Award winning communications - strengthening philanthropic leadership
May 31st, 2008I am an avid reader of anything relating to social and economic trends, philanthropy, leadership, popular culture and strengthening communities. Okay so popular culture seems out of place but in truth it isn't! It provides some amusement and diversion and mostly provides a handle on what various outlets view as "hot"!
This then gets me thinking about how does an idea, a person, a business, a community, a product, or anything for that matter get to be in the "hot" category. Watching the CNBC show The Big Idea with the host Donny Deutsch, does provide a glimpse at how "something" may be in the spotlight. Actually making sure that an idea - product - business has staying power is what is really crucial!
All this said, I try to make sure that this community foundation continues to be relevant, is in the forefront of key issues and uses the collective brainpower of our great staff, board members and volunteers - AND our donors to be innovative in our approaches that may or may not attract the attention of people locally or beyond West Michigan. It is the impact that is important - not the accolades. But the accolades are appreciated!
Which brings me to critical roles of marketing, public relations and communications and how GRCF has been fortunate to have the leader on our staff to successfully communicate complex ideas and at times intangible information. This leader is Roberta King who is our Vice President for PR & Marketing. This past March we were informed that this foundation won an unprecedented SIX communications awards from the Council on Foundations through the Wilmer Shields Rich Awards program.
In fact, GRCF won 4 Gold awards and 2 Bronze awards. The Gold awards were for our website, our 2006-07 Annual Report, a special report honoring the 10th anniversary of the Lowell Area Community Fund and our quarterly publication Current. The Bronze awards were for a special marketing piece entitled the Elements of Planned Giving and for a very unique public information campaign involving our Youth Grant Committee.
This is not just the standard run of the mill "hey aren't we something because we won these awards" commentary. Community Foundations many times do not have the resources that other types of foundations or businesses do to produce high level publications, sophisticated public awareness campaigns and the expertise to sustain a well thought out marketing program. I have found that when I study how other foundations are communicating their messages through the lens of this awards program, I am exposed to great ideas for sharpening our approaches that I would not have been aware of otherwise. Thankfully, we have the talent to accomplish this remarkable feat and not necessarily the financial resources in our budget that others may.
Roberta and along with PR & Marketing Associate Amanda St. Pierre have done this extraordinarily well and they are indeed exceptional leaders whom I admire and applaud!
This past Thursday evening, Roberta and her team were honored once again receiving 5 PRoof awards from the West Michigan Public Relations Society of America. One Gold award was given to the publication Current and 4 Silver awards in areas that were given awards in the previously noted program with honor also being given to the year long awareness effort that Roberta orchestrated for our 85th anniversary in 2007. The PRSA program involves businesses, major corporations and nonprofits - all pooled together - so it is competitive to say the least.
Congratulations to our "hot" marketing staff of Roberta and Amanda and their entire team!