My first day in marketing class, the teacher asked us what the purpose of marketing was. What popped out of my mouth was “to change public debate.” I realized that was the precise reason I was changing from being a nonprofit manager to a nonprofit marketing strategist.
Recently, I had another insight into what I bring to my work. I’ve always read masses of folktales from a lot of cultures. I also consume lots of news. These two types of stories have very different structures. The first type is fictional and is full of archetypes and magic. Often, these stories give a warning or hold out hope.
In contrast, news stories are based on fact, or at least that has been the standard until recently. In addition, news should be as specific and objective as possible. Critiques or endorsements belong in opinion pieces.
So why do I have such a keen interest in both? Folk tales are older, and evolution has wired our brains to use their structure to perceive social realities. Even when news reports try to stick to the facts, social choices always come into play. Who is the focus of the story? Who else is included and who is left out? How far back does the narrative start and where does it end? Finally, even when a story is as objective as humanly possible, it runs into the headwinds of the cultural stories in listeners’ heads. Making the most of both of kinds of stories enables clients to inform and inspire their audiences.
My passion is not only using marketing tools to help nonprofits get more support, but also to change public discourse and policy. That mission feels more urgent now than ever before.
After 40 years of working in and with nonprofits, I know them from the inside out. Highlights include developing a transitional residence for homeless senior adults and exposing a network of fraudulent reproductive health clinics. In addition, I have directed multi-million-dollar grants programs for HIV/AIDS care and services for at-risk children and youth. I’ve also run and served on the board of coalitions.
My expertise, described in Geek-speak, includes persona and keyword research, messaging, search engine optimization, content mapping, info architecture, and nonprofit storytelling. This translates into several things that advance nonprofits’ goals. First, I work with clients to help them understand their audiences more deeply. Second, I help them fine-tune their organization’s authentic voice. Then I help plan out which kinds of content will be most engaging for each audience. Next, I set up websites that are easy to find and navigate. Finally, I enable groups to get their story heard, inspire people to take action and support for their causes.
I am a graduate of the Institute for Non-profit Management at Columbia University’s School of Business. In addition, I have training in digital and web design software, photo editing, and on-page SEO.
In my spare time, I’m an avid amateur photographer, with a particular love for macro shots. I’m happy to advise nonprofits on ways to take and curate better photos. I also love to listen to world music. And when the news gets overwhelming, my preferred forms of escape are shopping at fresh produce markets and making jewelry. Lately, my collection of jewelry has grown quite a bit.
For full bio, see Simha’s profile on LinkedIn.