How the Inaugural GT Cares Grant Helped Humanity Rising Elevate Student Volunteers

Humanity Rising needed a hand. The nonprofit group, which gives Chicago-area students scholarships for self-directed volunteer service projects, wasn’t telling its story in ways that resonated. Debbie Ferruzzi, Humanity Rising’s founder and CEO, came to Greentarget for help.

In the course of six months, our team not only revamped Humanity Rising’s messaging but also helped Debbie and her team develop and execute on comprehensive marketing and communications plans. In all we spent nearly 200 hours, all delivered pro bono, on Humanity Rising – an investment in time that easily paid for itself in inspiration and gratitude for our team. Here’s how it happened.

Capturing Our Imagination

In 2017, Greentarget launched its first-ever GT Cares Grant to expand our pro bono reach and build a deep connection with an organization that truly aligned with our service offerings, our background and the collective passion of our team. Each member of the Greentarget staff sought nominations through personal and social media networks, casting a wide net to find organizations that would match our strengths and push us to stretch our comfort zone. Our Pro Bono and Community Investment Committee carefully winnowed the group to five candidates to take to the full staff for a vote. While each of the candidates was deserving, and each would have been an exciting challenge, one in particular captured our imaginations.

Humanity Rising is a movement to create a better world through volunteer service. By enabling students to choose a cause they feel passionately about, Humanity Rising helps bring awareness to dozens of worthy causes – making it a perfect fit for our team, which has a broad range of philanthropic passions.

Throughout our six-month engagement with Humanity Rising, we assisted with messaging, media relations, event support and digital and social strategy. All of this work came together in a comprehensive PR and communications plan, which included sets of strategic messages tailored to Humanity Rising’s stakeholders: students, individual donors and corporate sponsors. It was important to define a clear message for each group, and we produced versatile messages to be molded and iterated across different types of marketing materials and external communications as Humanity Rising continues to grow. The plan also included in-depth media and influencer lists tailored to the organization’s audiences.

In addition to this plan, we provided press release and media advisory templates, content for sponsorship brochures, a social media plan, draft social posts and strategic guidance on Google Ads and website structure. We also gave support and guidance on follow-up for a conference Humanity Rising attended and developed a job description that led to the employment of a new intern to help support PR and marketing initiatives into the future.

Purpose-Driven Work – At Work

In the end, we left Humanity Rising equipped to more strategically and effectively communicate its mission. They’re poised to execute a media relations plan and develop savvy content. We’re looking forward to seeing what’s next for them.

At Greentarget, doing purpose-driven work isn’t a requirement; it’s a benefit for our team. And from an organization standpoint, we are lucky to contribute to causes we believe in while offering our colleagues unique experiences in both public relations and life. From the United Way of Metro Chicago and Heartland Alliance to the Domestic Violence Legal Clinic and the Cameron Kravitt Foundation to Culinary Care and Barrel of Monkeys, Greentarget has committed hundreds of hours to a broad spectrum of organizations that are working tirelessly to improve the lives of thousands of individuals and their families.

From campaigns to influence substantive policy initiatives and improve the perception of internationally recognized brands, to supporting all communications efforts at a non-profit, Padraic’s diverse experience, strategic thinking, and a commitment to service ensures positive positioning for organizations.

Madelaine loves the fast-paced news cycle and the excitement of a breaking story. Supporting media relations, research and social media efforts for her account, she enjoys digging deep into issues that are most pressing to clients.