A nonprofit on the edge of CreateAthon: Anticipating the power of pro bono

  • Written by Peyton Rowe

I feel so energetic just being here.
I’m bowled over by their passion and thoughtfulness.
It’s already more than I ever imagined.

Natalie Allen presents the Arts Empowerment Project’s mission during a fundraising event.
This was the post-meeting take from Natalie Allen, founder of the Arts Empowerment Project in Charlotte, NC, as she emerged from her first CreateAthon briefing session. The gathering was at our place — Riggs Partners, the founding agency of CreateAthon and home to the original 24-hour pro bono marketing marathon.

While the journey of CreateAthon has been nothing short of magical in the 17 years since we started pulling marketing all-nighters for good, it all comes back to one thing: the joy of getting to know the people behind the nonprofits and understanding the hopes and dreams behind the causes they represent.

It all begins in a briefing session about three weeks prior to CreateAthon, and it’s the first real glimpse CreateAthon clients have into our marathon model. “I’d heard about CreateAthon, and knew the program could be effective in helping us shape our brand strategy,” said Natalie. “But I was not expecting the depth of insightful questioning, from the need we meet in the market, to how we deliver our services and how we’re funded. I can already see that this process will facilitate a great deal more for us than developing marketing messages.”

Natalie tells us she fully recognizes the need for nonprofits to have clarity around their brand. “With information at our fingertips all the time, you really have to capture someone’s attention immediately,” she said. “I’m thrilled to have this team of professionals helping us translate what we’re all about, in a way that inspires people to respond to our cause.”

The Arts Empowerment Project is dedicated to helping at-risk children see new opportunities for their lives as a result of being exposed to the arts as a source of self-expression, healing and empowerment. Our CreateAthon team plans to address brand strategy, development strategy, and specific marketing and communications tactics to help the organization build scale behind its efforts.

“Like so many young nonprofit organizations, we were faced with the challenge of putting all of our upfront resources into program development versus investing in brand strategy and communications,” said Natalie. “We know that both are equally important, and the gift of these marketing services through CreateAthon will take our program to the next level. We feel honored to be here, and to have been selected by the people at Riggs Partners who started the whole concept of CreateAthon.”

Stay tuned for more on the Arts Empowerment Program and their journey through CreateAthon, as it all unfolds during Pro Bono Week 2014.

This post was written by Teresa Coles, CreateAthon Board Director & Founder.