A friend asks for my opinion whether he should buy the million $ house of his dreams. The dream house has everything my friend has always wanted and he can afford it. Without hesitating, I respond with an unequivocal, “No”. Seemingly surprised by my quick response, my friend asks for an explanation.
Of course, my friend knows this already, but life is made up of 2 things that we should cherish: amazing experiences and serving others. Accumulating fancy cars and houses and other stuff will not make you happy in the long-run. Sure, you feel good driving off the dealer’s lot with a Lamborghini, but 6 weeks later you realize that your dream car is nothing more than a large chunk of metal.
What if, instead, you used your career for serving others. I know, you already get great results for your clients, but that’s what you’re paid to do. Think about a cause that you’re passionate about and spend the rest of your life striving to make a difference. Sounds good, but where do you begin?
What Are You Fighting For?
Get behind something you truly believe in. What are the causes that you are fighting for right now? St. Louis immigration attorney, Jim Hacking, Esq., fights for the rights of Muslim immigrants to become citizens, often against the prejudice of government bureaucrats. Social media guru, Mitch Jackson, Esq., wages a war against distracted driving.
My firm’s purpose of “Stopping Medical Injustice”, but few things are more important to me than suicide prevention. The mission of our program, “Out of the Shadows: Surviving Suicide”, is to support, advocate and educate family, friends, the public and persons with serious mental illness.
As part of our program, we will hold a symposium about suicide prevention featuring experts in psychiatry and families affected by suicide. We will hold the symposium near a college campus and invite everyone to attend the symposium. The idea is simple: for those suffering from depression and at risk for suicide, there are resources and professionals willing to help you.
We invite mental health organizations to co-sponsor the symposium and link to our website featuring the symposium. As part of our link-building campaign, we ask for links from sponsors, such as the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and other suicide prevention organizations.
Leaving Your Mark on the World
On the day of the symposium, we will choose the winner of “Anthony’s Scholarship”, a scholarship that is primarily intended for students. Applicants must submit a 500-1,000 word article with thoughtful ideas for reducing the risk of suicide or helping families recover from the suicide of a loved one.
The nomination page for the scholarship tells the story of Anthony Banhart’s life.
Anthony P. Banhart, 30, of Unadilla, New York, passed away at his home on Wednesday, April 6, 2011.
The biggest loves of Anthony’s life were his daughters. Anthony was very caring and giving and was always there when you needed him. Anthony was a momma’s boy.
Tragically, Anthony’s death was preventable. 3 days before his death, Anthony was taken by police to the emergency department of a hospital after a suicide note was discovered at his home. Family members and members of the police warned the hospital personnel that Anthony had plans to end his life and desperately needed emergency medical and psychiatric treatment.
Anthony never got the treatment he so badly needed. Without seeing a psychologist or psychiatrist, Anthony was released from the emergency department with no plan for follow up treatment and took his own life 3 days later. With proper medical and psychiatric treatment, Anthony would likely be alive today.
Suicide is the leading cause of preventable death in our country. Sadly, those suffering from depression and mental health illnesses are often neglected or under-treated in our health system. This needs to change.
Anthony’s Scholarship was created to educate and provide resources to those suffering from suicidal ideation and depression and their families. Our mission is to save at least one life from suicide.
If you know someone who has been affected by suicide or survived suicide, we’d love to hear your story. Anthony’s Scholarship was established to help save lives from suicide and we are grateful for your help.
How to Create a Unique Scholarship on your Website
As part of your scholarship program, you create a nomination page that explains the terms and conditions of your scholarship and you ask universities and organizations to link to the nomination page on your website. But don’t do a scholarship just for links to your website—do this only if you have a cause that you are madly passionate about.
Ask applicants to submit a 500-1,000 word essay as part of their application. Essays should be submitted on your website and this will create more content for your website. You might ask applicants to write an essay:
- Do you know someone who has attempted suicide or committed suicide? Are you willing to share your experience?
- What can be done to reduce the risk of suicide?
- What are the best long-term strategies for helping those recover from the death of a loved one from suicide?
- Share your insights from the “Golden Gate Bridge” study.
Schedule quarterly deadlines for the scholarship to increase interest and increase the monetary value of the scholarship, e.g., $1k. The majority of applications will be submitted within a week of the deadline for submission.
7 Simple Steps to Promote Your Scholarship
The nomination page for the scholarship on your website should be simple:
#1: Eliminate the pop-up ads from the nomination page, e.g., live chat, this is off-putting. Eliminate all distractions, such as a side bar, e.g., "sign up for our newsletter".
#2: Link to testimonials on your website that are relevant to the scholarship, e.g., case results involving suicide,
#3: Create a video explaining the "why" of your scholarship. Have a client share a story, e.g., Anthony’s mother, sharing their experience with suicide.
#4: Identify local organizations who might identify with your cause and contact organizations with whom you have a relationship. Through email and phone calls, reach out to universities and organizations that have similar programs for suicide prevention.
#5: Conduct a mini-symposium with speakers, e.g., “Out of the Shadows: Surviving Suicide”, at a university or mental health organization.
#6: Promote the scholarship on your personal and law firm’s social media channels.
#7: Show you care by having your staff volunteer at a suicide prevention hotline, e.g., “Helpline”, the crisis hotline founded by Normal Vincent Peale.
The Secret Weapon for Your Website
As part of your scholarship program, you will reach out to universities and organizations and ask them to link to the nomination page for the scholarship on your website. This is a great way to get valuable back-lines to your website from top-ranking websites of universities.
When your website has backlinks from government and educational websites, Google perceives your website as credible and authoritative. With high quality backlinks from major educational institutions, your website’s ranking on the search results goes up and so does the traffic to your website.
When our firm’s suicide prevention scholarship began, we had no backlinks from .edu websites. Today, as a result of our out-reach campaign, we’ve acquired 23 backlinks from universities with high-ranking.edu websites. This, my friends, is what Google wants.
Getting links is great, but there’s more to our suicide prevention campaign than website traffic. We want to make a difference for a cause that means a lot to me…and there’s no reason you can’t do the same. There’s only one question for you: What are you fighting for?