“The Media Guru” (alias Nola Johnson) Plans the Perfect Strategy!

By day, Nola Johnson works for Triangle Transit as a Marketing Specialist, and also has her MBA in Nonprofit Management. This past April, during Pro Heroes Month, she starred as “The Media Guru”, using her marketing and public relations prowess pro bono to benefit Urban Ministries of Wake County. Urban Ministries of Wake County alleviates the effects of poverty in Wake County by meeting people’s basic needs for food, shelter, and healthcare, providing services that promote self-sufficiency, and building awareness for poverty issues. Their largest program, Open Door Clinic, gives comprehensive, primary medical care and full pharmacy services to uninsured, low-income adults with more than 9,000 visits and more than 52,000 filled prescriptions last year. With the increasing demand for their services, Urban Ministries needed to reach out to greater audiences who could become supporters and donors, and Nola Johnson – a.k.a. “The Media Guru” – was the perfect person to help them do it! Johnson was a great fit for the Urban Ministries project, whose “efforts aligned with her interests”. In just over a month, Johnson was able to use her super powers to develop a marketing and public relations strategic plan and updated media list, recommend marketing collateral changes, and create press release templates. Urban Ministries Director of Development, John Welch, had this to say: “Project outcomes exceeded expectations. [Johnson] helped us think outside the box and more creatively.” The most rewarding part of the project for The Media Guru? Johnson says she made new friends at Urban Ministries and knows she was able to provide a great service to them. Johnson says, “For myself personally, this...
Pro Heroes Month 2013: The results are in

Pro Heroes Month 2013: The results are in

Our pilot pro bono volunteer initiative, Pro Heroes Month, has come to an end – and we couldn’t be more thrilled with the results: The professional skills these passionate volunteers gave throughout the month of April will have an impact on the causes they worked with for years to come. A few of the projects are still wrapping up, but we’ll be sure to show off more of these volunteers’ great work as it comes in, from a new website for Zach’s Toy Chest, to a video promoting Raleigh City Farm, to a photography campaign to share the great story of Dress for Success. There are so many ways individuals, groups, and companies can give their time to worthy causes, whether it’s mentoring kids in school, rallying your friends and building houses for neighbors in need, harvesting food in a community garden to fight hunger, or giving your professional skills to boost a nonprofit’s capacity to combat these community issues. We join the causes that benefited from this year’s Pro Heroes Month in thanking those who give their time and talent to make an impact!...
Civic Hackers Join Forces Against Homelessness

Civic Hackers Join Forces Against Homelessness

Triangle technology titans Chad Foley and Patrick Gravinese have teamed up to help Housing for New Hope and its courageous clients in the fight against homelessness. This dynamic duo is part of the civic hacking movement, which uses open-source applications and technological consulting to improve communities across the country and around the world. With backgrounds in city government, Code for America, and CityCamp Raleigh, Foley and Gravinese bring years of experience to their new mission. Durham-based Housing for New Hope works to prevent and end homelessness by providing increased access to healthcare, integrated services, and housing. Reaching hundreds of clients every year, the organization has grown to include 25 staff members at 10 locations throughout Durham and Orange counties, but it needed an upgrade in its IT IQ to continue its good work. Foley and Gravinese are responding to that need by hammering out an IT assessment that will allow one of Housing for New Hope’s donors to fund major technological improvements. Housing for Hope Development Director Melissa Wajnert Hartzell offered encomiums for the problem-solving partners: “Our Pro Hero Team members from Activate Good jumped in and rolled up their sleeves to learn about our mission and programs, visit our multiple locations, meet with staff, discuss staff needs, and explore our current technology uses and limitations. Helping us improve efficiencies and strengthen our professionalism will strengthen our ability to help even more homeless individuals and families.” Foley’s comment on this computing coup neatly summarizes the creed of civic hackers everywhere: “We feel that everyone should have a fast, affordable, and reliable connection to the Web and to each other.”...
“Gibbs & Soell PRos” shine a light on homelessness with Wake Interfaith Hospitality Network

“Gibbs & Soell PRos” shine a light on homelessness with Wake Interfaith Hospitality Network

One might say doing good is part of the Gibbs & Soell Business Communications credo. “Community volunteerism inspires business success” for this local company with global reach. This philosophy was the motivation when nine Gibbs & Soell staff members teamed up to become pro heroes for the Wake Interfaith Hospitality Network (WIHN), a nonprofit that works to help homeless families in Wake County achieve independent living. WIHN works with homeless families to help them break free of the cycle of homelessness, providing lodging, meals, educational services, and more. At the same time, WIHN promotes awareness and action from the community on issues related to homelessness. For 19 years, thousands of volunteers have dedicated their time to this noble cause. Now it’s time for WIHN to gain greater exposure in the community. This “small but mighty” organization put out the call for professional heroes to develop a marketing and public relations plan that could help take their mission to the next level — and the “Gibbs & Soell PRos” answered. Using their extensive communications expertise, the Gibbs & Soell PRos — Including Lauren Hafezi, Alex Moss, April Rummage, Ken Sanderman, Julie Crimmins, Molly Alderfer, Ninh Nguyen, Erin James, and Tim Patron — delved into the communications planning process for WIHN. According to team leader Lauren Hafezi, participating was a no-brainer because the team is “passionate about being a force for positive change in [the] local community.” Hafezi adds, “We believe in the cause that WIHN supports. We are proud to communicate its message and mission to the local community through social media, media relations and video script writing services.” The...
The “Super Ordinary Haircuts” (alias Myriad Media) tell one cause’s extra-ordinary story

The “Super Ordinary Haircuts” (alias Myriad Media) tell one cause’s extra-ordinary story

The Myriad Media team may have “super ordinary haircuts,” but their super powers of do-gooding and videography are extraordinary. The Super Ordinary Haircuts team of pro heroes – which includes Myriad Media’s Drew Grimes, Tina Haver, Kent Willard, Malia Campbell, and Marshall Alderman – has been making videos in Raleigh for 20 years and owes their success to the local community. For this April’s Pro Heroes Month, the Super Ordinary Haircuts are putting their #1 core principle – Help People – to work to help the Raleigh City Farm tell their story through video. Raleigh City Farm, located at Blount Street in downtown Raleigh, works to turn unexpected downtown spaces into beautiful and nourishing farmland, and encourage others to do the same. Having just celebrated their one-year anniversary, Raleigh City Farm needed a video to show their progress and tell their story for the future to inspire volunteers and potential supporters. That’s where the Super Ordinary Haircuts of Myriad Media came in. According to Drew Grimes, “the notion of doing a traditionally rural activity like farming in an urban environment is perfectly in line with [Myriad Media]’s values. We like to see how all of life’s ingredients mix together.” Ryan Finch, Raleigh City Farm’s General Manager calls the Super Ordinary Haircuts the “dream team.” “Their innovation, experience, professionalism and preparedness are making this project so easy! We feel absolutely secure and incredibly excited they will deliver an end-product that surpasses all expectations.” Says Finch. For the professional heroes of the Super Ordinary Haircuts, the pro bono video project brings equal excitement, and pride. “I’m really fired up about the...