Creating Impact That Drives Success
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CEO Interview

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Recently, one of the nonprofits we work with interviewed our CEO, Bonnie Quintanilla, about our work in the nonprofit area. Here’s what she had to say…

Can you give us your elevator pitch about the work your organization does?

Corridor Communications, Inc. is the leading marketing communications firm located on Southern California’s 101 Corridor that is dedicated to working with nonprofits and businesses that are committed to making a positive impact on our world. Through strategic communications programs, our work builds preference for our clients’ vision and creates advocates that have a positive impact on the work they do.

Why have you chosen to work with organizations that make a difference?

Giving back has been a core value of mine that was instilled by my parents as a young child. For as long as I can remember my mother worked with youth and disadvantaged families as a volunteer. Her encouragement led me to my first volunteer opportunity, working with special needs children as a camp counselor and swim instructor, when I was in seventh grade. While personally I focus on youth, arts and the environment, as a company we work with organizations that support a wide range of nonprofits including nurse volunteers and medical missions to third world countries; construction of solar water wells in areas where clean water is rare; groups helping veterans heal from the wounds of war, organizations that bring comfort and care to seriously ill children, educational programs, and many others.

What inspires you?

Volunteers. These people work tirelessly and often under incredibly dangerous and trying situations to change lives. Despite the long hours, they are the first to step up when a new challenge arises. They give selflessly and unconditionally. They are angels on earth.

What do you find most gratifying about your work with nonprofits?

That’s simple. It’s the moment at the end of a long day or week when I step back and realize, “Wow, what I do matters.” Not everyone is lucky enough to be able to say that. Through our work…

• …1,000 children in pediatric wards in Southern California received hospital approved, plush toys that are designed to promote physical and emotional healing and provide comfort when children are alone in a hospital.
• …a Vietnam veteran, who previously could not come within 25 feet of the Vietnam Wall, was able to finally touch the names of his friends who didn’t come home with him and cry.
• …allowed 1,800 high school students to learn about the Vietnam War directly from veterans who served, and get answers to deeply touching questions.
• …allowed a mother in Haiti, for the first time in her family’s life, use clean, potable water for cooking, drinking, bathing and cleaning, which in turn gave her babies a fighting chance for health and life.
• …successfully worked with a nonprofit to convince the State of California to offer the Spay Neuter license plate as a permanent option for drivers and in turn, help fund low cost clinics.

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing nonprofits when it comes to marketing?

If I had to pick two they would be, resources and knowledge.

Even the best financed nonprofits have seen their finances become more challenging in the past few years, and smaller nonprofits are truly struggling. Like any business, the first budget that gets cut is marketing, even thought it continues to be an essential factor in fund-raising and recruiting. In addition, most nonprofits rely on volunteers for a wide range of jobs, including marketing. Without a clear strategy, a realistic plan, and training, volunteers without prior marketing experience may struggle. This leads to knowledge. Marketing communications today can be chaotic and ever-changing. Understanding the nuances of these changes, how to work with new media and the right media, and ensuring the tactics support a sound strategy is a full time job.

Your company works for both nonprofits and businesses. Is there a benefit in this for your clients?

Absolutely. There are a number of synergies between for profit and nonprofit marketing, and focusing on one or the other can limit creativity, perspective and opportunities. In addition, we often find that our clients want to know about each other and can end up working collaboratively.

Do you believe that events are an important part of a nonprofit marketing mix?

Good timing on that question. I just attended two events, one for CASA of Ventura County and one for Camp Ronald McDonald for Good Times. The events were both successful in raising funds, but one certainly was more successful in terms of communicating messages and building long-term relationships with donors.

Events can be very successful and power tools in an organization’s marketing tool chest. However, they will only be successful if they start with clearly articulated and measurable goals. These goals should drive and define the event – the type, location, timing, and audience – literally every aspect. From there the event must be well-thought out and planned and marketed well in advance with clear, powerful brand messages and a strong call to action woven throughout.

What messages would you like to leave with nonprofits?

First, always start with a clear objective, a well-defined strategy, and measurable objectives.

Second, don’t underestimate the power of marketing and professional marketing firms. As a nonprofit you should expect the firm you pick to be flexible. They should have a nonprofit rate (lower than their standard rate). They should be willing to invest a little over and above the scope of work without nickel and dime-ing. They should offer options. For example, our firm, Corridor Communications, will work as a strategic consultant for as little as 10 hours a month, work on a project basis, work collaboratively to add value as part of a team, or, if needed plan and implement an entire program.

You can reach Bonnie Quintanilla, CEO of Corridor Communications, Inc. at 818.681.5777 or via email at bonnie@corridorcomms.com. Connect with Corridor Communications on Linkedin and follow the company on Twitter (@CorridorComms), and Facebook.

 

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