average does it cost to serve
one client? Do a budget--what
are your expenses: staff/counselors,
rent, supplies, phone/fax, etc....
also where are the women housed?
And do you house women and children
or do you only help them? As
you can see there is so much
to think about.
not sure where you are in your planning, but as you said in your note, it might be best
to contact someone who has gone
through these exact same steps.
You can look through our directory
Services or you can get
this information from the shelter
you use to work at. There are
also national organizations,
such as the
Family Violence Prevention Fund
Coalition Against Domestic Violence,
which is an umbrella group for
Wow, that should be a start.
Good luck--and your work will
certainly improve the lives