Each mission-driven organization is on a journey, whether a day or decade old. This article is part of our “Lessons from Leaders” program, which is designed to offer help from those who’ve faced the same challenges you do now – whether it’s creating an online presence, engaging with communities, fundraising, best practices or other issues. We hope these short essays will help you on your journey – and that someday you’ll offer your own perspectives to help the next generation of mission-driven organizations.
Regardless of their size, mission-based organizations need to find ways to increase awareness of their organization, increase donations, find volunteers, and otherwise educate the public on its mission and goals. This seems obvious but takes a lot of work. So how can organizations effectively market themselves?
Small grassroots organizations like Kayla Cares 4 Kids typically don’t have the resources to manage marketing and branding. Yet, if you look at Kayla Cares 4 Kids’ website, you will see plenty of national and local news articles and TV interviews, photos, awards, and letters of recognition. How was this accomplished?
It doesn’t hurt to have a compelling story. Kayla Cares 4 Kids was founded by Kayla Abramowitz, who began the organization at age 11. In an effort to help sick children feel better, Kayla began collecting entertainment and educational items to donate to children’s hospitals nationwide. She was inspired to create her .ORG after being hospitalized for a chronic condition herself. Since 2013, Kayla Cares 4 Kids has donated over 34,000 items to more than 450 children’s hospitals, Ronald McDonald Houses, and related medical facilities in all 50 states, Washington D.C., and Puerto Rico.
“The key to successful marketing and public relations for small, mission-based organizations is wash, rinse and repeat,” according to Andrea Abramowitz, Kayla Cares 4 Kids’ CEO. “Don’t give up if your results don’t happen on the first try – adjust, fine tune, and keep going.”
There are also a lot of marketing tools available online. Andrea suggests taking advantage of online or in-person programs and seminars. She also suggests reaching out to subject matter experts who can assist in the marketing of a mission-based organization. Importantly, just as marketing should not be static, neither should the marketing educational process—it should be ongoing. Organizations need to stay on top of new marketing trends and ideas, and be on the lookout for opportunities to continue their marketing education.
“Marketing should be coupled with strategic public relations,” Abramowitz added. “Every time Kayla Cares 4 Kids makes a significant donation or wins an award, a press release goes out.”
In sum, a small organization’s marketing efforts should not be dictated by the size of its organization. Like Kayla Cares 4 Kids, small organizations can and should expand their brand by using every resource available to not only learn how to market their organizations, but also to deliver their messages to the broadest audience.
Kayla Cares 4 Kids is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to help sick kids feel better by providing entertainment and educational items to medical facilities and supporting organizations nationwide. To date, Kayla Cares 4 Kids has donated more than 34,000 items, including DVDs, books, game consoles, video games, DVD players, handheld electronics, games, puzzles, and arts and crafts, to 450 children’s hospitals and Ronald McDonald Houses in all 50 states, plus Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. More information about Kayla Cares 4 Kids and its programs can be found at https://kaylacares4kids.org .