At Holmes Marketing Services, we have the opportunity to partner with various nonprofit organizations in the Springfield and Dayton areas. We recognize that each nonprofit is unique in their values, visions, and goals.
So, we decided to interview one of our partners to discuss their experience of working with a marketing agency and to hear the advice they have for other organizations in similar situations.
We chose Paul Slagle, the Executive Director at First Christian Church in Springfield, Ohio. Below is a recap of our conversation:
The Story of First Christian Church and Holmes
Before working with a dedicated marketing agency, First Christian Church (FCC) had a marketing individual on staff. This position fulfilled the need for one-time pieces. But, it became difficult to create a cohesive and comprehensive strategy that worked for the church.
Paul remembered that a lot of the pieces tended to be disorganized. They also typically only targeted a specific generation in the church. Since FCC is known for their wide age span, it was difficult to ensure that messaging would reach each of the different groups in a way that worked for them.
Last year, there was a large shift in the team structure. They decided to take advantage of this change and realign their approach to their marketing. While they do have a communications coordinator on staff, Paul wanted to be sure that she would have the support she needs in various pieces like marketing strategy and graphic design.
When FCC decided to partner with Holmes, Paul realized that an outside perspective was exactly what the church needed to be able to look at their situation from the big picture.
The Next Level
Prior to Paul’s employment, FCC had a lot of experience with volunteers stepping up to perform marketing tasks. This was anything from building their old website to planning events to creating marketing collateral and more.
Paul pointed out that volunteers are the backbone of FCC, and are vital to the church’s mission. But he also recognized that when volunteers were performing high-level decision making, very little was coordinated. Overall, the church had a tough time trying to communicate with the body of the church and the community of Springfield.
“Sometimes if you don’t hire a professional, it can end up costing you more than a volunteer.”
The Value of Partnership
When asked what FCC’s experience has been working with Holmes so far, Paul said:
“It has been a great experience – very smooth. The cooperation and idea sharing has been fantastic.”
He also mentioned that when a nonprofit partners with the right marketing agency, “it frees up staff to do what they were hired to do. It gives consistency to the brand and brings a level of communication that just isn’t possible without bringing in professionals.”
Through our discussion, we talked about the future of the relationship between FCC and Holmes.
Paul said, “I want to work with people I trust, and with people that can do the things that I can’t do. I believe in hiring the experts, and I believe we have done that not only with our staff but also with Holmes.”
From One Nonprofit to Another
When I asked Paul if he had any final thoughts for other nonprofits, this is what he said:
“Be sure to find an agency that works best for your cause. Work with someone who understands the weight that comes with being a good steward of each donation gifted and grant awarded to your organization. Deal with people you trust and like and have confidence in – I have that in Holmes.”