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Giving Day Is Here!

Giving Day has arrived! Visit the Giving Day website to donate and stand together – All In 1 Day – so that every day, when needed, neighbors in your community will not be alone. When you give to the American Red Cross, you are delivering help and hope to people when they need it most.

SHARE YOUR SUPPORT ON SOCIAL

So you donated and want to share your good news? Try one of our suggested posts, written just for you!

Find customizable posts on the Giving Day Social Ambassador website. Just find the Weekly Posts or In Your Words tabs, find a post you like and post to your social networks.

SHOW SOME IMAGE FLAIR

Find custom profile pictures for all your social networks in the Image Library tab, like this one for Facebook:

ARC_FacebookProfilePicture_v1

And don’t miss the other images in the Image Library tab to help give a visual boost to all your posts.

SNAP A PIC

Share why you’re all in with our Selfie Sign. Write your story on the sign, snap a photo and include the #allin1day hashtag wherever you post – Vine, Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.

Join us to help bring more good days to those in need.

About our Corporate Giving Day Supporters

The American Red Cross is grateful for those corporate donors that have gone “all in” to support our Giving Day. They include: eBay, Energy Future Holdings/TXU Energy/Luminant, Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance, Konica Minolta, Kroger Pharmacy, Midwest Recycling, and State Farm.  Thanks to the generosity of these and other supporters, the Red Cross is able to deliver help and hope every day to people when they need it most.

On the Ground Perspective: Lone Star Response

Post by Richard Reed, Senior Vice President, Disaster Cycle Services

TX1They say everything is bigger in Texas. They aren’t kidding. I’m writing to you from here in the Lone Star state. I came to see the operation in action and to spend time with the volunteers and employees who are putting in serious overtime helping those devastated by the floods and tornadoes.

TX2For those who aren’t familiar with what’s going on in Texas, here is a good background read. The disaster operations here and in Oklahoma are our largest and most complex since Hurricane Sandy. It’s not just the size that makes it complicated, but the drawn-out nature of the event. So far it’s affected nearly every part of this large state, including both urban and rural areas.

Here are some quick impressions of what I’ve seen on the ground from Red Cross disaster operations:

  • The Red Cross has scaled up disaster operations fast.  Already, we have multi-agency resource centers set to open this weekend where residents will be able to interact with multiple agencies and community organizations to get the support they need during this tough time.
  • Our local Red Cross folks are doing an amazing job, but after a month of responses they are fatigued. So now we’re bringing in support from across the country to give staff here some well-deserved rest. It’s great to see staff working together as we respond to a disaster that impacts thousands of people over such a large geographic area.
  • There is incredible collaboration with diverse partners. Red Cross partners include Buddhist Tzu Chi, Southern Baptists Disaster Relief, the Salvation Army, Church of the Brethren, Islamic Relief USA, Catholic Charities, St. Vincent de Paul, Portlight Strategies, the National Council on Independent Living, the National Council of La Raza, and local businesses like HEB Grocery Store. It is inspiring to see the community coming together here to help those in need.

dogIt’s been a long month for the Lone Star state and our responding Red Cross folks here, some of whom have seen their own homes flooded and devastated.  Despite the challenges, I am encouraged by the resiliency of Texas, and the compassionate determination of our Red Cross staff who are working tirelessly to help affected communities.

Hats off to all those who have helped out or who have offered their support.

If you’d like to help, please consider making a financial donation. A donation to Red Cross Disaster Relief can help provide food, water and shelter for someone who has had to leave their home. Help people affected by disasters like floods, tornadoes and countless other crises by making a gift to Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small. To donate, people can visit www.redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

The Digital Disaster Response

Post by Nigel Holderby, Public Affairs Volunteer 

There are many aspects of disaster response. From shelter operations including caseworkers, driving a feeding truck, and managing the distribution of clean up supplies, all the way up to the operation headquarters. There is one thing that is connected to, and connects, everything: Communication.

Currently, there are more than 1000 volunteers who have been assigned to the operation in Texas. Those are boots on the ground volunteers as well as digital volunteers. Digital Operations is nothing new for Red Cross. In fact, Digital Volunteers, or as we call them, DigiVols, have been around since 2011 and the value they add to an operation is integral to situational awareness as well as connecting people to valuable information and even emotional support.

In each phase of a disaster there are conversations that begin online. These match the conversations happening in the physical space starting with preparedness, and then moving to response and lastly, recovery.

When sharing information with the online community, DigiVols are trained experts in getting out the right messages. Whether it is sharing the link to download the free Red Cross tornado app or tips about where current shelters are open, these messages are being seen and people are taking action.

Dig Disaster Response 1

The value of the digital operation can be quantified through numbers. During the response to storms and floods in Texas we measured several things to see how our online communication was being received in the digital space. Some of the important things we look at are how many people take action with the information we share, which many times is looked at under the broad umbrella of “Engagement.”

Dig Disaster Response 2

In just one week @RedCrossDFW saw an average of 23.3k Impressions per day. With an average of 60 people taking action each day to click the links, they were able to access valuable and life-saving information.

One of the most recent examples, showing the value of social media during disaster, is this connection that happened between a deaf family and our casework/recovery team. Digital Volunteers are connecting much needed resources to a family whose only connection to help was through the use of written word.

Dig Disaster Response 3

The digital space continues to evolve, becoming more important and valuable with each passing day. With each new disaster that comes our way, the Red Cross will be here, physically and digitally, providing hope and help to those affected by disaster.

Gail McGovern’s Georgetown Commencement Speech

Earlier this month, Red Cross President and CEO Gail McGovern gave the 2015 commencement speech to McDonough School of Business graduate students at Georgetown University.

She had some great advice to share, and we wanted to share it with you! Hear Gail talk about her five keys to successful leadership and suggest to ask other leaders the same question to pick and choose what points resonate with you personally. Here’s Gail’s start to develop your own leadership style:

  1. Staffing. Effective leaders recruit great peopel to work for them.
  2. Embrace change. If you don’t embrace change, you can’t survive in corporate America. Or in the non-profit world, for that matter.
  3. Be resilient. Everyone is watching you and taking cues. If you don’t project confidence and optimism, it can rattle an organization.
  4. Make decisions purely based on what’s good for the institution.
  5. Effective leaders lead not only with their head, but also with their heart.

Watch her entire speech below.

Giving Day Countdown: One Week Left!

We’re always on the move at the Red Cross, even when disaster aren’t top of mind for everyone across the country. Just this month, Red Cross volunteers provided meals, relief supplies, shelter and helped people begin the recovery process in NepalPhiladelphia and New York, and in numerous states affected by tornadoes and flooding.

We couldn’t be there to help without the generous support of the American public. On June 2, we are asking everyone to make a donation online to the Red Cross for Giving Day. You can even schedule your Giving Day donation today.

Countdown Material

Grab your countdown images off the Giving Day Social Ambassador website (what? You’re not a Social Ambassador yet? Sign up!) or save the images straight from this blog.

(Other image sizes available on the website)

Use Tuesday, May 26:

Alabama tornadoes 2011

Use Wednesday, May 27:

Alabama tornadoes 2011

Use Thursday, May 28:

Alabama tornadoes 2011

Use Friday, May 29:

Alabama tornadoes 2011

Use Saturday, May 30:

Alabama tornadoes 2011

Use Sunday, May 31:

Alabama tornadoes 2011

Use Monday, June 1:

Alabama tornadoes 2011

 

This Memorial Day, Be Their Champion

Every day, the American Red Cross honors the men and women of the United States Armed Forces as they sacrifice their comforts and freedoms to serve our country. This Memorial Day, we take extra time to remember and dedicate our work to those who have fallen in service to our country. Featured in yesterday’s blog post, we are issuing a call to action to our entire community that no veteran dies alone in America because every veteran matters to all Americans.

In honor of those who have fallen, we invite you to join us this Memorial Day in supporting service members, veterans and their families. From May 22 – May 26, you can support the work of the Red Cross Service to the Armed Forces by making a donation using the generosity app from Google’s OneToday website and mobile app (download for free on Google Play or Apple App Stores). This app aims to create a culture of giving every day and lets donors easily give $1 each day to causes and nonprofits that inspire them. Thanks to generous support from SanDisk, your $1 donation will be multiplied by 1x, 10x, 100x, or even 1000x…up to $50,000.

G1TodayWeb

Thank you for supporting the Red Cross Service to the Armed Forces. We are truly honored to serve those who have served us.

5 Safety Tips for Grill Masters Readying to Fire up Their BBQ’s

Post by Kevin Wilkinson, Communications Intern

Memorial Day Social Media Grilling Tip

The beginning of the summer is often filled with numerous ‘firsts’ – the first trip back to the beach, the first cannonball in the pool, the first ice cream truck spotting and the first picnic at the local park. With Memorial Day weekend only days away, Americans are getting ready to honor their veterans and also conquer many of these firsts of the summer season.

While families and friends celebrate the unofficial start of summer, it is also one of the first times that people are firing up their barbecues for the season. Nothing says summer like a hot dog, cheeseburger or corn on the cob fresh off the grill. With that being said, there are a few safety precautions as we head into prime barbecuing season.

Every year people are injured while using charcoal or gas grills. Here are several steps to safely cook up treats for the backyard barbecue:

  1. Always supervise a barbecue grill when in use. 

You don’t want to burn that cheeseburger that’s waiting for you! 

  1. Never grill indoors – not in the house, camper, tent, or any enclosed area.

Take advantage of the beautiful weather and cook outside. 

  1. Make sure everyone, including the pets, stays away from the grill.

Your guests might be hungry but they still have to wait until the food is off the grill to get their hands on it! 

  1. Keep the grill out in the open, away from the house, the deck, tree branches, or anything that could catch fire. 

 Keep the party going and use these safety precautions while cooking. 

  1. Use the long-handled tools especially made for cooking on the grill to keep the chef safe. 

Provide the chef with the right tools to keep their hands safe so they can participate in the post-barbecue volleyball game.  

 

Make sure to also download the Red Cross First Aid App. This free app puts expert advice for everyday emergencies at your fingertips. The app is available for smart phones and tablets.

Every family and group of friends has the one individual who inevitably becomes the grill master for every summer party. Keep the good food coming all summer long and share these safety tips with your party’s grill master.

For more information about getting preparing for and preventing home fires, check out tips and resources from the Home Fire Campaign from the American Red Cross.

Memorial Day: A Time to Remember and an Opportunity to Help

On the last Monday in May, we take time to honor the men and women who died in military service to the United States. Today we’d like you to introduce you to someone who serves U.S. veterans at the last stage of life, day in and out, with the utmost compassion.

Meet Laura, an American Red Cross volunteer with the No Veteran Dies Alone program.

Laura serves in a unique volunteer capacity. By providing comfort and relief to veterans and their families at the end of life, Laura feels as though she’s honoring military members for their service, “They were there for us and we need to be there for them.”

Through the No Veteran Dies Alone program, volunteers sit with veterans, reading or talking to them, playing music and sometimes just holding their hand. They also relieve family members during the stressful final days in hospice care. Laura feels it’s an honor to sit with them during their last hours. “It’s a blessing be there for them at this stage in their lives and I’m so grateful to be able to do it,” said Laura.

Happy Memorial Day Laura and thank you for all you do. You can read more on RedCross.org.

Have a compassionate heart and willing to take a little training? Volunteer with the American Red Cross.

 

The Barton Report: May Podcast

Welcome to The Barton Report, a podcast brought to you by the American Red Cross.

Check Out Education Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with The Barton Report on BlogTalkRadio

Listen here if you have issues with the above player.

This month we’re covering lots of topics to get you ready for this summer. Tune in to hear:

  • A fun Clara Barton fact.
  • Grill safety tips for your Memorial Day weekend.
  • What our “100 days of summer. 100 days of hope.” campaign is all about (hint: it includes an opportunity for you to help save lives!).
  • A volunteer’s story from his deployment to Moore, Oklahoma following the deadly tornadoes in 2013.
  • Swim safety tips as pools across the country open and families head to the beach.

Let us know what you think on Twitter with #TheBartonReport, or shoot us an email at socialmedia@redcross.org.

Until next time! – Beth and Sarah

Special thanks to Audionautix for providing music clips.

QUIZ: Test Your Swim Skills Before You Hit the Pool

You’ve spent years around the water – at the beach, your local pool, or maybe even a backyard pond. You may love splashing around with your floaties, or maybe just tanning on the sidelines. But if you’re in or around the water this summer, have you thought about the five basic swim safety skills that could save your life in the water?

As part of a national campaign to reduce the drowning rate by 50 percent over the next three to five years, the Red Cross released national survey data that shows that most children and teens cannot perform the sequence of all five basic swimming safety skills.

So how do you fare? Take our quiz to find out!

 

“As a water safety instructor, nothing makes my day more than seeing a child who used to be afraid of the water have the confidence to dive into the deep end and swim to the other side,” said Connie Harvey, director of the Red Cross Centennial Initiative. “The Red Cross created the first national water safety program in the U.S. – and today it’s still the gold standard, training more than two million people annually.”

To find classes for your family, contact your local aquatic facility and ask for American Red Cross swimming and water safety programs, or visit redcross.org.