We’re busy wrapping up more than gifts here at Prosper for Purpose — we’re also wrapping up the year. Our offices will be closed Christmas week so #TeamProsper can spend time with loved ones. But before we go, we want to share what we’re grateful for this year.
Our clients inspire us whether they’re transforming their communities or changing the world. They are purpose-driven people leading companies and nonprofits, consultancies and educational institutions. We choose our clients carefully and they, in turn, challenge us to bring our best each and every day.
We continued to live our motto of using ‘communications for a better world’ by helping these clients achieve social and environmental impact by building relationships that matter. In 2017, these relationships were built through strategic storytelling, branding and fundraising, mixed with social media, event management, and much, much more.
While the U.S. and the world saw some setbacks this year in terms of global sustainability and social justice, we are encouraged to be part of a rising tide of business as a force for good. We believe any setbacks are sure to be temporary as we raise our voices and increase our efforts around issues that matter.
As a two-year member of the B Corp community, Prosper is proud to be one of more than 2,300 Certified B Corps from 50 countries and more than 130 industries working together toward one unifying goal: to redefine success in business in terms of people, planet and profit. We at Prosper have added a fourth term: purpose.
At Prosper, we practice a servant leadership model of management because we know the best leaders are those who help others be their best. In the day-to-day, this looks a lot like friendship. Everyone has a seat at our table, everyone has a voice. We were honored to receive “Team of the Year” award at the PRSA Cleveland Rocks award banquet earlier this month. We can’t wait to see what is to come for our team in 2018.
We recently completed our annual PDPs (personal development plans). As we plan for 2018, we will be figuring out how we can best support and empower each other to meet our goals, both inside and outside of work. To us, Prosper for Purpose is not just a company, it’s a mantra.
Our 12 Months of Giving program allowed us the opportunity to work with three Cleveland-area nonprofits during the third quarter of 2017.
In July, we had the pleasure of assisting the Malachi House, a home that serves those who are terminally ill and provides them with a comfortable place to spend their final days. The Malachi House has a full-service kitchen, family dining room, living room, chapel, atrium, and incredible volunteers who help provide care to their residents in a comfortable and compassionate environment.
Our August pro bono client, Slavic Village, is a community located in the heart of Cleveland. Its rich history draws in people from all walks of life. People of all ages go to Slavic Village to experience all that it has to offer. From recreational activities to an abundant amount of housing opportunities and top-notch educational offerings, there’s something about Slavic Village that encourages people to stay once they’ve planted their roots.
In September, we worked with the Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Since 1994, the Conservancy has been doing wonderful work to help protect our beloved national park. Through their youth programs, volunteer opportunities and more, they truly live their vision — “Connecting you to your national park. Preserving it for future generations.”
We thoroughly enjoyed supporting each of these amazing organizations. They are doing tremendous things and we can’t wait to watch them continue to make a difference.
The holiday season is upon us, which means individuals may feel encouraged to give more freely to their favorite charities. We love this generous end-of-year spirit, but we’re also committed to giving back to our local communities throughout the rest of the year. Which is one reason why we are continuing our 12 Months of Giving program in 2018.
Each month next year we will provide a Northeast Ohio nonprofit with:
- Three (3) hours of free strategic consulting on a current challenge
- Promotion through Prosper for Purpose’s website, social media accounts and various other channels
During our 2017 program, we have had the opportunity to work with some amazing organizations such as the May Dugan Center, Greater Cleveland Habitat for Humanity, the Greater Cleveland Food Bank and the Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
Would you like to add your name to this list and prosper with us next year?
Just complete and submit this entry form to be considered for our 2018 12 Months of Giving program. Or, tell your favorite Northeast Ohio charity to apply!
It’s important to us to work with purpose-driven clients in both the business and nonprofit sectors. When our clients do well, their communities prosper. So, join us as we do well by doing good together in 2018.
Every year, Prosper for Purpose receives dozens of requests for free consulting and services. Our 12 Months of Giving campaign is our way of being able to respond to more of these organizations to help them share their stories and achieve their goals. In this blog post I will introduce the organizations that we were honored to work with in the first quarter.
Our January pro bono client, May Dugan Center, was named as a tribute to May Dugan and her lifetime work as a one-person counselor and advocate for her neighbors in need. The mission of the Center is to help people enrich and advance their lives and communities. The May Dugan Center does this by providing in-house education and resources, as well as health care and food bank opportunities, to people of all ages. During our consult, we helped members of the board and staff review their key stakeholders and messaging.
Greater Cleveland Habitat for Humanity, our February organization, just recently launched a three-year initiative to fully rehab 100 Cleveland homes with a ten-house initiative in Cleveland’s Buckeye neighborhood. Habitat for Humanity doesn’t just build or rehab homes, they fortify communities and revitalize local neighborhoods, something Prosper was really excited to get behind. Our time focused on creative ideation of strategies and tactics to grow awareness and support.
In March, our focus was on Child and Family Advocates of Cuyahoga County, which serves underage children who are abused. The nonprofit has wonderful attorney volunteers who make sure kids are receiving the best legal assistance they can get. The Child and Family Advocates of Cuyahoga County provide training for the guardians assigned to the children, and have volunteer coordinators who make sure the children are appearing at court while also maintaining contact with the child and family. They advocate for the kids—the volunteer and guardian’s sole duty is to support the child’s best interest. We made recommendations on how this program could grow and serve more children.
Although our time was brief with each of these organizations, we were so impressed by the work they are doing and enjoyed our time with each of them.
On April 21, members of #TeamProsper attended The 10th Annual YouToo Social Media Conference at Kent State University to learn about developments and trends in social media and digital communication.
The conference opened with speaker Greg Josken, digital marketing and social media manager for Disney Theatrical Group, who talked about Disney’s social media strategy now that we’re 10 years into the social media “revolution”.
As Greg walked us through a few of his extraordinary projects, one particular lesson stood out: When applied correctly, social media can be a successful and cost-effective tool across all levels of engagement with your audience, from awareness, consideration, and conversion to loyalty and advocacy.
It was pretty crazy to think about where social media was just 10 years ago. Some major social platforms were still fairly new at the time.
- MySpace launched in 2002
- LinkedIn began in 2003
- Facebook launched for students at Harvard in 2003
- Twitter was born in 2006
Even crazier is the fact that online social networking has been around for more than 30 years. Check out this infographic by MarketingDirecto.com for neat facts about the past few decades of social media.
At “The Evolving Social Media Landscape – Pay to Play” breakout session, we learned how to make our ad dollars go further. Given the many changes to the Facebook algorithm and the decline of organic reach, approximately 80% of posts are not seen! So how do we ensure our message is reaching our audience? Through very targeted and affordable social media advertising. When developing content, it must be engaging, measurable, and have a purpose.
Another trend we must take into consideration when planning our social media strategies and advertising plans is the use of mobile. Mobile is taking over. Research shows that “57 percent of mobile users will abandon your website if it takes more than 3 seconds to load and 30 percent will abandon a purchase transaction if the shopping cart isn’t optimized for mobile devices.” It’s time to invest in mobile and the first step you can take is to make sure your website is optimized for mobile usage.
An afternoon session focused on the future of social media and interactive tech. How will virtual and augmented reality technologies impact social media and communications over the next 10 years? What’s the difference between the two?
Augment.com breaks it down for us:
“Virtual reality (VR) is an artificial, computer-generated simulation or recreation of a real life environment or situation. It immerses the user by making them feel like they are experiencing the simulated reality firsthand, primarily by stimulating their vision and hearing.
“Augmented reality (AR) is a technology that layers computer-generated enhancements atop an existing reality in order to make it more meaningful through the ability to interact with it. AR is developed into apps and used on mobile devices to blend digital components into the real world in such a way that they enhance one another, but can also be told apart easily.”
Some examples of AR and VR already being utilized today include Target’s Cartwheel app and Facebook Spaces.
So, how do we prepare for what the next 10 to 30 years will bring to social media? Be agile, be ready for change, and always remember that people want to do business with people. It’s important for brands to remain and be increasingly engaging and authentic on social platforms.
What does your future social media strategy look like? Email us if you need help or have questions!
The History of Coffee
According to the National Coffee Association, coffee has a complex history with no clear understanding of its exact origin. An Ethiopian legend says that a goat herder named Kaldi first discovered the potential of coffee beans in the ancient coffee forests on the Ethiopian plateau. “By the 15th century, coffee was being grown in the Yemeni district of Arabia and by the 16th century it was known in Persia, Egypt, Syria, and Turkey.” This resulted in the creation of public coffee houses.
The Coffee House
Coffee houses were started as a space for collaboration and conversation. Originally called qahveh khaneh, coffee houses began to appear in cities across the Near East. “Coffee houses quickly became such an important center for the exchange of information that they were often referred to as ‘Schools of the Wise.’ Coffee houses were quickly becoming centers of social activity and communication in the major cities of England, Austria, France, Germany, and Holland.”
One of our favorite TED Talks, Steven Johnson’s “Where good ideas come from,” says that coffee houses were a place where people would gather to share and discuss ideas. Many great inventions have coffee houses to thank as the place of origin for some of their early ideas.
We at Prosper like to think of our office as a coffee house. It’s a place where we come every day to collaborate with one another, with our clients, and with others in the community. We share ideas, brainstorm solutions and invent creative strategies. Thus, we thought it was important to have our own stock of delicious, invigorating coffee.
Our Crafted Coffee
As deep as our devotion to coffee is, we recently realized we still have a few things to learn. Did you know that the lighter the coffee the stronger it is? A few weeks ago we had a coffee tasting at our office to sample all of Heartwood Coffee Roastery’s heavenly varieties. Co-Founder Nick Edmundson broke the news that our beloved dark coffee is nothing more than burnt beans that have been overly roasted. Lighter blends here we come!
We asked Heartwood to create a special Prosper blend for us and voilà – Purpose Fuel was born. Co-Founder Jim Sanders told us a few more details about our new coffee:
“The Prosper for Purpose coffee is a Single-Origin coffee, meaning it comes from one single country, from several really great farms in Colombia actually. Purpose Fuel is roasted a little darker to bring out some really nice chocolaty notes and a great smooth body. The coffee itself is from a small group of producers in the Tolima and Huila regions of Colombia and is selected because of each farmer’s commitment to high quality hand-picked coffee. It’s really cool to see that these producers get rewarded for their insistence on only the finest crops. We, of course, are the beneficiaries of their hard work!”
We invite you to stop by our coffee house any time! Conversation and coffee are our fuel and we’d love to share them with you.
Top Public Relations Take-A-Ways from Cleveland Hosting the Republican National Convention
Two years ago, the city of Cleveland was anxiously awaiting the results of a bid placed to host the Republican National Convention (RNC). After being notoriously known for our failing sports teams, burning river and dubbed the ‘Mistake on the Lake’, city officials and residents were eager to redeem Cleveland’s reputation by hosting a national event.
On July 8, 2014, the city was thrilled to receive the announcement it had been waiting for: Cleveland was selected to host the 2016 Republican National Convention! Two years of detailed planning ensued and two years later, during the week of July 18, 2016, Cleveland eagerly welcomed visitors from across the country. Cleveland was still buzzing from our beloved Cavaliers winning the NBA Championship, construction projects were wrapping up and the city had never felt safer, it was a great time to be in the city!
Cleveland was the focus of the nation for a week straight. As an aspiring PR professional, my attention was focused on the PR lessons learned from my home city hosting the RNC. Here are my top takeaways:
Plan for anything and everything
According to the RNC host committee website, the city had 1,200 events planned for 50,000 visitors during the four day convention period. To ease concerns from local residents, the city planned for everything: bringing in approximately 2,500 police officers from out-of-state, releasing maps of revised traffic patterns and road closings, opening the city’s court for 20 hours a day (yep, you read that right! The court remained open from 5:00 am – 1:00 am during the Convention) and posting the RNC tipline on all highways going into the city for residents to report any concerning activity. The city even had crisis plans in place for weather emergencies, power failures and had all area hospitals on special rotation schedules. Luckily, none of these plans had to be put into action!
Use social media to communicate to the masses
According to Politico, Cleveland’s population temporarily increased by 13 percent in just four days. Local residents, business owners, delegates and visitors alike all wanted to be kept updated on any RNC happenings and the city did a great job of making sure they got all updates in a timely manner. The City of Cleveland used Twitter to keep residents informed of media releases, events and all things RNC related. The host committee created and managed the @2016CLE handle specifically created for the event. The Cleveland Police Department used Twitter to update attendees of any concerning behavior, arrests and to confirm or deny reports being made by media. According to TweetReach.com, the #RNCinCle hashtag made approximately 415,000 impressions.
Social media was used effectively to spread RNC related news and positive stories throughout the week. Images of police officers playing ping pong with attendees and dancing in fountains with children were posted alongside RNC-related coverage. Visitors went to social to pro
claim their newfound love for the city – often commenting on how kind our residents are. Social media prevailed during the RNC.
Transparency is key
During the Convention, the City of Cleveland remained very transparent about all activities occurring downtown. Whether it was confirming media reports of an arrest, suggesting lunch spots for visiting delegates or sharing information about parking – the City was sure to keep everyone in the loop.
The city hosted daily media briefings, reviewing the day’s safety report and general activity around the city. These reports were also streamed via Periscope, allowing viewers who may not have had TV access the chance to view the press conferences.
Overall, I couldn’t be more proud to be from Cleveland. Seeing delegates and visiting media post about their approval of the city proved that the city’s efforts and planning truly paid off. The rest of the nation can now view Cleveland the way locals have and understand why we hold the city so dearly in our hearts.
In today’s business world, employee volunteer programs are as commonplace as meetings, business trips and conference calls. Some of the most notable organizations have taken strides to increase their philanthropic efforts and create robust employee volunteer programs. Yet, some still question the value of volunteering.
To some, volunteering is a one-sided equation offering benefits only to the recipient of the deed. But in actuality, volunteering is just as valuable to an organization and its employees. Here’s how:
Employees who volunteer report more job satisfaction and improved morale
When someone volunteers, several things happen. They feel good about themselves for helping others. They form connections. They witness the impact of their actions, however small. When people volunteer, they not only improve the lives of the recipient, they are also improving their own lives. And when employees volunteer through their organization, they experience the same positive benefits, but with an added bonus: they feel good about where they work.
When an organization actively gives back to the community, employees feel they are working for an employer that is truly concerned with the betterment of others, and they are proud to be a part of it. They believe they aren’t just working for a paycheck; they are working for a purpose.
Volunteer programs serve as a recruitment tool for up-and-coming talent
Recent studies show that when job searching, nearly half of all millennials are more likely to apply to organizations they feel are working toward a better tomorrow. They want to work for a company with values similar to their own and have the flexibility to allow them to support those values.
With one-third of today’s workforce comprised of millennials, companies increase their chance of hiring top talent when they support employee volunteering. Not only does the company widen its talent pool, but it is also more likely to attract individuals who share the company’s values. Many times, employees serve as the ambassadors of the brand, and having employees who exhibit the company’s beliefs can have immense value with customers.
Getting involved in the community drives brand recognition
When employees enter the community on behalf of their organization, they are promoting the organization’s brand to the public. They’re showing people firsthand the company’s beliefs and values.
Additionally, employees are interacting with individuals on a personal level, and this face-to-face, human interaction leaves people with a positive impression of the brand that is more valuable than any advertisement. Individuals appreciate the organization’s efforts to enhance the community, and they are reminded that there are real people behind the brand.
While many larger companies have robust employee volunteer programs, there are simpler ways for your organization to give back. Here are a few easy ways you can make a positive presence in your community:
1. Offer skills-based volunteering, which is a great way for employees to lend their talents to those in need. Through skills-based volunteering programs, employees are matched by their specialized skills and talents with nonprofit organizations needing the help of these individuals to build and sustain their infrastructures. Examples of service may include assisting with bookkeeping, providing PR support or serving on a board.
2. Consider a company-wide, single-day volunteer initiative to encourage employees to become more involved. Employees will feel more motivated to take time off if they know everyone is involved. Plan a day to visit a food bank, homeless shelter or other organization where you can work together as a team. You’ll help an organization and individuals in need, and you’ll form stronger relationships among team members.
3. Ditch the holiday party and arrange a collection drive. Take the money you typically spend on a holiday party and use it to purchase donation items for an organization you support. Or consider encouraging employees to make a monetary donation in a coworker’s name instead of purchasing gifts.