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At Guest Relations Marketing, there are many organizations near and dear to our hearts. If you’re looking for a great evening that will benefit a wonderful cause, check out these events. Each one helps give back to children in-need, both locally and globally.
Client CURE Childhood Cancer has a lot of amazing supporters. And one of GRM’s favorites is NFL Linebacker Gary Guyton. For Gary, watching kids fighting cancer truly touches his heart. He’a a Zealot for sure. That’s why Gary has rallied some of his NFL friends and joined forces with CURE for their May 5th event Lauren’s Run & CURE Annual Picnic.
Check out some of the great commercials we filmed with Gary and 11Alive. It was a fun day on set for all of us – and the kids.
What would it take for you to strip down to a Speedo and run through Midtown in December? For our own April Voris, all it takes is CURE.
When April got word that CURE Childhood Cancer is the benefactor of this year’s Atlanta Santa Speedo Run, she was on board. Not only will April be donning her Speedo, and perhaps a jingle bell or two, but she also has set a goal to raise $500 for CURE. Click here to check out her fundraising progress or make a donation.
April needs all of our support on raceday, December 8th. So put on a warm coat, charge your camera, and come cheer her on along the race route. Click here to learn more about the Atlanta Santa Speedo Run. Or for the brave, click here to register to run and fundraise. Speedo required.
A year ago, childhood cancer was a totally foreign subject to me. The disease hadn’t affected my family or friends. It didn’t have a face or a name. It wasn’t real.
Then I met CURE’s Kids.
I began my internship at Guest Relations Marketing in August 2011 and my first project was to read, edit, and upload the stories of the children participating in the September promotion CURE’s Kids Conquer Cancer One Day at a Time.
Some children were survivors. Some were currently in treatment. Some had lost their battle. The stories were both heartbreaking and inspiring. After researching CURE, I soon realized that childhood cancer is much more common than I ever imagined and that government funding for the disease is almost nonexistent.
Since its inception in 2009, CURE’s Kids Conquer Cancer One Day at a Time has raised more than $600,000 for critical research aimed at finding cures for childhood cancers. All this was accomplished by simply sharing the stories of children whose lives have been affected by this horrific disease.
CURE’s goal this September is to raise another $250,000. Seems like a daunting task. But as soon as you read the story of a child like Laura, the reason CURE needs our support is crystal clear.
Are you a Zealot for CURE? I certainly am.
CURE Childhood Cancer just announced record donations of $3.1 million received in its just-concluded fiscal year. This represents about a 200% gain in annual giving since they became a client of Guest Relations Marketing in 2007. This has been accomplished primarily through activating their Zealots through online media and events.
More importantly, this has resulted in tremendous advances in research. We are striving for the ultimate success story – finding ultimate cures for childhood cancers. It is coming!
We are immensely proud of the work CURE does on a day-to-day basis and are even more proud of our own April Voris, who is currently Board President for CURE. CURE’s transformation was recently featured in the Georgia Center for Nonprofits April Newsletter, which we are pleased to share:
GCN member CURE Childhood Cancer, an Atlanta-based nonprofit cancer research foundation dedicated to finding cures for childhood cancer, knew they had to make some major changes in order to effectively carry out their mission. In a recent conversation, executive director Kristin Connor and board chair April Voris shared highlights of the organization’s “inside-out” transformation over the past three years.
“We wanted to transform CURE from more of a grassroots organization to a much more professional, sophisticated, higher-impact organization,” says Kristin Connor, Executive Director of CURE Childhood Cancer.
The process began in 2006 with a successful growth pattern that resulted from CURE’s inaugural annual campaign; but, as Connor observed, this was only a start. At a point, “we realized that we had captured the low-hanging fruit,” acknowledges Connor, who recognized the need “to dig deeper and gain a better understanding of how to really do annual fundraising right.” They made a major strategic shift, moving away from an emphasis on special events to focusing on major gifts. A development audit conducted in 2009 formed a critical step forward in clarifying direction, but left Connor and her board without the capacity to move from plan to execution. A GrantsPlus coaching grant from the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta enabled the organization to push forward.
CURE tapped GCN Consulting Services and partnered with consultant Cara Schroeder, who worked closely with the executive team and board to provide hands-on training. Connor credits the process of “literally walking us through an entire fiscal year of major gift and annual campaign fundraising, step- by-step” with providing CURE with the breakthrough it needed. Through one-on-one and group coaching, staff and board learned the “how-to’s” to systematically and strategically approach the process. Board members were trained to solicit donations through personalized appeals – which, with the help of scripts to allay intimidation, proved a successful tactic.
The results speak for themselves: In 2010-11, CURE received 69 new major gifts and 640 annual gifts to their annual campaign.
The organization then chose to hire its first-ever Director of Development, a department that has now expanded to a 3-person team.
A Brand Makeover
Another transformation instrumental in building CURE’s fundraising capacity is a rebranding, led by board president April Voris of Guest Relations Marketing. The “before” image of CURE was “a pink teddy bear, unprofessional documents printed on a home computer, and a low level of professionalism.” The “after” is a transformed brand “built from the bottom-up” that reflects CURE’s mission and vision, while resonating deeply with CURE’s core audience: families of children with cancer.
Identifying those who are passionate about CURE’s mission – our “zealots” – explains Voris, has been the key to developing effective branding and marketing strategies. An early adapter of social media, CURE recognized that a Facebook page not only offered their constituents a place to build a community of supporters, but could act as a story-telling platform. The momentum grew quickly. Voris cites CURE’s Kids Conquer Cancer, a fundraising initiative they launched during National Childhood Cancer Awareness month, with a goal of raising $30,000 online. Over 30 days, 60 families were honored and the momentum grew quickly, eventually raising $170,000.
CURE’s marketing program continues to grow from the inside-out through an overall marketing philosophy, which Voris explains is much like a “spider web approach,” each piece is interconnected and strengthening the others. “Your customers take the lead on how they want to interact with your brand,” says Voris, “so you must be prepared to engage and accept them from all points of entry.” Reflecting on the journey, Connor and Voris offer some insight to fellow nonprofits with similar challenges. The first steps toward positive change? “Really looking at ourselves”; honestly evaluating core competencies; and asking both “where are we needed?” and “what do we not need to be doing?”
CURE Childhood Cancer has been instrumental in serving the children and families that depend on timely research. Through a transformation on the inside, they have been furthered their ability to transform lives on the outside.
As we’ve discussed in the past, the Guest Relations Marketing team is Zealots for CURE Childhood Cancer. Not only are they our client, but we’re passionate about the cause. So much so, that April sits as President of the Board of Directors for the organization. If that’s not Zealotry in Action, we don’t know what is.
As the holiday season approached, we were thrilled to find out that CURE would be selling Elves from Catie as a holiday fundraiser.
These Elves were inspired by Catie Wilkins, one of CURE’s kids who lost her battle with cancer in 2007. Elves from Catie visit your home – or office – during the holidays and remain completely frozen in place whenever you’re around. But as soon as you leave? Chaos ensues. Not only are Elves from Catie a fun addition to any household, but a portion from each Elf sold goes directly to CURE. So it’s a win-win for everyone involved.
Elves from Catie have only been visiting GRM for a few days and they’ve already been caught creating mischief.
If you would like to add some spirited fun to your home or office his holiday season – and support CURE – you may purchase Elves from Catie online at www.elvesfromcatie.com or in-stores or online at Swoozie’s.
We have a feeling this isn’t the only time these Elves are going to get in trouble this month. You can’t leave these guys unattended for one second.