Civil Rights, Social Action, Advocacy

Psychiatric Service Dog Partners

Dogs Saving Lives

Rock Hill, SC   |  https://www.psychdogpartners.org

Mission

Psychiatric Service Dog Partners' purpose is to promote the mental health of people using service dogs for psychiatric disabilities by educating, advocating, providing expertise, facilitating peer support, and promoting responsible service dog training and handling.

Ruling year info

2015

President

Veronica Morris PhD

Main address

1651 Sandpiper Drive

Rock Hill, SC 29732 USA

Show more addresses

EIN

47-3386023

Cause area (NTEE code) info

Disabled Persons' Rights (R23)

IRS filing requirement

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

Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Mental health disabilities have a striking and widespread presence, affecting not just those with the diagnosis, but their family, social, and economic networks. Medication and therapy aren't always enough. That's where psychiatric service dogs come in!

Service dogs provide a life-saving option to relieve some of these diagnosed individuals and their networks, and to re-integrate the person into society. The trouble is that there are so many wrong ways to go about it. We do our best to steer hundreds of thousands in the right direction each year, leaning on both group wisdom from peers and honed expertise from our leaders.

We also sharply aim to reduce ignorance and answer pressing questions about service dogs for the general public and businesses. There is a great deal of misinformation available, so we point to primary sources and use sober reasoning to help people find the information and resources for which they're searching.

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?

Peer Guidance Group/Listserv

In our psychiatric service dog peer guidance group, people who have trained their own psychiatric service dogs help others with advice and feedback about dog training and the service dog lifestyle. PSDP’s peer guidance group is free and takes the form of a listserv. The listserv is a great source of support and friendship. The founders of PSDP wouldn’t have gotten together had they not connected via a listserv. You can get advice on any subject related to service dogs, from how to train a work or task item, to how to interact with the public, to how to travel with your service dog, etc. Participation in the listserv requires a screening; it is open to those who have, have had, or plan to have a psychiatric service dog.

Population(s) Served
People with psychosocial disabilities
People with disabilities
Budget
$206

PSDP gives invited presentations to community groups about psychiatric service dogs, educates businesses regarding their rights and responsibilities toward service dog users, conducts employee training sessions, and provides written, teleconferencing, and in-person consultation to the general public, businesses, healthcare facilities, and government agencies. We scale our outreach activities to what is allowed by our budget after other fixed-cost core activities have funds secured. When donors invest more, we increase the public good more!

Population(s) Served
General/Unspecified
People with disabilities
Budget
$235

PSDP holds an annual convention for psychiatric service dog teams and their family members. This transformative, personal experience is limited to 30 registrants, with scholarships available as donations and sponsorships allow. Past conventions have included first responder training with an ambulance and its crew, access challenge roleplaying, circle discussions on topics such as "Preparing for service dog transitions" and "Mitigating your disability" (which participants find invaluable!), and plenty of social time and downtime.

Population(s) Served
People with psychosocial disabilities
Caregivers
Budget
$4,125

We feel confident our website is the nonprofit leader in service dog-related education—not just *psychiatric* service dog—for those with disabilities, the general public, and businesses. When we're not trailblazing, we routinely refer visitors to primary sources to ensure accuracy. We also regularly update our site to reflect the latest developments in service dog law and cutting-edge, in-house articles.

Population(s) Served
People with disabilities
General/Unspecified
Budget
$206

Rather than having an expensive office and paid staff in DC, PSDP's volunteer leaders sometimes travel to lobby legislators or brief executive agencies. We also work hard to develop coalitions among other service dog groups and communities, because we can get a lot more done when we fight together for common causes.

Population(s) Served
People with disabilities
People with psychosocial disabilities
Budget
$1,396

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of unique website visitors

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Authoritative Educational Website

Type of Metric

Input - describing resources we use

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

2015 website analytics recording began July 1st (6 months). 2018 began a decline due to an undetectable third-party SEO plugin failure.

Number of return website visitors

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Authoritative Educational Website

Type of Metric

Input - describing resources we use

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

2015 website analytics recording began July 1st (6 months). 2018 began an apparent decline due to an undetectable third-party SEO plugin failure and analytics issues following a move to a secure site.

Number of website sessions

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Authoritative Educational Website

Type of Metric

Input - describing resources we use

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

2015 website analytics recording began July 1st (6 months). 2018 began a decline due to an undetectable third-party SEO plugin failure.

Number of new website visitors

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Authoritative Educational Website

Type of Metric

Input - describing resources we use

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

2015 website analytics recording began July 1st (6 months). 2018 began a decline due to an undetectable third-party SEO plugin failure.

Number of website pageviews

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Authoritative Educational Website

Type of Metric

Input - describing resources we use

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

2015 website analytics recording began July 1st (6 months) 2018 began a decline due to an undetectable third-party SEO plugin failure.

Number of contact requests returned

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Outreach Activities (public and corporate education and advocacy)

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

People contact us in many ways. Some just want info about service dogs, but often they want to join our Peer Guidance Group. They all get a call (or email)!

Number of Peer Guidance Group members

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Peer Guidance Group/Listserv

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

The 2013 number is from Oct. 7th, and 2015 is from Aug. 24th. 2014 & 2017 are each averages between the 2 bookending years. The 2016 number is from Sept. 4th.

Average convention survey rating

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Service Dog Convention

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

These ratings are on a 5-point scale, but the # field does not allow a decimal point. For instance, in 2018 it's 4.815/5, not 4,815/5! We did not have a convention in 2020 due to the pandemic.

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Charting impact

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

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

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

Psychiatric Service Dog Partners' purpose is to promote the mental health of people using service dogs for psychiatric disabilities by educating, advocating, providing expertise, facilitating peer support, and promoting responsible service dog training and handling.<br/><br/>Our goals to achieve this mission include: (1) Expanding and revising the content and resources available to the public on our website and through social media to satisfy the different needs of those with psychiatric disabilities and those who, for example, need to understand their business's obligations, (2) Effecting positive political change in ways that are just for those with disabilities and everyone else, (3) Responsively serving the peer support needs of those with mental health disabilities involved with psychiatric service dogs, (4) Providing in-person meetings for peer support and service dog training facilitation that are as accessible to and successful for our population as they can be.<br/><br/>These goals are aimed at helping those with mental health disabilities to engage with the world in healthy ways they might not otherwise, promoting not only their growth but the growth of their broader communities.

Our strategies are in line with our enumerated goals above: (1) We are in a continuous state of brainstorming and drafting articles and other content for our website; we regularly produce such resources and announce them through social media. We employ Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools, as well as regular peer guidance group/listserv surveys, to discern the needs and desires of our community and the greater public. We adjust our focus toward producing those resources that best align with consumer needs and our capabilities. (2) Our leadership stays connected with federal regulators, state disability rights groups, and other advocates. These connections enable us to remain alert to political proposals involving service animals and disabilities, and we thereby may nimbly respond when bills are drafted or regulations proposed. We submit well-researched, well-reasoned, fair-to-all-sides comments on these issues, encouraging our community members and others to do the same. We also actively work toward coalitions and community solidarity so our intertwined causes can pull more weight toward common goals. (3) Our peer guidance group/listserv leadership enforces well-forged rules for a safe community. They have also been regularly enlisting the help and feedback of other members through interpersonal communication and group surveys, allowing them to continuously adapt in ways the community requires and is best served by. (4) The crown jewel of our year is our annual convention for psychiatric service dog handlers. This allows for a depth of development and support not afforded by online means. As much as possible, we try to provide scholarships so that various members of the community are able to attend and our conventions are better for the diversity. We also try always to repeat the successful strategies we've learned and carve out any less helpful aspects of past conventions.

An all-volunteer board of directors runs Psychiatric Service Dog Partners. Each member of the board is either psychiatrically disabled, physically disabled, or both, bringing both insight and passion. These qualities have directed the board in its multiple collective decades of leadership in psychiatric service dog related nonprofits. As above, we will enumerate our capabilities in line with our enumerated goals: (1) Everyone on the board contributes to the production of website content—as do other community members—as each person has unique insights to offer. Many of the articles have been drafted or edited by a board member who taught critical reasoning and persuasive writing to students at a top university with great success. Many have also been drafted by another board member with research and teaching experience from earning her PhD, also at a top university. Beyond academic credentials, each board member brings experience to bear on our content that immeasurably strengthens it and increases its popular appeal, keeping us relatably grounded. (2) It is difficult for a small group to follow the relevant political developments of a single nation, let alone many. We rely not only on technology, but also on informants to keep apprised of these developments. In service of these relationships, we continue to grow in our peer groups' esteem as board members give individual and joint presentations, such as with Disability Rights California and at guide dog conferences. We have also been developing a powerful reputation as a group to contact when a letter needs to be written to create change. Our board members' research, reasoning, and writing capabilities are perfectly suited to engaging in this process. (3) Our peer guidance group/listserv leadership has been providing a safe, supportive environment for members of psychiatric service dog listservs for over a decade. Our survey and oft-received non-survey feedback afford us opportunities to respond to the developing needs and desires of our community members. We have explanatory pages and a contact form on our website, and our all-volunteer staff speedily returns listserv inquiries. (4) Our annual convention is planned so that in the absence of external financial support, the low registration fee can be used to fully finance the convention. Extra support/donations allow us to offer scholarships for deserving individuals who may not be able to attend without facing economic hardships. We are experienced at negotiating the right location for the right price.

Again, our responses here will be in keeping with the goals enumerated above: (1) An indicator for steady progress on our website content is at least four new items within a six-month period. We also must assess website user-friendliness at least once while making these additions. Longer-term, we employ strategies that continue to move our website up in search engine ranking for key search terms. Similarly, we aim to improve our numbers for visitors, sessions, pageviews, bounce rate, time on website, etc. (2) We are successful in effecting political change when our comments and communications result in changes to legislative and regulatory drafts in line with our recommendations. We are also successful when we are able to dissuade members of the public from supporting efforts that are more harmful than helpful to disability rights and the betterment of our society. A final measure of our advocacy and outreach success is positive feedback and increased engagement from fellow members of the service dog and disability rights communities. (3) When we receive stories (usually unsolicited) of how the peer guidance group/listserv has assisted someone take care of themself and engage with the world again, the listserv has one more win to count. We always strive to serve those who can use our assistance, and so some metrics here are increasing the number of people screened for and on the listserv. However, listservs have a high turnover rate, so our more direct indicators of success are productive member interaction and little need for rule enforcement action. (4) We survey convention participants on qualitative and quantitative aspects of their convention experience. Indicators of success here involve high ratings and praise, the lack of significant complaint, and participants attempting to attend subsequent conventions.

Again, our responses here are in line with the goals enumerated above: (1) We have provided well above four new website items in the past six months. We have also assessed website user-friendliness and made appropriate changes, which we continue to keep an eye on. Our search engine rankings have increased through the methodical use of search engine optimization software and systemwide strategies. We plan to use data and feedback to update our site organization so it is more effective at providing the assistance people need. All of these specific points are just to say that we are making excellent progress toward better addressing and serving the public through our website, and that we are well-poised and progressing toward ramping up that progress. (2) We have had many successes regarding political change. Among these are stopping a harmful service dog standards development process in Canada and staying in contact with USDOT about flight access law updates. We conducted a 926-response survey at DOT's request for data, the results from which we are using to advocate for updates that end disability-based discrimination and help in other ways. We have had more partners in tracking political change join us to keep us informed, and we are continuing our relationships with other organizations to bring the solidarity movement forward. This all means that as much as we are able, we are making wonderful progress at shaping a just political landscape for everyone. (3) Our peer guidance group continuously receives stories along the lines found in our "Personal Impact" and "Work & Task Stories" sections of our website (links below). These kinds of stories are our great and uplifting joy. We are also happy to report an average of one rule enforcement action a month, signaling that the community remains safe. http://www.psychdogpartners.org/can-help/personal-impact http://www.psychdogpartners.org/resources/work-tasks/work-task-stories (4) The last results compiled from our anonymous convention survey ranked the overall convention at 4.6 out of 5. Comments have included “Thank you so much for the best part of my year!" & “I can't wait for the next one!", and we had no significantly negative remarks. At least 70% of the participants have been to a previous convention. Past planning had revealed many opportunities for improvement, so we have conscientiously striven to improve each time over about a decade of planning this kind of event. This has positioned us well to incorporate new, pandemic-related safety protocols when we are able to hold our next convention. We love to hold our annual convention, and the participants clearly love to attend! Convention-goers find the education and memories invaluably helpful and inspiring.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is the organization collecting feedback?

    We regularly collect feedback through: electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), focus groups or interviews (by phone or in person), suggestion box/email.

  • How is the organization using feedback?

    We use feedback to: to identify and remedy poor client service experiences, to identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, to make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, to inform the development of new programs/projects, to strengthen relationships with the people we serve.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    We share feedback with: the people we serve, our staff, our board, our funders, regulators, legislators, and disability rights attorneys.

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to: it is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback.

  • What significant change resulted from feedback

    We are developing new safety protocols for our conventions based on community concerns about the pandemic.

Financials

Psychiatric Service Dog Partners
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Operations

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

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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Psychiatric Service Dog Partners

Board of directors
as of 7/16/2020
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Veronica Morris, PhD

Elaine Malkin

Bradley Morris

Linden Gue

Heather Walker

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Keywords

psychiatric service dog, mental illness, disability rights