nonprofit organizations

Five Tips on Creating an Awareness Campaign

National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month is coming up in January. We encourage you to join us throughout January as, together, we can increase awareness of human trafficking and combine our efforts to prevent it. Each week, we’ll highlight and share information on the following topics: About Human Trafficking, Raising Awareness, Human Trafficking Prevention, and Celebrating Survivors. The topics were created to make it easy for YOU to make a difference.

Want to start supporting this campaign before the official start date of January 1, 2016? Join our ThunderClap! ThunderClap is a platform that allows users to flood Facebook, Twitter with a shared message – at the same time. By joining, Thunderclap will automatically post the following message to your page on January 11, 2016 at 2:00 p.m. ET. It’s easy to join.  Just visit to schedule your post and join the nation in making some noise on social media to #EndHumanTrafficking.  Thunderclap Message: “I stand against human traffickers. People are not for sale. Together we can #EndHumanTrafficking.”

Watch for details in your email and on social media about how to participate in NSPN’s and FYSB’s #EndHumanTrafficking campaign.

If you’re planning on creating your own awareness campaign for human trafficking or another cause, check out some tips we put together for you. Feel free to share your campaign ideas in the comments below.

NSPN’s top Five Tips on Creating an Awareness Campaign

  1. Make a measureable difference. Don’t start planning until you have determined the specific outcomes you want to meet.  After you determine your outcomes, create a process that is tied to the outcomes. Your process should include lots of creativity and be designed to ignite and capture the emotion of your followers. Help your followers understand the value and purpose and make it easy for them to help you meet your goal(s).
  2. Be prepared to invest. Whether your goal is to raise awareness or raise funds, you need to be prepared to make a large investment to your campaign. Your key investment will be (or should be)… TIME.  The more successful you want your campaign to be, the more time and energy you will need to spend planning and managing it.
  3. Be the expert. Make sure you have done your research. Knowing and being ready to share the facts about your particular cause will make you a credible resource for followers. Followers want to support and be a part of something they feel will make a difference – not something that will fizzle out. If you know and share your expertise, you will help create a larger following which will help expand the reach or breadth of your message. Don’t hesitate to form a committee of experts. Collaborating with experts in the field will also broaden your following. Keep in mind – you should use this expertise to motivate your followers to get involved, share, or participate with other activities designed to help meet your campaign goals. Motivation v/s education will help carry your message further.
  4. Create (and stick to) a promotions timeline. Creating a timeline will help you prepare exactly what you need and when you need it. It will help drive the brainstorming process and creativity. When writing your piece for the website or a social media posting, you may think – “Oh, we should also create and include this type of image with this.” or “We really need to include a resource or article to go along with this message.” Following your timeline will help ensure you have time to prepare a powerful message.
  5. Share your message. Here are some actions you can take to help meet your campaign goals:
    1. Invite others to get involved.  Asking your stakeholders (partners, members, volunteers, etc.) as well as local businesses and organizations to get involved will help increase “man-power” and extend your reach.   Make sure to show your appreciation and support.  Keep in contact with them, encourage them to stay on track with the timeline, and offer them help and support with specific tasks.
    2. Create a website or page on an existing website dedicated to your campaign. Create a space that is a “hub” of information for followers to access and gain knowledge about the cause.  The page should inform what the cause is, how or who it affects, and offer ways followers can help meet your campaign goals.
    3. Get the word out. Social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Thunderclap, etc.) is a great platform to share your message. Make it easy for your followers by providing post samples they can copy and paste.  Create a hashtag for your campaign. You can also use direct mail, emails, or pass out cards or flyers on the streets of your community. Don’t forget to share your website or page for followers to learn about the cause.
    4. Submit a press release to media outlets (television, radio, newspaper reporters and editors).
    5. Host an event such as a walk, rally, or other event with a large group.
    6. Create and display posters/signs. Yard signs have been a successful option for many campaigns.
    7. Exhibit at or sponsor an event happening during your campaign.

Happy campaigning!

The Gift of Giving

Today is #GivingTuesday, a global day of giving fueled by the power of social media and collaboration. Observed annually on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving in the U.S. and shopping events on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday kicks off the charitable season, when many focus their holiday and end-of-year giving. 

As an organization serving youth in crisis and those who provide vital services to this population, NSPN relies on gifts from individuals and corporate partners to ensure an effective system of response for youth across the United States. NSPN utilizes your donated goods, time, and funds to reach youth in need of help and safety. Many youth who seek our services are scared and alone, with no place to go. Others just need someone to listen. If your family is in-tact and the children in your lives have not experienced the fear of being bullied, the scarring that comes with abuse, or the hunger that comes with neglect, you and those children are incredibly fortunate. NSPN is there for each youth and family that experience these and many other issues that make life challenging. Without your contributions, NSPN simply would not have the opportunity to continue this necessary work.

Your dollars make a difference. Here are lives that have been impacted because someone like you cared and made a contribution.

Jayden - Being bullied.jpgJayden, 14, was being bullied by some of his peers at school. Every day as he walked home from school, the bullies would approach him and verbally abuse him and make threats against his life. Not sure where to turn or what to do, Jayden decided to ask for help at the local convenience store which displayed a Safe Place sign. Jayden spoke with counselors at the licensed Safe Place agency and they connected with his school counselor. The situation was handled appropriately and now Jayden feels safer walking home and has since felt comfortable making new friends.

Sarah - girl texting.jpgSarah, 17, utilized TXT 4 HELP (69866) when she realized she was thinking more about how to die than how to live. The professional counselors at the help line made a meaningful connection with Sarah and stayed with her via a call until the authorities reached her for support. Sarah told the counselors, “I didn’t really want to die, I just wanted help living.” Sarah continues to receive the counseling she needs to live a happier and healthier life.

Portrait Of Smiling Teenage Boy

Robert, 13, learned about Safe Place during a school presentation and decided to ask for help. He was suffering physical abuse at the hands of his step father and was living with his older cousins. After school one day, Robert went to the nearest Safe Place, a fire station, and asked for help. After speaking with agency staff, he decided to stay at the youth shelter. His mother left her husband after learning about the abuse. While at the shelter, Robert and his mother established goals and made a commitment to work on their communication with one another. Robert was reunified with his mother and now feels safe in his home.

Young black guy in red cap

Terrance, 16, had never felt accepted at home. Once he “came out” to his family as being gay, his father kicked him out and told him he was “dead” to them. Terrance attempted to find a place to live with friends but no one had the resources to support him while he worked to finish school. He was able to connect to a program of an NSPN member agency that offered independent living resources and support. Terrance now serves on a youth advisory board for that agency and is helping other youth learn how to give back to their community.


NSPN shared resources on how to train staff and volunteers from a trauma-informed perspective. Staff were appreciative of the training when faced with a particularly challenging youth who was the survivor of years of abuse and neglect. The staff had learned how to support while maintaining safety. They also learned how to listen without feeling the need to have all of the answers. The youth maintained in the program and successfully completed her GED.

Help us continue to make difference in the lives of youth and families. Donate today at:

Ways you can help:

  • Search the web and make purchases using Goodsearch / Goodshop: Each time you search the web using Goodsearch, you raise one cent per search for NSPN. Goodshop will also donate $5 to NSPN after your first purchase of $25 or more. Goodshop continues to make donations for following purchases.
  • Raise awareness! Here are some sample social media posts you can share on your page.


  • [Click here and save the Safe Place logo to your computer: Then, share it on your social media page with the following message!] Have you seen this sign? It’s the universal symbol for youth safety. Learn more at
  • I donated to @NSPNtweets! I’m helping to expand the safety net for youth. You can help at #GivingTuesday


  • [Click here and save the Safe Place logo to your computer: Then, share it on your social media page with the following message!] Have you seen this sign? It’s the universal symbol for youth safety. @Safe Place is a national outreach and prevention program for youth in crisis. Any youth can go to any location that hangs this sign and seek help. Learn more and get involved:
  • Need to talk? @Safe Place is there to listen. Safe Place provides TXT 4 HELP, a texting service which gives youth the opportunity to connect with a mental health professional. If you’re a teen in trouble, need help, or just need someone to listen, text SAFE and your current location (address, city, state) to 69866. Within seconds, you will receive a message with the closest Safe Place location and contact number for the local youth shelter. After receiving this message, reply with 2CHAT to connect immediately with a professional. It’s quick, easy, safe and confidential. Learn more at:
  • I donated to @National Safe Place Network! I’m helping to expand the national safety net for youth. You can help at

The Sustainability Puzzle

By: Shauna Stubbs, RHYTTAC Principal Investigator for National Safe Place Network 

Sustainability is more than fund development and capacity building.  It is not only easy to over-simplify the idea but to completely mis-characterize it.  We think about how our agency or program can win funding from competitors.  But in truth, sustainability is collective, cooperative, and collaborative.  Here are a few pieces of the puzzle to help you consider applying a philosophy of sustainability in your organization.

Know what your community needs.  Regularly mapping assets, assessing needs, and identifying gaps in resources or services for the population(s) with whom you work enables organizations to avoid duplication and focus effort where it is most needed.  Keep in mind that community boundaries aren’t necessarily geographic.

Know who you are.  Develop a clear mission and use it to drive decisions.  Recognize your strengths and leverage those in organizational and program development.  Avoid the temptation to reconfigure for funding opportunities (or even private donations) that aren’t an authentic fit.

Know who you need.  This applies both internally and externally.  Board and leadership development require attention to diversity.  Both should reflect the populations you serve and bring the full complement of skills and assets necessary for your organization to thrive!  From an external perspective, sometimes the most sustainable strategy to achieve an objective is to build relationships with partners who can contribute their strengths and resources to your success.

Value people.  Listen for the voices of clients, volunteers, and direct care staff.  These are the people who really know what is going on, and they are so often ignored or unappreciated.  Recognize how important the people who earn the least in your organization truly are, invest in their professional development, and engage them in decisions.  Then sit back and watch what happens!     

Be Excellent.  Start from the most evidence-informed position possible, develop programs based on logic models, monitor performance and evaluate outcomes.  Continuously improve the work you do.  Build depth before breadth.  As a reminder, none of these grand ideas will produce excellence without the engagement of the aforementioned people.

Pay it forward.  Agencies and programs that are culturally invested in professional advancement and Positive Youth Development have a natural advantage when it comes to succession planning.  Draw a pathway from receiving services to volunteering to providing services to leadership, and make it part of your organizational identity.

Share what you learn.  Evidence-based practice involves exploring what has and has not worked for others, critically considering what is likely to work for the people you serve, and evaluating outcomes that follow the practices you employ.  It also involves supporting the knowledge base available for other practitioners to explore.  What you learn can be helpful to others.

It’s all about the mission.  There is no place for ego.  People who work in organizations who serve people and communities are ultimately aiming to work themselves out of a job – to eliminate the need for their services by solving the social problem at the root of the need.  For example, the Forty to None Project’s mission is “…to raise awareness about and bring an end to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youth experiencing homelessness.” Learn more at:

Follow these links to sustainability resources available from National Safe Place Network:

Follow the links below for additional resources about sustainability:

Each of the following links provide information about potential funding sources:

Schedule a Visit with your Government Officials

Schedule a visit with your government officials!

As you think about the year ahead, what do you plan? What do you include on your calendar? You probably include financial deadlines: when year-end documents are due, when grants begin and end. You probably have a grants calendar with alerts about when new RFPs will be released. You may have an events calendar and training calendar. What about an advocacy calendar?

One thing to keep in mind when planning events or advocacy efforts, is the Congressional calendar. When are the House of Representatives and the Senate in session? And, perhaps more importantly, when will they back in their home districts.

The dates below are the tentative dates for when House members and Senators will be back in their home districts and states. Thinking about inviting your representative to tour your facility? Check the calendar below for possible times when your representative may be in your district, and give his or her office a call to check on availability.

District work periods:


  • February 17 – 20
  • March 9 – 13
  • March 30-April 10
  • May 4 – 8, 26 – 29
  • June 29 – July 3
  • August 3 – September 4
  • September 21 – 25
  • October 13 – 16
  • November 9 – 13, 23 – 27


  • February 16 – 20
  • March 30 – April 10
  • May 25 – 29
  • June 29 – July 6
  • August 10 – September 7
  • October 12 – 16
  • November 23 – 27
  • December 21 – 31


House of Representatives 2015 Calendar:

Senate 2015 Calendar:

Building relationships with your federal, state, and local representatives is a  great way to get the word out about your program and share stories and information that could earn you a great government ally. For additional information about advocacy activities, and the difference between advocacy and lobbying, join us on Monday, February 23, at 3:00 p.m. for the webinar, Advocating for your Programs. National Safe Pace Network staff and members of the NSPN Advisory Board Advocacy Committee will go over the differences between advocacy and lobbying and will outline some ideas for successful advocacy efforts. Register for the webinar here:

Senators Leahy and Collins Introduce the Runaway and Homeless Youth and Trafficking Prevention Act (RHYTPA)

Earlier this week, Senators Leahy and Collins introduced the bipartisan Runaway and Homeless Youth and Trafficking Prevention Act (read more about the bill and track its progress here: Although there is no bipartisan bill yet in the House, National Network for Youth and partners are working hard to make sure that happens.

This legislation serves homeless youth through the following programs:

  • Basic Center Program provides grants to community and nonprofit organizations to support emergency shelters and services to reunite youth with their families;
  • Street Outreach Programs provides outreach services to at-risk youth;
  • Transitional Living Program provides housing and life skill support to older youth 16-22 years old.

These programs serve thousands of youth each year and are critically important in every state. In Federal Fiscal Year 2014, the Basic Center Program served 30,536 children in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and Washington D.C. The Transitional Living Program served 2, 788 youth and the Street Outreach Program made contact with over 460,000 youth during the same time period. These young people often have nowhere else to turn when a crisis occurs.

The recently introduced legislation authorized funds to complete the National Study on the prevalence, Needs and Incidence of Homeless Youth in America – a study which will provide a better understanding of the size and needs of America’s homeless youth populations. The bill increases the length of stay for Basic Center Programs from 21 days to 30 days, allowing for addition access to reunification services. The legislation also includes a nondiscrimination clause that has already been adopted by programs across the country, ensuring housing and services will be provided fairly to youth.

This is a necessary step in providing services for homeless youth across the country.

National Network for Youth is circulating a sign-on letter to support this legislation. Read more about it and sign-on here:

National Slavery and Human Trafficking Awareness Month

How do we talk about Human trafficking in 440 words? We admit the topic cannot be fully covered in this limited space AND we encourage you to conduct further research and participate in trainings to further your knowledge and understanding of the topic.

Human trafficking is a form of modern slavery, which includes both sex and labor trafficking, where traffickers profit from the control and exploitation of people. Human trafficking exists throughout the US and around the globe. The use of force, fraud, or coercion is utilized to control people and thereby cause the person(s) to engage in commercial sex or provide labor services against their will. Sex trafficking occurs online, on the street and in places of business. Labor trafficking occurs in private residences, agriculture, sales crews, restaurants, etc.

Human trafficking is motivated by two crucial factors: high profits and low risk to traffickers. Human trafficking is based on the principles of supply and demand. It generates billions of dollars in profits for traffickers while victimizing children, youth and adults. Under U.S. law, victims of human trafficking are identified as: children less than 18 years of age induced into commercial sex; adults age 18 or more induced into commercial sex through force, fraud, or coercion; and, children and adults induced to perform labor or services through force, fraud, or coercion.

Human trafficking crosses all demographic boundaries; however, there are characteristics that increase the risk of being trafficked including, but not limited to, being: a runaway or homeless youth; a victim of domestic violence; being an undocumented immigrant; or, identifying as LGBTQ. Given the diversity of victim-survivors of human trafficking it is imperative to understand that there is no “cookie-cutter” approach to providing services.

Services for victim-survivors must be person-centered, trauma-informed and culturally sensitive. In order to provide effective services you and your team members need to be trained on the complex array of challenges victim-survivors of human trafficking face and techniques to assist the person address their needs and move toward recovery. National Safe Place Network created the Human Trafficking: Recognize, Respect and Respond (HTR3) project and has made it available through NSPS’s operation of the Family and Youth Services Bureau’s Runaway and Homeless Youth Training and Technical Assistance Center.  We can provide training and resources to assist you RECOGNIZE, RESPECT and RESPOND to victim-survivors of Human Trafficking. For more information please visit: or Please connect with us on Social Media at:, or to keep abreast of all the resources and services National Safe Place Network and the Runaway and Homeless Youth Training and Technical Assistance Center!

Grant Writing Resolutions

January – a time of reflection, new beginnings, resolutions, and preparing for grant-writing season. We are busy preparing for an upcoming webinar for NSPN members on grant writing resolutions. For a preview of the webinar, check out these two grant-writing tips.

Resolution 1: Lose the weight.

Grant writers and development officers carry the weight of the world on their shoulders during grant season. Worrying about whether your words will help save jobs or lose them. Programs may close based on your skill set alone! STOP IT! Just like with a diet, one practice or change is never sufficient to get the healthiest outcome. You are responsible for doing your best. And, that is all you can do. You have to share the burden with others. You need to develop patters of behavior that work for you. If you feel alone, call or connect with your NSPN membership team. We will figure it out together.

Resolution 2: Don’t be a citizen of ProcrastiNation.

We are busy. It is all we can do to get today’s work done. We may often fall short of our goals. Grant season will highlight every tendency you have to wait until a better time. When you wait until the next week or until you can get to it (whenever that is…) there are often challenges. While it is true you do not always know the data a funding application will be due… you do know that you will probably need updated logic models; organizational charts; need data; resumes; and, position descriptions. You can start on all of that now. Pull out your shiny new phone or paper calendar and set aside at least one hour per week to do something related to fund development preparation. It will make things easier in the spring and you may even hug yourself with joy and relief for planning ahead, or at least check something off your to-do list.

Want more tips? Join us on Thursday, January 15, 2015, at 1:00 p.m. EST for the NSPN Members-Only Webinar: 12 New Year’s Resolutions for Grant Writing. You can register here:

Please note: This webinar is open to any NSPN member at the basic level or above. The webinar will be recorded and available to members with access to the Training Center after January 15, 2015.

Knowing the Difference Between RHYTTAC and National Safe Place Network

National Safe Place Network (NSPN) operates the FYSB-funded Runaway and Homeless Youth Training and Technical Assistance Center (RHYTTAC). NSPN also offers a unique set of packages designed to meet your needs in ways that make sense for your organization and community that differs from the technical assistance and training provided by RHYTTAC. Do you know how to tell the difference between NSPN and RHYTTAC services?


To view a printable version of this document, please click here:

Why Safe Place Matters

At National Safe Place Network, we believe in the power of community and the incredible effect one community can have on a young person’s life. Safe Place is an outreach and prevention program for youth in need of immediate help and safety. Businesses and community organizations, such as libraries, youth service agencies, public transportation vehicles, YMCAs, grocery stores, and more, display the Safe Place sign – making help readily available for youth. Safe Place simply cannot operate successfully without community buy-in and support.

We are grateful to be able to share the following story with you, a story that exemplifies what it means to be a Safe Place community.

This month, QuikTrip (one of our incredible corporate and Safe Place site partners) received a message from a customer about an incredible experience she had at one of their stores in Phoenix. As she was leaving the store, a young man asked her for some money. When she asked what he needed it for, he told her his mother kicked him out of the house. This meant the young man had no place to go on Thanksgiving. She went back into the store and asked the clerk for a pen and paper. When she explained why she needed pen and paper, the clerk’s face lit up and he said, “We have a special program just for this!” He told her about Safe Place and helped connect the young man to the licensed Safe Place agency.

Click here to read the entire story:

This is just one of many stories highlighting the invaluable impact a program like Safe Place has on the life of a youth. Too often we hear stories about youth who are abused, neglected, homeless, or who have run away from home. No matter the reason, young people have a safer alternative to a life on the streets or a life without stable housing. Safe Place provides connection to helpful and supportive resources when youth need it most.

Just yesterday, an article was posted on shinning a light one of America’s most vulnerable populations: “Unnaccompanied and Unnoticed: Saving our Homeless Youth” by Eric Rice, PhD, Assistant Professor at the University of Southern California’s School of Social Work. Rice cites the recent publication of “America’s Youngest Outcasts” by the National Center on Family Homelessness which reports 2.5 million homeless children under the age of 18.

Rice states, “These youth are largely invisible walking right past most of us — even me. But that doesn’t mean they don’t need our help. Most of these young people have survived family rejection, abuse and neglect. They need our compassion, our help and our attention. We need to provide more safe housing for these youth and get them support services, so they can grow into adults who live up to their full potential.”

This is why Safe Place matters. We need to continue to provide the connection to safety and supportive services for youth in need. Do you live in a Safe Place community?

Learn more about Safe Place and how you can get involved at

Safe Place logo