A Giving Guide: Local Non-Profits That Support Women

How to Use Your Time and Resources to Help Local Women this Season

Group of Diverse Women

Hire for Hope was founded with the mission of providing sustainable funding for organizations who support women who are in need of help. In fact, if it weren’t for the organizations that dedicated their daily work to helping women in need, Hire for Hope may not even exist today.

This holiday season, we encourage everyone who has the time and resources to find a way to give to these organizations in our community that change the lives of women every single day. Here are some of the organizations doing the powerful work of changing women’s lives in West Michigan and how you can get involved.

YWCA

The YWCA’s mission is eliminating racism, empowering women and girls and promoting peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all. They provide community support for domestic and dating  abuse, sexual assault, child sexual abuse and prevention and empowerment. They offer a variety of ways to get involved including financial support, donation of goods, volunteering, advocacy and programs to promote change through education. 

If you’d like to make a financial gift to the YWCA this holiday season, feel free to do so on their donations page. If you’d like to help supply their domestic abuse emergency shelter with items from their wishlist, visit their wishlist page. Please note that YWCA asks you to first contact Jennifer Timmer at jtimmer@ywca.org before purchasing and dropping off any donations.

Learn more about the YWCA. 

Women’s Resource Center

The Women’s Resource Center equips women for workplace success. They offer a variety of services including a Business Center where women can go to conduct online job searches, update resumes and apply to jobs, computer classes, resume coaching, a scholarship program and a Business Boutique where women can shop for affordable professional outfits. 

Their Business Boutique accepts donations of clothing that is clean and in excellent condition, from the current season and made within the past three years. Be sure to call (616) 458-5443 to complete the pre-screen and set up an appointment to drop off your donation. 

Learn more about the Women’s Resource Center.

Mom’s Bloom

Mom’s Bloom connects families with newborns to local volunteers who can help with a variety of things around the house including watching and caring for the newborn(s), watching their siblings, completing light housework, giving mom a break for self care, emotional support and meal preparation. Their vision is for every family with a newborn to have support, community and confidence. This is especially vital for families who have extended families geographically dispersed, away at work or simply unable to help. 

This organization is funded by the generosity of individual and corporate donors along with Kent County taxpayers and the voter-approved Ready by Five Early Childhood Millage. You can get involved by considering donating or volunteering to be a mom support or to be on a committee.

Learn more about Mom’s Bloom. 

Alpha Women’s Center

Alpha Grand Rapids offers free and confidential services regardless of income, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, religion, nationality, or residence to women who are experiencing an unplanned pregnancy. Their offerings include pregnancy testing, ultrasounds, STD testing, mentoring/coaching, job and career support, support groups for single moms, GED completion programs, parenting classes, pregnancy education classes and English as a Second Language (ESL) classes. 

There are a variety of volunteer opportunities from working directly with the clients to working behind-the-scenes. You can also choose to donate in the form of a financial gift or items like infant and maternity clothing, diapers, formula, and other infant necessities. View their full wishlist here

Learn more about Alpha Women’s Center. 

Women At Risk, International

Women At Risk (WAR), International addresses a variety of risk issues for women—poverty, inequality, violence, abuse and more, but they are we are most known for their fight against human trafficking. They are Michigan-based, but run a variety of global programs including international safehouses, domestic safehouses, micro enterprises, education, orphanages, outreach, medical aid and emergency intervention.

Warchest Boutique is a shop created by this organization to produce sustainable funding for their mission. If you’re looking to purchase beautiful jewelry, ornaments, spa products or small gifts for Christmas this year, consider shopping here for beautiful and unique items that help fight human trafficking. (Bonus- they do take orders online and recommend placing your order before December 17th to arrive in time for Christmas.) You can also make a financial donation and choose which area of their work you’d like your money to go to. You can also volunteer at their HQ or at WAR events. 

Learn more about Women at Risk. 

 

Do you know of any amazing non-profit organizations doing life-changing work? We’d love to hear about them! Leave a comment below!

How to Increase Employee Engagement

Establishing a Solid Employee Engagement Strategy

 

Group of workers at a table - engaged employees

by Tasia Allison

What is employee engagement?

Simply put, employee engagement is a measurement.

Too simple?

Let’s clarify. Employee engagement typically measures an employee’s productivity and their discretionary effort—this is an employee’s willingness to go the extra mile.

Is that it?

Yes—that’s it. But, now that you know what employee engagement is, you should probably start thinking about an employee engagement strategy. Employee engagement strategies should connect your business strategy with your people strategy and your people strategy with your business results. However, so often they fail and do more harm than good. 

Here are a few reasons companies, even with the best of intentions, fail at employee engagement strategies:

  1. Their engagement strategy doesn’t connect to their business and people strategy. Or they don’t have a people strategy at all. For instance, if your engagement survey measures autonomy and independent decision making, but your organization has a very structured hierarchy, your people strategy and your business strategy aren’t connected.
  2. Engagement is owned solely by Human Resources. While we love our passionate HR teams, they can’t single-handedly own engagement strategies. They have to be owned by every member of your leadership team.
  3. Failure to act. Companies collect oodles of people data, but they don’t respond to it. Conducting engagement data without the support, intentions or resources to react to the data does more harm than good. Employees get a false sense of action and excitement only to be later disappointed.
  4. Timeliness isn’t valued. The frequency of your measurement should be directly related to the speed of your organization. If your organization is fast and agile, but you’re only measuring engagement annually, you’re missing out. You’re using a tricycle to keep speed with a race car.
  5. They focus on employee “happiness.” While we all love a happy employee, this is an ever changing target. Companies who go after making all employees happy all the time, often end up with more initiatives than they can manage and just as many unhappy employees as when they started. 

Ok, we know why they fail, but how do they excel?

  1. The organization has a clearly established business strategy and people strategy and they measure engagement based on both and they stay focused here. While successful organizations want their employees to be “happy” and they may still respond to unhappy employees, they don’t lose sight of their people strategy.
  2. Employee engagement is owned by leaders at every level. Read that again. It’s not just your lovely Human Resources team—they may be the most passionate about it, but every leader needs to be engaged. If you have people leaders who don’t find your talent strategy a priority, it’s time to reevaluate the influence they have on it.
  3. Organizations are ready and committed to act and have a plan. This goes hand-in-hand with every leader being engaged, but the success of your people and engagement strategy will come down to having a plan, especially for derailers. What will you do when leaders are “too busy”? When teams reorganize? During seasons of growth or season of loss?  Build a plan that accounts for challenges and make use of beneficial planning strategies like pre-mortems.
  4. The organization engages a strategic partner. There are a lot of great free resources to help organizations get started, but that can often leave teams feeling overwhelmed and lost. Organizations that don’t have time or resources to spare engage with consultants or firms early on in their process that can quickly and efficiently get them up and running.

Interested in learning more about developing your people strategy and getting started with employee engagement? Let’s connect and talk about what impact the right resources can have on your organization.

 

Transferable Skills for Changing Careers

Thinking About a Career Change? Here Are the Skills That Will Make You Hirable Across the Board.

by Nicole Degi

Have you been thinking of making a career change for quite some time? Have your fears and sense of familiarity been holding you back? Have you been asking yourself, “How do I know when it is time to make the change?” and, “How do I know if I have the correct skillsets to make this change?” If so, you are not alone.  I was right there with you, just a few months ago. In fact, I battled with the thought of changing careers for years.

When making a career change, there are a few things that were helpful to me when understanding how I could stand out amongst other candidates. First, it is important to not let the fear of being comfortable hold you back and the fears of not knowing the ins and outs of an industry hold you back. It is also important to know that there are some key skills called transferable skills, and they apply to all occupations. These are the skills that make you highly hirable, no matter your career. If you can adopt the skills listed below, you will set yourself up for success and will be a viable candidate across multiple professions.

Communication

This is key. How many times have you heard someone with in your organization say, “we are not good at communication” and how many times have you thought to yourself this is frustrating? I know I have been one of these people many times. If you can focus on a few vital communication skills, they will take you far in any company. Focus on listening to understand rather than just waiting for the next thing to say. Focus on thinking through what you say and how you say it. Also, having an understanding about how your communication comes across in writing is very essential.

Technical

Stay current with technology!  Teach yourself basic technical skills and office programs that majority of companies use. This will help you grow professionally and give you stability.

Critical Thinking

Problem-solving skills has been a vital skill set since grade school. Utilize them to think professionally, to problem solve and come up with logical solutions.  Ask questions, create pro & con lists, and think about key factors to help create effective results.

Teamwork

This will vary from person to person. Some people enjoy working more independently than others and there is nothing wrong with that! What is important is making sure that you have an understanding that a team is made up of many different background and personality types and how important it is to be respectful of that. Remember that everyone is important to the organization so teach yourself how to efficiently work with multiple people.

Multitasking

Multitasking is a very desirable skill amongst hiring managers. If you can stay organized and establish priorities, you will feel accomplished at the end of the day. This will look different for everyone. For me I love to make lists, in fact the more lists the better! Lists help me stay on track; I like to physically cross things off a list to feel accomplished at the end of the day. I also utilize my calendar a lot! I add tasks to my calendar in blocked out times which helps me stay organized and get the multiple things I need to get done in a day done.

Creativity

I would suggest thinking to yourself: Can you allow yourself to think outside of the box? Can you affectively bring these ideas to the table for your organization and will these ideas produce results?

Leadership

This is the most in-depth skill amongst them all because it varies not only from person to person but also between every organization. This will ultimately be a combination of all the above skills. Leadership takes hard work and dedication. One key thing to think about is: are your actions inspiring others to learn, act and grow?

Embrace these skills and reflect on how your strengths and weaknesses can adapt to them and you will go a long way when making a career change. You will become a candidate that is appealing to multiple industries! Reference how these skills are reflective of you when you are interviewing and how they will be used in the day to day of your new career.

These are a few things that helped me make a career change, the skills may look a little different for everyone, but they are key ingredients to becoming a successful employee!