Ways You Can Support VFB

Although VFB can always use financial support, that is far from the only way to help the organization. Here are some other ideas.

VFB has an unpaid internship program. Internships are available either to individuals who are blind and have no employment experience or people who have not worked since the time they lost their sight. Interns in both these categories could benefit from hardware and software to help them achieve full computer literacy.

VFB has organization related commitments in areas which are inaccessible by public transportation. Even when the president can get there by bus or train, she must often carry materials which are cumbersome to manage. One way to support VFB is to be a volunteer driver. Because VFB is a 501 C 3 organization, under at least some circumstances, a tax deduction is possible.

VFB has extremely limited financial resources at this point. It could benefit from donated office supplies and equipment. Paper is an example. Materials for consumers who require large print go out in 28 point type. That requires a lot of paper! Other paper products especially appreciated are totally enclosed colorful presentation folders and large mailing envelopes.

Many consumers can read neither print nor Braille. Especially elderly people are not comfortable with electronic communications. One way to provide them materials is by recording information on cassettes. Donation of a tape duplicator would make this easy and efficient.

VFB wants to introduce itself to the city of Fredericksburg. Later, if there is interest and need, VFB hopes to expand its services to neighboring areas of Stafford and Spotsylvania counties. The organization wants to inform consumers about services it provides and explain how to receive them. In addition, VFB wants the community to be aware of this new opportunity to be a volunteer reader or shopping assistant. One method of accomplishing this would be an invitation to speak to and meet with as many local organizations as possible. A way to support VFB is to introduce the president to people who are responsible for planning programs at meetings or looking for speakers.

VFB is a small organization which cannot yet afford to retain an attorney, insurance company or accountant. Often, the organization can benefit from legal or financial advice in order to make prudent decisions.

Although VFB's president is an experienced writer and editor, she would be extremely appreciative of assistance obtaining grants. She is not necessarily searching for someone to write a grant for her. If someone could donate time to work closely with her and guide her through the process, this form of support would be an invaluable contribution to the organization's efforts to obtain necessary funding for its services and programs.

One of the most important ways to support VFB is to be a volunteer reader or shopping assistant. VFB seeks individuals willing either to make a weekly commitment of two hours or help out on an as needed basis.

VFB has, in its budget, provisions for an administrative assistant. However, there might be occasions when she takes a vacation or has personal emergencies which necessitate time away from
work. When this occurs, it is still critical, for the organization's uninterrupted professional operation, to read the president's business mail for her regularly and promptly. Although the president communicates through email, she does not work with attachments or graphics. She can reproduce some materials independently but others require careful monitoring so the thick paper used for brochures does not get caught in the printer. The president is computer literate, but too many web sites are still inaccessible to her through her synthetic speech program. Volunteer assistance is invaluable in these areas in the absence of an administrative assistant.

VFB has two fund raising projects. One is the sale of emergency survival kits. VFB's survival kit order form describes them in detail.
The other fund raising project is a wonderful collaboration between VFB and Shaklee Corporation. Shaklee has a special program to assist non-profit organizations. VFB produced a flat flier and a tri-fold brochure describing this partnership. Jenny McKenzie, VFB's staff artist played a significant role in creating these publications. Ms. McKenzie, who drew all the artwork, is deaf blind and has cerebral palsy. You can learn more about VFB's collaboration with Shaklee, and how you can help, by visiting the special web site set up for this purpose. It is supportvfb.myshaklee.com.

If you choose to contribute financially, your donation might enable VFB to purchase a refreshable Braille display, Braille embosser and translation software to operate it. Your contribution might make it possible for VFB to buy software which produces synthetic speech or a program which provides screen magnification. Your donation might provide funds to pay an adaptive technology trainer to assist the interns to utilize their hardware and software as effectively as possible. Alternatively, your contribution might enable VFB to have a paid internship program.
In addition to cash, VFB can work with checks or money orders payable to Volunteers for the Blind. The mailing address is Volunteers for the Blind, 1101 Caroline Street, Suite 1, Fredericksburg, Virginia 22401.

VFB, Inc., a charitable organization is in compliance with the Virginia Solicitation of Contributions law. Its financial statement is available, upon written request, from the Office of Consumer Affairs.

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