A Time for Thanks & Giving
This holiday season I find myself wanting to give thanks for our supporters and also considering the amazing giving season that’s ahead of us. As Please Live’s founder and executive director, I sometimes feel guilty asking for donations at this time of year. We’re one of many charities worthy of your time and consideration, so how can I expect anyone to choose our cause over so many others?
Well, the real answer is that we’re providing actual, measurable life-change for struggling teens.
Earlier this year during National Suicide Prevention Week, we shared the stories of our Board of Directors and why they volunteer with Please Live. We saw a big spike in donations at the same time as well! No “selling” or “marketing” required, just real, down-to-earth truth about why they care.
This is where the giving spirit lies: We give because we genuinely care about others.
Knowing this truth makes it easier for me to lead a donation campaign, even though asking people for money is still pretty hard for me.
Here’s the straight-to-the-point truths:
- Nonprofits need money to operate – everything down to the pens and paper we write with cost money. All of these things impact our ability to positively change lives, even if it’s indirectly.
- Our school programming and networking with other mental wellness nonprofits is saving lives.
- The lifeblood of a nonprofit is the individual, consistent donor that provides us the opportunity to be good stewards of our donations and make the biggest possible impact with what we have.
This is why doing a donation campaign is so necessary.
So what are we doing to minimize our costs to make sure that most of your donation is going directly where it’s needed?
- No building, no office, no rent, no bills. We operate completely online so that we don’t have to worry about keeping the lights on or paying for corporate internet packages.
- Mostly volunteers. We only pay contractual staff and vendors to provide our services. We’re mostly run by an amazingly dedicated team of volunteers. No big salaries, bonuses, or benefit packages for us.
So this is all well and good, but how do you know that what we do is actually making a difference?
We measure our impact at our events, and through student surveys we have consistently found that our program shows average outcomes of:
- 18% decrease in stigmatic beliefs surrounding mental health and suicide prevention
- 23% increase in general knowledge in mental health and suicide prevention
- 24% increase in comfort talking about mental health and reaching out to an adult if in need
While not directly measured, I can tell you story after story of individuals who have been deeply impacted by what we do:
- A 9th grader who, after hearing the presentation, disclosed suicidal thoughts and was able to be admitted to an inpatient hospital and immediately receive the treatment needed.
- A 7th grade girl in the early stages of an eating disorder was empowered by our presentation to reach out and finally tell someone what she was experiencing. The school counselor was able to get a Student Assistance Team referral through to begin therapy.
- A 9th grader who was experiencing the beginning stages of depression and reached out to the school social worker to get help “sooner rather than later”, halting potential years of suffering in silence to get help in first stage and stop suicidal thoughts from ever occurring.
- Anonymous feedback from a 9th grader stating “You have saved me. I was thinking about [suicide] but because of you I reached out to my math teacher and got help. Thank you.”
There’s so many more, too. There’s even more stories that we don’t know: students who were impacted but didn’t reach out to us or students who didn’t need the information until years later when they were able to fall back on what they’d learned from us.
There are a hundred different charities that do wonderful work and that are looking for your support. We’re one of them. If you choose to support us, I can personally promise that we are doing everything in our power to use the most of your donation, spending it wisely and on programs that matter, that make measurable difference, and that save lives.
For our current financial supporters: We cannot thank you enough! See those student stories? The anonymous feedback? The lives saved and changed? We’re not exaggerating when we say this would not be possible without you.
For those considering donating: Thank you even for considering. The fact that you’re looking at Please Live and weighing what we do and our impact means that we’re doing what we need to do. I hope that you will find value in what we provide and will choose to support us this holiday season.
Some easy ways to give back:
- Join our Support Squad by setting up a recurring monthly donation through our donation page. You can also make a one-time donation via this page, or make donations in memory or honor of a loved one.
- Pledge a portion of your paycheck through United Way payroll deductions. Click here for instructions and pledge form.
- Use AmazonSmile for your holiday gift purchases. Navigate to smile.amazon.com to select Please Live as your charity of choice!
- Get your employer involved. Many companies offer donation matching, utilize Unity Way Giving Days, give time off for volunteering, or support nonprofits with their own holiday giving.
Happy Holidays, everyone, and thank you for joining me on this journey as we fight back the darkness of mental illness and suicide. Together we can be the light of hope that so many people need.
Founder and Executive Director