The Perspective of Two Volunteer HopeCoaches
Note: this case for support was first prepared in June 2014. June 2016 updates are shown in red.
First, let me emphasize that Debbie and I receive no compensation from TheHopeLine. We volunteer for and donate to TheHopeLine because we believe in what they do. However, that doesn’t mean that you should too. We invite you to consider for yourself why TheHopeLine is worthy of your support.
- Our youth are in trouble. With the advent of social media and the Internet, today’s youth face stress and decisions that older generations in their developmental years did not face. Statistics show that 8 percent of all high school students have attempted suicide. When the pressure mounts, young people are looking for a way out. Suicide has become an all-too-popular way out. In 2015 alone, TheHopeLine intervened in the lives of over 4,500 young people who were struggling with suicidal thoughts. Your contribution can save lives.
- A listening ear to any problem. TheHopeLine doesn’t simply address suicide. It deals with any problem, whether it be abuse, relationship issues, bullying, self-harm, or other addictions, and attempts to triage the situation and refer callers/chatters for longer-term support from issue-appropriate resources. TheHopeLine is a go-to place for youth struggling with any number of issues. Your contribution to TheHopeLine helps make it free to the people who need it most, and who could not otherwise afford to get the help.
- TheHopeLine stands for right values and clear thinking. TheHopeLine’s website is full of resources that help set youth on the right track. and its message of right values and clear thinking is spread over the airwaves and one on one with callers/chatters. Although the organization is faith-based, it respects all callers/chatters and always asks for their permission before sharing any Scripture or prayer. Coaches do their best to help anyone who reaches out, regardless of whether they opt in for spiritual counsel. We meet them right where they are.
- Maximize the reach of your contribution dollar. TheHopeLine is using state-of-the-art technology to reach, rescue, and restore hurting teens and young adults. When you leverage radio and Internet, you are able to accomplish much on a relatively small budget. TheHopeLine has the infrastructure to reach young people where they are, at the other end of their mobile phones, computers, and radios. A footnote in the organization’s 2013 audited financial statements explains well how it works. To read it, click here. In 2015, the organization recorded expenses of $3.3 million, roughly $450,000 of which were donated services. So, for a cash outlay of $2.85 million, it handled 52,000 interactions with troubled youth all over North America (and beyond) and educated countless others with the content spread through its airwaves and website. This seems like a favorable cost/benefit proposition to us.
- The organization is run with transparency and accountability. TheHopeLine is supported entirely by private dollars. I (Tim) go back many years as a donor to this organization, and have read their audited financials on an annual basis. I think they do well with very limited resources. They are accredited by the ECFA (Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability), which accredits member organizations who comply with seven standards of stewardship. Debbie and I visited TheHopeLine’s headquarters in the summer of 2011. What we found was an open door—open to suggestions, willing to share their challenges, and wanting to make a pair of donors feel like they were a part of the organization and its mission. In July 2015, we relocated to the area to lend assistance as needed and as we’re able. The above comments are still applicable.
- An extension of the local church. TheHopeLine is staffed by committed Christians who are active in local churches. Furthermore, dozens of churches support the organization financially. TheHopeLine is like the hospital emergency room, with doors always open for people in crisis. HopeCoaches encourage youth to connect with local resources whenever available. However, many callers/chatters are struggling with secrets that they are more inclined to tell a stranger at the other end of a phone call or chat window than they are to tell someone who they may know, or who may know others where they live. Many more callers/chatters would never seek out a church as a first step to getting help. TheHopeLine supports the mission of local churches by reaching youth who are not inclined to plug in locally, at least at the outset. If the youth respond well and progress to recovery and restoration, a local church will often become a part of their healing process.
- The testimonial evidence is compelling. Perhaps the most compelling reason to contribute to TheHopeLine is the testimonials from youth who have benefited. Debbie and I hear it first-hand on a regular basis, and it is music to our ears. Check out a few snippets heard on TheHopeLine:
“I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders.”
“I feel better now.”
“It’s amazing how an hour-long chat has helped me more than five years of counseling…”
“Thank you so much for your help.”
“TheHopeLine saved my life.”
“I’m so glad I found TheHopeLine.”
To see how a chat interaction on TheHopeLine works, here is a transcript of an actual chat with an 18-year-old girl from Australia.
- Become a part of the solution. Are you on the sidelines while others are perishing? Your donation to TheHopeLine is an easy, yet difference-making, way to participate. Won’t you join us? Pledge your financial commitment here.
For more on the organization from the perspective of a hope coach, check out this article by Jim Ash in The Main Street Journal, a local newspaper in Marlborough, Massachusetts.
Here’s a video with HopeCoach David Dees, who describes a dramatic call that he took at TheHopeLine.