ALLIANCE OF HOPE FOR SUICIDE LOSS SURVIVORS

Providing hope after suicide

aka Alliance of Hope   |   Evanston, IL   |  www.allianceofhope.org

Mission

Kindness matters, and to the more than 800,000 people who lose a loved one to suicide each year, it matters a lot. We provide healing, compassionate support during the lonely and tumultuous aftermath of suicide. Our clinically moderated online survivors' forum and other suicide "postvention" services help people survive suicide loss, and go beyond "just surviving," to lead productive lives filled with meaning and joy.

Ruling year info

2009

Founder & Executive Director

Ms. Ronnie Susan Walker MS, LCPC

Main address

PO Box 7005

Evanston, IL 60201 USA

Show more contact info

Formerly known as

Alliance of Hope for Suicide Survivors

EIN

27-0450906

NTEE code info

Counseling Support Groups (F60)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

As suicide rates increase, so do the number of people left behind needing support. In the U.S., approximately 45 million people have survived a suicide loss. Many say it's the most painful experience of their life, but historically, little attention has been paid to the need for suicide "postvention." Recent studies show that people bereaved by suicide are 80% more likely to drop out of school or quit their job, and 64% more likely to attempt suicide--than individuals grieving sudden loss by natural causes. Suicide "postvention" is prevention. Every day, thousands of people visit our informational website seeking support in the complex emotional aftermath of suicide. Our online forum serves as a 24/7 support group, overseen by a mental health counselor and trained moderators. Every day more than 500 survivors log-on for support. It's often the ONLY source of support for people in rural areas, and many survivors call it their "lifeline." Our goal is that no survivor go without support.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Clinically Moderated Online Forum

Our Community Forum (http://forum.allianceofhope.org) operates like a 24/7 support group. It hosts thousands of suicide loss survivors from around the world, and the largest database of the loss survivor experience. It includes discussion boards designed for specific challenges and types of loss. It is tended by a licensed mental health counselor and trained team of 25 moderators and stewards who are themselves survivors. They provide information and hope, and bear witness to survivors’ stories without judging.

Population(s) Served

Through our online presence (www.allianceofhope.org), hundreds of thousands of people have accessed the Alliance of Hope to understand and cope with the complex emotional aftermath of suicide. Our site includes information for new survivors, support resources, a bookstore, blog, and memorials.

Population(s) Served

We provide phone and video consultations for new survivors by a trained trauma and loss counselor, for those who cannot find support in their area.

Population(s) Served

Where we work

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Motivated by the need for kindness ... the comfort that comes with understanding ... and a deep commitment to service ... AOH
provides 24/7 healing, compassionate support, and a community of care to those who are suffering through the lonely and
tumultuous aftermath of the suicide of a loved one.

Our healing services and community of kindness help people move beyond the desperate time of mere surviving, where
putting one foot in front of the other may be considered the day’s accomplishment, to lives filled with purpose, joy, and
increased compassion for others who have also experienced great loss.

Goal #1: Secure sufficient funding to enable AOH to meet designated needs and advance its mission and goals.

Strategies:
a) Create and implement a framework of fundraising best practices to expand donor base.
b) Create messaging to clearly articulate how AOH is operated and funded.
c) Raise sufficient funds to be able to hire staff to address demand for expanded services.
d) Leverage the 10th anniversary year to support fundraising efforts. (Feb 2018-Feb 2019)
e) Identify and pursue large individual donors and potential corporate/association support.

Goal #2: Ensure sufficient human resources – both paid staff and volunteers – to advance AOH’s mission.

AOH seeks to hire additional paid staff and/or volunteers to support expanded services. This will allow current staff to focus on strategic and future-oriented issues that need attention, including strengthening and sustaining current services and operations and developing new services.

Strategies:
a) Identify new areas of responsibility that require additional staff (or volunteers).
b) Utilize volunteers to support current and expanded services.
c) Hire 1-2 additional staff members.

Goal #3: Ensure the sustainability of AOH.

Sustainability is an obligation of AOH to the community it serves. It is essential to our ability to provide ongoing services, and supported by the funding and staffing goals above. AOH will create structures and seek resources that will sustain and expand the services of the organization.

Strategies:
a) Identify people and other resources to help implement the Strategic Plan and Action Plan.
b) Document information necessary to sustain AOH’s unique community and healing culture.
This would include procedures, practices, and policies, and ultimately result in creation of
an AOH operations manual.
d) Compile key AOH documents for ready access by the Board.
e) Continue new website development and implementation.

Goal #4: Provide services that are most helpful to suicide loss survivors, consistent with AOH’s mission.

The services that AOH provides are of excellent quality, and AOH seeks to maintain that quality. It
also seeks to identify and train additional moderators for the Forum. In addition, AOH seeks to
identify new services to support survivors of suicide loss.

Strategies:
a) Ensure quality of current services, including moderation of the forum. The forum operates as
a 24/7 peer-based support group.
b) Identify new services that AOH could offer and develop a budget for same.
c) Identify and train new moderators.
d) Provide ongoing training for current moderators.


Goal #5: Identify and recruit board members who can advance the mission and goals of AOH.

AOH seeks to add board members to ensure broad representation of the community it serves.

Strategies:

a) Determine what skills/experience are most needed in new board members.
b) Identify potential board members.
c) Recruit board members and provide orientation materials.

AOH accomplishes its mission in five main ways --

• The AOH Community Forum: a free and clinically moderated online support community that provides 24/7/365 grief
support to suicide loss survivors worldwide. A licensed mental health counselor and trained team of 25 moderators
tend the site.

• The AOH Website: The AOH website has hosted more than 8 million visits since 2008, when AOH was founded.

• The AOH Facebook Page and Blog: The AOH Facebook page and blog publishes 30 essays and messages of support
each month.

• AOH Skype and Phone Consultations for New Survivors: These AOH services are supported by a trained trauma and
loss counselor. They are specifically designed for those who cannot find support in their areas.

• AOH Information Services: AOH responds to hundreds of calls and email requests for information and support from
survivors, clinicians, students, media, and the public.

2019 Accomplishments

a. Community forum:
- Served 2,000 new survivors. We now host 17,000 “registered” members, with thousands more “guests” visiting to read.
- Completed major upgrade to new forum platform.
- Rebuilt forum sponsorship app to comply with new platform requirements.

b. Website (in first year since launch of new site):
- 175K+ unique users – 85% are new visitors
- Average of 500 users a day.
- Accessed by over 175 countries.
- Users spend over 5 minutes on the site and look at between 4-7 pages on average.
- Most popular content: Blog, Find Support (Supporting Children & Teens after a Suicide Death), Find Support – multiple pages

c. Conducted our 4th Annual Survey.
- 574 participants. Nearly all report that someone they cared about died by suicide.
- 90% lost the closest person in their life.
- 94% describe their grief in the initial aftermath as very, extremely, or totally debilitating; 47% describe it as totally debilitating.
- 75% found AOH within a few months after their loss; 40% within a few weeks.
- 57% visit the Forum daily or more than once a day.
- 59% don’t have convenient access to an in-person suicide loss group.
- 29% are unable to find a counselor who understands suicide loss.
- 99% rate AOH’s support as extremely, very or somewhat helpful.

d. Trained funeral directors to better serve those bereaved by suicide.
- Exhibited at 2019 National Funeral Directors Association International Convention.
- Trained 100 future funeral directors at Worsham College of Mortuary Science.

e. Conducted social media campaigns that reached hundreds of thousands of people.

f. Distributed “Hope after Suicide” brochure to thousands of survivors through first responders, funeral homes, support groups, and suicide prevention organizations.

g. Continued to respond to inquiries from individuals seeking support.

- Provided free (15-30) minute support sessions to approx. 100 people, to help them locate resources.
- Conducted 80 counseling sessions for new survivors.

h. Assisted researchers and reporters. The 2019 Wall Street Journal story: "As Suicides Rise, More Attention Turns to the People Left Behind," is one of the best mainstream news pieces we’ve seen written about the survivor experience.

i. Gave keynote speech to 1,000 loss survivors at Catholic Charities “Blossoms of Hope” 40th Annual event in Chicago.

Financials

ALLIANCE OF HOPE FOR SUICIDE LOSS SURVIVORS
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
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ALLIANCE OF HOPE FOR SUICIDE LOSS SURVIVORS

Board of directors
as of 1/27/2020
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Ms. Melanie Kenderdine

Jennifer Shadur

Shadur Consulting

Ronnie Walker

Alliance of Hope

Melanie Kenderdine

Energy Futures Initiative

John McIntosh, Ph.D.

Professor Emeritus of Psychology at Indiana University - South Bend

Stephen Shannon

Trans-matic Mfg

Donna Soule

Ellen Karp

Swedish Covenant Health

Don Belau, Ph.D.

Campbell & Assoc. LOSS Team Trainers

Lauren Bavlsik