Case Studies / Non-Profit and Government

How Curve Helps Non-profit and Government Organizations

Non-profits and governments share one common goal: their marketing efforts need to drive people to take action. Campaigns aren’t about boosting sales. They’re about generating awareness about services and initiatives and engaging the public.

More than 170,000 non-profit and charitable organizations operate in Canada. That means competition is fierce. And just because these groups don’t sell products or services, doesn’t mean they don’t need to market themselves. Even governments and their agencies need marketing strategies to boost programs and service engagement.

Non-profits have an added challenge because they often have to get their messaging to potential volunteers and donors on small budgets. But they still need strong awareness-building strategies if they want to compete for attention and, of course, fundraising dollars.

At Curve Communications, we have a whole division dedicated to meeting the marketing needs of non-profits and governments because we know they face unique challenges.

“People often think of marketing as a sales-boosting tool, but more than anything it’s about getting an organization’s message to the right target audience,” said George Affleck, Curve’s president and CEO. “Non-profits and governments are still, at their core, businesses. They just sell values, services and programs instead of products.”

Building a Strong Talent Brand

The success of many non-profits – especially membership organizations – comes down to establishing a strong talent brand. Members need to believe in the organization they belong to in order to promote that organization to others. Non-profits that don’t have strong talent brands can experience declines in membership, which threatens the overall survival of these organizations.

The British Columbia and Yukon Community Newspapers Association (BCYCNA) understands the need for maintaining a strong talent brand. It’s a non-profit membership organization that represents more than 100 community newspapers in British Columbia and the Yukon with a combined readership of around 2.5 million.

Every year the BCYCNA hosts the Ma Murray Awards – to recognize the hard work of its member papers. But when the organization first approached Curve in 2000, the awards were experiencing a steady decrease in attendance and sponsorship revenue.

“The Ma Murrays are an important way of recognizing and celebrating the critically important work of community newspapers and their staff in British Columbia and the Yukon,” said Peter Kvarnstrom, Past President of BCYCNA, now president of Community Media at Glacier Media Group. “They are also an important part of newspaper history in the region — one that we don’t want to lose.”

The BCYCNA’s membership base is spread out over a large geographical area. The papers are run by different publishers and report on very different communities. Due to these facts, the BCYCNA was struggling to create a solid talent brand that appealed to all members. The annual gala was the main event that brought everyone together for a common cause. Without it, the BCYCNA talent brand was in trouble.

When the BCYCNA first approached Curve, the Ma Murrays were not in line with what the organization’s members wanted,” said Kerry Slater, Curve’s manager of creative products. “To solidify the non-profit’s talent brand and keep members happy, the event needed a total overhaul.”

Curve has now planned the gala for almost two decades. Our team does everything. We secure title sponsors and enough sponsorship dollars so that the gala can be a fun and engaging event for all without costing members any money. In fact, the event even makes a profit now. We also book the venue, manage award submissions, secure judges, arrange entertainment and plan an after party, write speeches, design and write award booklets, manage the event day-of and much more.

Our involvement has led to enormous growth in all areas, including increased award submissions, attendance and sponsorship year after year. When we took over the Ma Murray Awards, 80 people — including 10 per cent of award finalists — attended the dinner. Now, more than 300 people and 90 per cent of finalists come to the event.

“Curve Communications has been instrumental in the BCYCNA, to keep this significant event relevant and growing in importance,” Kvarnstrom said. “Member newspapers truly benefit from the Ma Murrays, which brings journalists, editors, publishers, ad designers, and sales teams together to recognize the critical work we all do in ensuring the strength of our publications and the health of our communities.”

The newspaper industry around the world is in a constant state of flux due to digital platforms and changes in advertising structures. But smaller community newspapers still play an important role in rural communities in British Columbia and the Yukon. The changes to newspaper reporting have caused some turbulence, but the BCYCNA and the annual gala provide some stability.

"Make Money a 'Non Issue"

Maximizing small marketing budgets is possible, but sometimes non-profits need to secure additional funding to back a particular project.

Newspapertraining.ca approached Curve because it needed to build a new training website for community newspaper employees across Canada. The organization had an existing site, but it was rarely updated and editorial, sales, design and management staff at Canada’s community papers did not visit it or view it as a helpful resource.

“We wanted to create a hub of useful content and training modules where community newspaper staff could go to keep up with major changes in our industry,” said Tim Shoults, operations manager at Aberdeen Publishing.

To accomplish this goal, Newspapertraining.ca needed some additional funding. Curve applied for Government of Canada grants on behalf of the organization and helped secure $100,000 to fund the project.

The organization wanted to brand its new online training hub as a resource created “by” community newspapers “for” community newspapers. It also wanted the site to function as a forum where reporters, editors, sales teams and publishers could come together to share ideas. Curve built the website — which included a public side and a members-only side. The public side functions as a sales tool for individuals and newspapers interested in becoming members. The members section hosts articles, tips, videos, webinars Q&As, expert interviews, training modules and much more.

In addition to building the site, our team produced the training content. Since most of our team members are former journalists, we were uniquely positioned to not just design and build the training website, but also to supply it with high quality content.

The new Newspapertraining.ca has been extremely successful — with more than 260 users and at least five new users every week.

Building a Go-To Resource

Organizations that run government-funded projects sometimes need help making those projects come to fruition and marketing them so the public is aware they exist. After all, provincial and federal governments fund a lot of projects, but those projects are only effective if people know they exist.

NewtoBC understands this challenge. The organization partners with libraries and immigrant service providers to help newcomers settle in the province of British Columbia and takes pride in using innovative approaches and technology to deliver its services. When NewtoBC first approached Curve, it wanted to create a massive database – funded by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada – that connected libraries to each other and to newcomers to help them settle and integrate into BC communities.

Before the database was built, immigrants had to visit each library website or physically go into a branch to access materials and learn more about services. NewtoBC was concerned people weren’t taking advantage of all the resources available to them because they didn’t know about them or didn’t feel comfortable physically going into a library to get more information.

“NewtoBC was trying to solve a big problem with a comprehensive website when it approached Curve for help,” said Gina Robinson, Curve’s director of client services. “It needed to create and market a database that newcomers would find useful.”

The database needed to be user-friendly for people who don’t necessarily speak English as a first language. It also needed to be welcoming and organized in a way that users could easily find the information they needed.

Curve built the website, which includes library catalogues in different languages, programs, news, branch information, immigrant settlement resources, details about the Library Champions Program, event calendars and much more. The site is content-rich and requires regular updates. After the site launched, Curve marketed it both internally and externally. We did traditional and digital media buys to generate awareness about newtobc.ca. Several years after launch, the website continues to expand.

“The NewtoBC website has become a well-known resource for newcomers in the province of British Columbia,” said Trevor Van Eerden, a principal with Peers Employment and Education Resources, the consulting company behind NewtoBC. “The database has exceeded our vision for creating a tool to help immigrants settle in their new communities.”

Curve now manages updates and ensures the database runs smoothly. New libraries are regularly added to the site and it has become the go-to resource for newcomers to British Columbia and Canada.

Marketing Challenges in Remote Areas

Some government and industry-funded events take place in remote areas of Canada. These events are meant to engage the public in small communities. But due to location, organizers often face challenges in generating awareness and encouraging public participation.

Small communities have fewer media outlets and smaller populations, making it challenging to reach target audiences,” said George Affleck, Curve’s founder and CEO.

In August 2017, Curve Communications began working with Futurpreneur Canada to help promote two annual events: the ThriveNorth Mentor Masterclass and the Entrepreneur Marketplace.

Futurpreneur Canada approached Curve because it needed help raising awareness about both events, which are joint initiatives between Futurpreneur Canada, the Province of British Columbia, FEC, LNG Canada and TransCanada.

Curve developed an advertising and media relations strategy to generate awareness about the events and to encourage small businesses and entrepreneurs in Terrace, Prince Rupert and surrounding communities to participate.

Curve’s digital ads alone reached close to 54,000 people. That’s a lot given the combined population of Terrace and Prince Rupert is around 24,000. The Mentor Masterclass reached its goal of 25 attendees. And Curve secured media hits with Bell Media and the Terrace Standard.

Because of the success of the event, Futurpreneur has expanded to other areas, including Fort St. John and Prince George.

Finding Success on Any Budget

No matter the size of budget, both non-profits and government projects face challenges in achieving their end goals: engaging the public.

Governments and non-profits know what it’s like to create services and programs and struggle to get people to participate in or engage with them. We’ve worked with both for years – helping them build successful campaigns on any budget.

Building a Strong Talent Brand

The success of many non-profits – especially membership organizations – comes down to establishing a strong talent brand. Members need to believe in the organization they belong to in order to promote that organization to others. Non-profits that don’t have strong talent brands can experience declines in membership, which threatens the overall survival of these organizations.

The British Columbia and Yukon Community Newspapers Association (BCYCNA) understands the need for maintaining a strong talent brand. It’s a non-profit membership organization that represents more than 100 community newspapers in British Columbia and the Yukon with a combined readership of around 2.5 million.

Every year the BCYCNA hosts the Ma Murray Awards – to recognize the hard work of its member papers. But when the organization first approached Curve in 2000, the awards were experiencing a steady decrease in attendance and sponsorship revenue.

The Ma Murrays are an important way of recognizing and celebrating the critically important work of community newspapers and their staff in British Columbia and the Yukon,” said Peter Kvarnstrom, Past President of BCYCNA, now president of Community Media at Glacier Media Group. “They are also an important part of newspaper history in the region — one that we don’t want to lose.”

The BCYCNA’s membership base is spread out over a large geographical area. The papers are run by different publishers and report on very different communities. Due to these facts, the BCYCNA was struggling to create a solid talent brand that appealed to all members. The annual gala was the main event that brought everyone together for a common cause. Without it, the BCYCNA talent brand was in trouble.

When the BCYCNA first approached Curve, the Ma Murrays were not in line with what the organization’s members wanted,” said Kerry Slater, Curve’s manager of creative products. “To solidify the non-profit’s talent brand and keep members happy, the event needed a total overhaul.”

Curve has now planned the gala for almost two decades. Our team does everything. We secure title sponsors and enough sponsorship dollars so that the gala can be a fun and engaging event for all without costing members any money. In fact, the event even makes a profit now. We also book the venue, manage award submissions, secure judges, arrange entertainment and plan an after party, write speeches, design and write award booklets, manage the event day-of and much more.

Our involvement has led to enormous growth in all areas, including increased award submissions, attendance and sponsorship year after year. When we took over the Ma Murray Awards, 80 people — including 10 per cent of award finalists — attended the dinner. Now, more than 300 people and 90 per cent of finalists come to the event.

“Curve Communications has been instrumental in the BCYCNA, to keep this significant event relevant and growing in importance,” Kvarnstrom said. “Member newspapers truly benefit from the Ma Murrays, which brings journalists, editors, publishers, ad designers, and sales teams together to recognize the critical work we all do in ensuring the strength of our publications and the health of our communities.”

The newspaper industry around the world is in a constant state of flux due to digital platforms and changes in advertising structures. But smaller community newspapers still play an important role in rural communities in British Columbia and the Yukon. The changes to newspaper reporting have caused some turbulence, but the BCYCNA and the annual gala provide some stability.

"Make Money a 'Non Issue"

Maximizing small marketing budgets is possible, but sometimes non-profits need to secure additional funding to back a particular project.

Newspapertraining.ca approached Curve because it needed to build a new training website for community newspaper employees across Canada. The organization had an existing site, but it was rarely updated and editorial, sales, design and management staff at Canada’s community papers did not visit it or view it as a helpful resource.

“We wanted to create a hub of useful content and training modules where community newspaper staff could go to keep up with major changes in our industry,” said Tim Shoults, operations manager at Aberdeen Publishing.

To accomplish this goal, Newspapertraining.ca needed some additional funding. Curve applied for Government of Canada grants on behalf of the organization and helped secure $100,000 to fund the project.

The organization wanted to brand its new online training hub as a resource created “by” community newspapers “for” community newspapers. It also wanted the site to function as a forum where reporters, editors, sales teams and publishers could come together to share ideas. Curve built the website — which included a public side and a members-only side. The public side functions as a sales tool for individuals and newspapers interested in becoming members. The members section hosts articles, tips, videos, webinars Q&As, expert interviews, training modules and much more.

In addition to building the site, our team produced the training content. Since most of our team members are former journalists, we were uniquely positioned to not just design and build the training website, but also to supply it with high quality content.

The new Newspapertraining.ca has been extremely successful — with more than 260 users and at least five new users every week.

Building a Go-To Resource

Organizations that run government-funded projects sometimes need help making those projects come to fruition and marketing them so the public is aware they exist. After all, provincial and federal governments fund a lot of projects, but those projects are only effective if people know they exist.

NewtoBC understands this challenge. The organization partners with libraries and immigrant service providers to help newcomers settle in the province of British Columbia and takes pride in using innovative approaches and technology to deliver its services. When NewtoBC

first approached Curve, it wanted to create a massive database – funded by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada – that connected libraries to each other and to newcomers to help them settle and integrate into BC communities.

Before the database was built, immigrants had to visit each library website or physically go into a branch to access materials and learn more about services. NewtoBC was concerned people weren’t taking advantage of all the resources available to them because they didn’t know about them or didn’t feel comfortable physically going into a library to get more information.

“NewtoBC was trying to solve a big problem with a comprehensive website when it approached Curve for help,” said Gina Robinson, Curve’s director of client services. “It needed to create and market a database that newcomers would find useful.”

The database needed to be user-friendly for people who don’t necessarily speak English as a first language. It also needed to be welcoming and organized in a way that users could easily find the information they needed.

Curve built the website, which includes library catalogues in different languages, programs, news, branch information, immigrant settlement resources, details about the Library Champions Program, event calendars and much more. The site is content-rich and requires regular updates. After the site launched, Curve marketed it both internally and externally. We did traditional and digital media buys to generate awareness about newtobc.ca. Several years after launch, the website continues to expand.

“The NewtoBC website has become a well-known resource for newcomers in the province of British Columbia,” said Trevor Van Eerden, a principal with Peers Employment and Education Resources, the consulting company behind NewtoBC. “The database has exceeded our vision for creating a tool to help immigrants settle in their new communities.”

Curve now manages updates and ensures the database runs smoothly. New libraries are regularly added to the site and it has become the go-to resource for newcomers to British Columbia and Canada.

Marketing Challenges in Remote Areas

Some government and industry-funded events take place in remote areas of Canada. These events are meant to engage the public in small communities. But due to location, organizers often face challenges in generating awareness and encouraging public participation.

“Small communities have fewer media outlets and smaller populations, making it challenging to reach target audiences,” said George Affleck, Curve’s founder and CEO.

In August 2017, Curve Communications began working with Futurpreneur Canada to help promote two annual events: the ThriveNorth Mentor Masterclass and the Entrepreneur Marketplace.

Futurpreneur Canada approached Curve because it needed help raising awareness about both events, which are joint initiatives between Futurpreneur Canada, the Province of British Columbia, FEC, LNG Canada and TransCanada.

Curve developed an advertising and media relations strategy to generate awareness about the events and to encourage small businesses and entrepreneurs in Terrace, Prince Rupert and surrounding communities to participate.

Curve’s digital ads alone reached close to 54,000 people. That’s a lot given the combined population of Terrace and Prince Rupert is around 24,000. The Mentor Masterclass reached its goal of 25 attendees. And Curve secured media hits with Bell Media and the Terrace Standard.

Because of the success of the event, Futurpreneur has expanded to other areas, including Fort St. John and Prince George.

Finding Success on Any Budget

No matter the size of budget, both non-profits and government projects face challenges in achieving their end goals: engaging the public.

Governments and non-profits know what it’s like to create services and programs and struggle to get people to participate in or engage with them. We’ve worked with both for years – helping them build successful campaigns on any budget.