August 01

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Hello From North Carolina!

Hello from Raleigh, North Carolina!  I’m working with the Urban Ministries of Wake County, a non-profit medical clinic, food pantry, and women’s shelter, in a marketing and videographer capacity.  I’m about four weeks in, and getting into the office culture has been smooth and actually pretty easy.  There is, however, a big difference in the non-profit culture and comparing it to my past experiences does have a learning curve.  People bring their own pens to work, collect the paper clips from deposits when they go to the bank, and recycle soda cans to pay for the community soda supply in the kitchen.  The agency works on six cents on the dollar from donations, which means 94 cents of every dollar goes back to the people they serve.  That is very impressive.  Most non-profits spend 25-75 cents for each dollar, and many don’t even know.  (The next time someone calls your house asking for donations, ask them.)

My primary focus has been to increase awareness of the agency, its mission, and its sucesses by increasing social media presence in Facebook and YouTube.  I made a YouTube channel (UrbanMinistriesWake) and have made three videos so far.  One explains a food drive, one tells the agency’s story about their successes, and the last one is about an internal thing they have called “The Basic Bag” which is just a foundation to food donations given to families in need.  Not having been a videographer, the learning was not nearly as long as I had expected, and I’m picking up video editing quickly.  My marketing background has served me well to help them with messaging and communications, and I’m holding a focus group for them next week to learn about impact, motivation, and communication understanding.  I’m finding, as with many organizations, they use a lot of internal language externally, which we are working now to change so that external messages are clearer and more effective.  Being from a sales and marketing background, I see every interaction as an opportunity to make an impression and communicate information, so we are working to ensure that any external communication is met with an ownership attitude that engages people to come and see what the agency does or to volunteer or donate.

In all, so far it has been a great experience and I feel I am really making a difference for them.  One of the best goals of PULSE is the sustainability piece, and I incorporate that aspect into everything I do.  When I leave, someone can sit at my desk and go right to my files, and know where everything is, if they need it.  The videos are all created with a sustainable message that can stay on the internet, in some cases for years, so that the work we are doing will be a tool for many people to utilize and increase the awareness of this agency.

So, until next time, good luck to all my volunteering coworkers, and again, thank you to my home team for covering me while I’m out on this inspiring assignment – And special thank you to John and Corie.