Empowered Women Empower Women.
That was what my team wanted to convey when we launched into a campaign for the non-profit Women To Women in August, 2020. It started with an assignment to create a video with corresponding blogs, and ended with a rich, multilayered story of women bonding their community in the midst of a pandemic that launched that October.
Women To Women is a non-profit operating in Greensboro, North Carolina with a dedication to the four pillars of women's issues: housing, hunger, health, and education.
I worked with Caroline Almy, a videographer. She edited video and audio, and I:
Conducted and coordinated interviews
Wrote blogs for grant recipients and sponsors
Wrote and pitched proposal
Women To Women had a problem: they needed attention. The nonprofit was struggling to gain traction with their donors. After donating $75,000 to the local COVID Relief Fund, the organization needed people to know what they were doing.
Our strategy was to turn the story on the grant recipients. It had been a while since Women To Women invested in a media campaign, they wanted a video to use for other media purposes. In this case, we needed to create something relevant, but timeless.
Women To Women has an active blog, and they wanted to include this campaign in their posts. We contributed seven blog posts (four of the grant recipients and three sponsors) to the campaign so donors could find more information about each contributor to the video.
Here are two of our favorite blogs we customized to the campaign:
Blog 1 - Guilford Education Alliance
With COVID-19, technology is one of our sole connections to our world. With technology’s changing role comes the dull realities of long meetings, mass amounts of team calls, and the fatigue of watching yourself in the video call window.
However with the rising importance of technology also emphasizes that not all Americans have access to it, and therefore their world. These inequalities impact young students at public schools greatly with the shift to online classes.
The technology gap in education in the United States looms large over supplying students with proper education while COVID-19 reigns. Fifteen percent of households in the United States with school age children lack internet access. A large amount of this percentage lies in rural areas, where a third of people don’t have high-speed internet.
“It wasn’t just that students couldn’t do homework or research at home,” Karen Hornfeck, Campaigns and Communications Director of the Guilford Education Alliance, explains. “All of a sudden, they couldn’t learn.”
An independent non-profit, the Guilford Education Alliance advocates for fully funding schools while stepping in to help until that becomes a reality. For years (look up exact number) the organization has provided students with laptops to supplement their education.
When laptops became essential for students to attend class, the Alliance needed to find a way to do the impossible: ensure every student in the Guilford County system could attend class with their own laptop.
“I’m not proud to admit that at first I thought: we cannot do that,” Karen explains. “We knew that the financial stressors of it were going to be immense for everybody.”
As education is one of their pillars, Women To Women knew that they had to get involved. Along with other organizations, Women To Women contributed to the COVID Relief Fund. With the grant, the Guilford Education Alliance was able to give 1500 students in Guilford County laptops.
Women To Women also impacted women in the community by granting money for the COVID relief fund. With education being a predominantly female field, it is essential students are given laptops so these women can do their jobs.
“Seventy-seven percent of teachers are women,” Karen said. “And teachers make all other professions possible.”
“It sends a clear message… to teachers and students that education is important and we as a community want to make sure that there are no children left behind. We want to invest in their future, because they’re important.”
Green grocery bags stuffed with food donations have been a symbol of hope for many hungry families in the Triad.
These bags provide food for the non-profit A Simple Gesture. The organization collects the bags from the porches of more fortunate families to donate to food banks.
A Simple Gesture started in 2015, when the Greensboro High Point area was named the fourteenth hungriest city in the United States.
Leslie Isakoff, Executive Director of the organization, said they started with one goal: ensuring every child below the age of five had access to food.
“For me, hunger isn’t just an empty belly,” Leslie says about the impact of childhood hunger on a community.
Children who experience hunger for more than six months carry this impact into their adult life. They experience higher rates of incarceration, an increased likelihood to suffer from diabetes and cancer, and earn 50% less over their lifetime.
When A Simple Gesture received a grant from Women to Women, it opened up new horizons for the organization. With the money, A Simple Gesture was able to meet with local pediatricians to determine how best to help children meet their nutritional needs.
Women to Women has also aided in relief from COVID-19. Existing food shortages have only worsened with the pandemic. On February 29, hunger in the United States was at 17%. By April 30 it jumped to 42%.
A Simple Gesture was able to keep children fed with Women to Women’s contribution to the COVID Relief Fund. Despite the pandemic, Women to Women continues to help mothers in the community by providing funding to A Simple Gesture.
“Women are actually the most vulnerable and the most likely to be hungry,” Leslie explains. “What you often see is women not eating so their children can eat.”
With A Simple Gesture providing proper nutrition to children, mothers can reallocate their family’s resources towards nourishing themselves.
“We’re just so grateful for Women to Women for taking a chance on us,” Leslie says about A Simple Gesture’s ambitious goal. “Women to Women was able to see the potential in that and make it happen.”
To learn more about A Simple Gesture’s mission and ways to help visit their website asimplegesturegso.org
The campaign was an immediate hit - gaining traction and increasing their impressions by 400% in the first week and boosting their owned content by 240% and raising $150,000 for Covid-19 relief.