Every agency has it’s stories about pro bono work — some good, some bad. The key in making it work is to have the right expectations, and managing them for the benefit of your business and that of the recipient of your largesse. Recently, we’ve become linked with a start-up youth football program for 5th- 8th grade kids called the Dawgs.
Football has been a passion of my own for most of my life. My dad is a Wisconsin Hall of Fame football coach, and I played the game well enough to actually sign a pro contract with the Packers, back when dinosaurs ruled the earth. Since that time, I’ve been a volunteer high school coach and instructor to hundreds of kids along the way. I’ve also been a guest speaker to dozens of programs to assist in garnering a better sports culture to give kids, coaches and parents a better experience.
So when my own home town saw it’s youth football participation drop dramatically, something had to be done. So a new entity was born to replace the flaws of the old. Marketing something new can always be done, but if the culture hasn’t changed, you’ve traded one uniform for another, but the problems remain. This is as true of small business as it is a children’s non-profit sports organization.
So how do you attract 100 kids (and their parents) to participate in a new program when another already exists?
Frankly, a lot of hard work by a few dedicated people who all share in the same philosophy and mission. Getting on board with a clear message and a fervor to see something good flourish is a powerful motivator. Coalescing and harnessing that energy is something that becomes larger than yourself and gratifying to experience. I’m pleased to say that with our involvement with the Cedarburg Dawgs, we went from true zero participants as of January 1st of this year, to over 100 kids in the program in just three months.
How do you make something out of nothing from a marketing stand point?
When there is no track record, no uniforms, no logo, no imagery of any sort to work with, one might think that the game is lost before it’s begun. Not so, but you better get creative fast… and hone up your Photoshop skills!
The Cedarburg Dawgs is building a strong youth football program built on the mutual trust between parents, kids and the coaches of the organization — where kids can learn to play the game of football in a fun, safe and life-affirming atmosphere.