iCarol is currently seeking a candidate to fill the role of Solutions Expert on our Business Development Team! This is a remote work position open to anyone in the United States or Canada.
We are looking for someone who is a self-starter, charismatic, and highly motivated to hunt for, identify, qualify, and closing high quality business opportunities. An ideal candidate will have an understanding, passion, or experience working with not-for-profits, and experience using iCarol Software.
To read the full job description and apply, please visit our Careers Page.
In recent years iCarol has welcomed several new customers who are Child Care Resource and Referral agencies. These agencies curate a comprehensive database of child care providers in their state, province, or region. This includes all sorts of information that parents and caregivers need when researching their options and making decisions — hours of operation, current openings, languages spoken, pre-school or educational programs offered, voucher acceptance, locations, and much more.
Child Care Resource and Referral agencies using iCarol have found that iCarol’s resource database offers the ultimate flexibility for their needs. Further, iCarol helps them document and track their interactions with parents, caregivers, and others who are inquiring about available care in their community. iCarol is also helping them send child care referrals by Email and SMS/Text, allowing them to accept online inquiries using Public Web Forms, and keep their listings updated while using less staff resources to do so with Automated Resource Verification.
If you’re going to the conference, please stop by and visit Veronica at our booth, which will be located at the entrance to the exhibition and registration area. We have lots of great information to provide, and you can also download our new eBook. We’re excited to see you in Arlington!
We’ve just added a new resource you may be interested in! Click the image below to download our newest eBook: Choosing Software for Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies.
This resource is designed to help program directors and other leaders at Child Care Resource and Referral agencies wevaluate their needs for software to help them in their work connecting parents and caregivers with the best child care providers to meet their needs. We’ve even included a checklist that helps them see if the software they’re currently using or considering meets these needs.
May is Mental Health Month, and organizations around the world are sharing information about how to obtain and maintain good mental health.
Each year since 1949, Mental Health America and their affiliates have led observance of Mental Health Month. This includes release of an annual Mental Health Month toolkit, which you can download here. They also have a number of resources available on their Mental Health Month web page, this year focusing on “Look Around, Look Within – from your neighborhood to genetics, many factors come into play when it comes to your mental health.”
In the toolkit, MHA places a focus on Social Determinants of Health — how many aspects of one’s life can affect their health, including mental health, that aren’t related to their genetic makeup. This can include things like:
Your community – if your community experiences higher rates of violence, gentrification, pollution and poor air quality, underfunded schools, or a lack of access to resources, this can effect the mental health of those living in that community.
Housing – something as simple as having a safe and stable home, and housing, is key to one’s mental health.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is focusing on the theme of More Than Enough — celebrating the inherent value of all people regardless of any mental health diagnosis, socioeconomic status, background, or ability.
The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) has a number of articles and resources available in recognition of Canada’s Mental Health Week (May 1-7) which are available here. Every May for the last 71 years, Canadians in communities, schools, workplaces and the House of Commons have rallied around CMHA Mental Health Week. This year’s theme is My Story. CMHA states:
Storytelling is a fundamental part of being human. Stories help build connections and strong communities. Storytelling, in all its forms, supports mental health and reduces stigma.
We hope during this Mental Health Month, our blog readers will take the time to engage with these and other mental health leaders to learn more and promote better mental health for all people.
The conference is a convergence of professionals working across the spectrum of the suicide prevention industry, from those operating crisis centers and other direct care services, to professionals working in academic settings conducting suicide prevention research, advocates focused on prevention, education and awareness, and those with lived experience.
So we can continue to stay ahead of the topics that most impact iCarol’s customers and continue to support the work of crisis centers, Aaron will join a number of networking and information events. This includes the Lines for Life crisis center tour, and receptions and networking meetings for 988 centers.
Having supported crisis centers since the earliest days of the Lifeline network, and serving a large portion of the network that are iCarol customers, we have witnessed the Lifeline’s growth year after year, both in the number of participating centers and the volume of contacts the Lifeline receives through calls, chats, and other forms of communication, and eventually transitioning to the 988 initiative. At this year’s update we’re anticipating the latest news on the development and growth of the 988 network. We’re closely following the continuing conversations on how communities are changing their practices around responding to mental health emergencies and similar crises, with a continuing shift towards crisis intervention teams and other professionals leading the response as opposed to law enforcement.
iCarol enthusiastically supports the efforts to reimagine crisis response in communities across the United States. It’s crucial that people everywhere have access to human-focused, culturally competent crisis care that meets their needs whether that be through an empathetic listener on a crisis line, an in-person visit from a mobile crisis response team, or a stay at a crisis stabilization center. It’s our mission to provide tools to crisis centers that help them respond to their community’s needs. We hope you’ll explore our website to learn more about how we are serving this industry.
The discussions at AAS directly inform iCarol’s strategy and product development in the coming months and years, which ensures we will continue to meet the needs of suicide prevention and crisis centers everywhere, providing the tools they need to do their life-saving work. That’s why we want to ensure we take advantage of being together in-person in Portland to have conversations about challenges, needs, and solutions. If you plan to be at the AAS Conference, please stop by our booth to download our guides and materials, including our ebook on choosing software for crisis intervention and suicide prevention services. Aaron will be available for meetings at your convenience to answer your questions, or have conversations about your challenges or projects and explore how iCarol can be of assistance.
Anytime you’re working in an online application, data security should be top-of-mind. This is a wide-ranging topic, starting with the passwords you use to access the system, creating policies on data retention and safe disposal, user account access, safe sharing, and so much more.
For our March Support Training, we invite customers to join us for a discussion around Security Best Practices in iCarol. We’ll touch on a variety of tools available for you to use to put your own policies and practices around data security into place at your organization.
Date: Wednesday, March 15
Time: 2pm Eastern
To register for this webinar, log into iCarol — the link to register is posted in the iCarol Help Center Community Announcements as well as the Admin Dashboard.
CW: This blog post discusses stalking, sexual assault, and intimate partner violence.
January is National Stalking Awareness Month (NSAM), and though millions of men and women are stalked every year
in the United States, the crime of stalking is often misunderstood, minimized and/or ignored.
What is “stalking?”
Stalking is a pattern of behavior directed at a specific person that causes fear. Many stalking victims experience being followed, approached and/or threatened — including through technology. Stalking is a terrifying and psychologically harmful crime in its own right as well as a predictor of serious violence.
Facts about stalking*
In 85% of cases where an intimate partner attempted to murder their partner, there was stalking in the year prior to the attack.
Of the millions of men and women stalked every year in the United States, over half report being stalked before the age of 25 and over 15% report it first happened before the age of 18.
Stalking often predicts and/or co-occurs with sexual and intimate partner violence. Stalkers may threaten sexual assault, convince someone else to commit assault and/or actually assault their victims.
Nearly 1 in 3 women who were stalked by an intimate partner were also sexually assaulted by that partner.
Stalking tactics might include: approaching a person or showing up in places when the person didn’t want them to be there; making unwanted telephone calls; leaving unwanted messages (text or voice); watching or following someone from a distance, or spying on someone with a listening device, camera, or GPS.
What is the impact on stalking victims?*
46% of stalking victims fear not knowing what will happen next.
29% of stalking victims fear the stalking will never stop.
1 in 8 employed stalking victims lose time from work as a result
of their victimization and more than half lose 5 days of work or more.
1 in 7 stalking victims move as a result of their victimization.
Stalking victims suffer much higher rates of depression, anxiety, insomnia, and social dysfunction than people in the general population.
How you can help
Helpline staff and volunteers can do a number of things to help people who reach you and talk about being stalked:
Provide validation and empathy.
Don’t minimize behaviors that are causing the person concern (e.g. “I wouldn’t worry.” “That doesn’t sound harmful.” “They’re only text messages.”)
If your organization does not provide direct services to assist with the issue, provide helpful resources such as a local domestic/intimate partner violence helpline, sexual assault helpline, legal resources, law enforcement, etc.
We all have a role to play in identifying stalking and supporting victims and survivors. We encourage you to learn more from the Stalking Prevention, Awareness, and Resource Center at www.stalkingawareness.org.
*Source: Stalking Prevention, Awareness, and Resource Center (SPARC)
Grateful. It’s the first word that comes to mind when we think of you and your organization. Thank you for your service to your community. We are grateful for your business, and it is an honor and pleasure to partner with you. Wishing you a joyous season and a Happy New Year! From iCarol, a division of Harris Computer Systems
In recent years, Giving Tuesday has emerged as a counterbalance to the consumer-based Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday shopping traditions. It serves as a reminder that the holiday season is about charitable acts of kindness and helping our neighbors in need. Giving Tuesday (this year it’s held on November 28th) is an excellent opportunity for non-profits and charities to tell their communities about the work they do and encourage charitable giving to their organization. Smaller organizations or those that may be completely volunteer based shouldn’t feel incapable of participating — you don’t need a dedicated marketing team to take part in Giving Tuesday.
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to sideline a lot of projects, but Giving Tuesday shouldn’t be one of them. Yes, there are extra precautions to take and you may have to adjust your plans to keep everyone safe and comply with any restrictions in place. By now you’ve had to creatively adapt to a lot of things in recent years — doing so for this event should be no problem! In fact, you should lean into fundraising efforts now more than ever — experts share that donors are focused on giving to local organizations, especially those who have provided direct response to the Coronavirus pandemic. However, it is important that you are extra sensitive and mindful that donors themselves are likely having a tough time, so carefully think through your messaging.
Below are some simple ideas to try that don’t take a large budget or tons of advanced planning.
Simple Social Media
At a minimum, your social media accounts should publish posts about Giving Tuesday (remember to use the hashtag #GivingTuesday to maximize your reach!). Post throughout the day or schedule your posts ahead of time with social media management software like Hootsuite, Buffer, or Sprout Social. Posts should include a call to action, i.e. do you want them to donate? Volunteer? Learn more about your work? Become an advocate? Depending on the call to action, include links to applicable web pages such as your volunteer opportunity or donation pages. Posts can focus on the work you do, success stories (shared either with client permission or written to remove identifying info), milestones and achievements, goals, and other information that you’d like your community to know about you. Examples of general Giving Tuesday social media posts can be found here. We’re always happy to help you boost your Giving Tuesday social media messages, so be sure to follow us on Twitter so we can follow you back to see your posts in our feed, then we can retweet your message to our followers.
Share Video or Photos
Images and video are more compelling than text-only posts, and most social media sites say that posts that include them get more views, so use them if you can. Lean into content that focuses on how your organization has worked through COVID-19 to continue providing services, and why the services you provide are needed now more than ever. Your video doesn’t have to be Academy Award worthy — spontaneous and unrehearsed videos are authentic and give people a sense of who you are. If you’re working in an office, try a quick interview with a colleague about what they do and why they love working for your agency. Those working remotely can submit videos filmed themselves at home. Videos should be short and sweet, as most research shows short videos are the most watched. For more video guidance, check out this article by London based creative advertising agency Don’t Panic.
After taking the video you can usually do some light editing or clipping right on your phone before posting it to social media. If you’re feeling brave you can even do a live video right from platforms like TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, directly from a mobile phone.
Engage Your Neighbors
Hopefully your organization is lucky enough to have some supporters in the business community that work with you throughout the year by holding fundraisers or making donations. Giving Tuesday is another perfect opportunity to engage with your biggest fans. Perhaps they’d be willing to post a short video to their social media feeds. Or maybe they’d do something as simple as keep a donation box or stack of your agency’s brochures at their register or other space in their business. Most businesses, especially those that already support your work, will welcome the opportunity to continue their advocacy during the holiday season. Many businesses are also motivated to align themselves with the work of non-profits especially now, to show that they are giving back to the community.
Work Your Website
Your website is one of your greatest assets, especially now that so much of what we do is online rather than in-person, so make sure your Giving Tuesday participation is prominently featured there. This can be accomplished through something as simple as a blog post or homepage image, or more advanced like adding a new temporary banner or widget to your homepage that directs website visitors to your donation page, volunteer application, etc.
Don’t Let Callers Off the Hook
If when people call you they first hear a general message or listen to a menu routing them to their desired destination, consider temporarily altering your greeting in honor of Giving Tuesday. This can be as simple as a 10-15 second “hello” wishing them a happy holiday season and inviting them to support your work, along with an invitation to visit your website for more information. This won’t add much at all to their wait time but will get your message in front of everyone who calls you.
Shop and Donate
Did you know you can integrate Giving Tuesday into your donors’ other post-Thanksgiving activities like Black Friday and Cyber Monday? Some online retailers now offer donation integration as part of their shopping experience. The most well-known of these is the Amazon Smile program. Non-profits and charities can register their organization and shoppers can designate that agency as their charity of voice when shopping on the platform. Amazon donates a portion of eligible sales proceeds from those transactions back to the non-profit organization. It is remarkably easy for your donors to set this up when shopping — you simply need to get registered and promote it to those who support your work. Your donors can then do all their normal holiday shopping and support your services at the same time — WIN/WIN!
How is your agency planning to make the most of Giving Tuesday? Leave a comment below with your plans, or any ideas we may have missed! And be sure to follow iCarol on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, and we will try to share your Giving Tuesday post as our way of saying thanks for the work you do!
One of the things I like most about Halloween is that it offers such a wide range of ways to participate and have fun. Horror movies not your thing? You can stick to fun activities like carving a jack-o-lantern and handing out candy to trick or treaters (in normal, non-pandemic years at least). And then there are the endless costume possibilities. You can be anything from a superhero to your favorite movie character to some very obscure cultural reference or the more traditional choice of ghost or vampire.
So with that range of costume possibilities and ways to have fun in mind, it’s always deeply upsetting to see Halloween become an event where mental illness is misrepresented and stigmatized. Some haunted house attractions are centered around “asylum” themes, or have a “haunted psych ward” component. Actors wearing straight jackets or wielding weapons chase visitors and shout lines about hearing voices. The message is very clear: Mental illness, and people who experience mental illness, are scary, violent, and to be feared.
In recent years, several costumes have been pulled from the shelves following pressure from mental health advocates. Unfortunately every year there are still a few new inappropriate and offensive costumes that pop up and make their way to stores and online retailers, and regrettably they are eventually seen out in public at bars and parties. And each time one is sold and then worn, it perpetuates the stigma and misconceptions around mental illness.
These interjections of mental illness into Halloween are neither fun nor harmless, but keep in place harmful stereotypes. These attractions and costumes continue pushing the idea that a person living with mental illness is violent and should be avoided. Discrimination is still a problem for people living with mental illness, and every day those who experience symptoms choose not to seek help for fear of mistreatment by the public, or that their relationships with family and friends will suffer. These depictions also hurt those who have experienced mental illness, especially those who have been hospitalized. Their deepest fears about what society thinks of them are realized when they see illness become a subject of fear-based entertainment.
It would never be acceptable to have haunted houses set in a hospice or cancer wing of a hospital, nor would we find cancer patient costumes to be appropriate. It’s important that we all speak up when we see mental illness being stigmatized, and stand up for those who have experience with illness and are negatively impacted by the perpetuation of stigma.