The team at AboveWater Public Relations and Marketing is proud of our success increasing awareness, funds, and members for Friends of the Library of Collier County. Most important was to ensure that the non-profit achieved a return on their investment in marketing dollars. It was no easy task to prove our need to “spend” money to make more money on behalf of this not-for-profit that has been in existence since 1955. As old and established as the organization was, no one knew about Friends of the Library other than the board, existing members and library staff. AboveWater launched an awareness campaign that included the following communications vehicles:
Full-page ads in magazines and newspapers
Radio and television advertising
8-foot banners hung outside of library entrances
Full-color rack brochure
Editorial coverage in local press
A regular column in the local newspaper
Countertop posters at check-out
Floor mats at all entrances
Website revisions and news updates
Two years later, fundraising has increased by 30 percent. Annual membership has doubled. Community members are aware of the non-profit as evidenced by the increased number of people who are taking advantage of the free programs sponsored by the Friends. Philanthropists are contacting the organization to donate auction items, underwrite programs, and establish endowment funds—all wonderful words to hear when you are in the business of fundraising. Marketing is as necessary for non-profits as it is for corporations in business to make profits. With all of the communications tools available today, non-profits can find ways to market their message, attract more philanthropic supporters, and increase fundraising. AboveWater helps keep non-profits above water, too.
The campaign also boosted ticket sales for special events hosted by the Friends, such as the Nick Linn celebrity author speaker series and an annual casino night fundraiser.
Currently, AboveWater is now maintaining a level of awareness for Friends of the Library of Collier County through ongoing publicity placement, a monthly e-newsletter, Facebook posts, and minimal advertising on the one medium that proved to generate the most response-radio. Before placing any advertising, measurability systems were put in place anticipating the need to streamline the non-profit’s marketing costs long-term.
A couple of months after the unveiling, members of AboveWater Public Relations staff members are still seeing media clippings from all over the world as people discover the incredible sculpture of The Virgin Mary on the face of the Ave Maria Oratory at Ave Maria University(AMU). We are honored to have had the chance to work with members of the Ave Maria University Arts Foundation and Nick and Jane Healy to make the event happen for 2,000+ people. On March 25, 2011, AMU officials and talented student musicians unveiled what sculptor Márton Váró calls the greatest project of his life: one of the largest bas-reliefs in the world of The Virgin Mary. Carved in marble, Váró’s sculpture of the Annunciation stands 35 feet high and has a width of 31 feet. It weighs more than 54 tons and crowns the facade above the front doors of the campus Oratory.
“The Oratory has always inspired students, residents and visitors in Ave Maria, but now with the addition of Márton’s signature piece, it is truly breathtaking,” said Thomas S. Monaghan, Chancellor and Founder of the AMU campus 20 miles east of Naples, Florida.
“Ave Maria” is derived from the Archangel Gabriel’s visit to Mary announcing with her consent that she would be the mother of Jesus. The Feast of The Annunciation date is celebrated at the university every year, but this year was especially significant for everyone who attended. There was a moment of silence as the curtain gently fell away to reveal Mr. Varo’s painstaking work of the past three years and the voice of AMU Chorus Soprano Vanessa Tompkins filled the piazza. It was an emotional moment, but no more than the daily reactions of the hundreds of people who arrive at AMU Visitor’s Center for a tour and are overwhelmed by this amazing work of art.
The statuary is made from 19 blocks of Carrara marble derived from the Italian city for which it’s named. Widely regarded as the finest material in the world a sculptor can work with, it has been used since the time of Ancient Rome. Later, during the Renaissance, renowned artists used it to carve famous works of art. Michelangelo’s Pieta and David were carved from Carrara marble.
Váró is already a recognized artist internationally whose artistic influence stems from the Greek style of art prominent in the mid-fifth century B.C. He claims inspiration from the sculptures associated with the name of Phidias, the architect of the Parthenon and has said that the Ave Maria project is the most momentous of his life.
You must see it. Go there. http://www.avemaria.edu/visit/
Sculpture unveiling at Ave Maria Oratory
Twenty-plus years spent working in the hotel industry made me realize how precious and rare were my experiences working at the Bonaventure Resort and Spa. The team of people who came together at that time and place to deliver hospitality services to guests was exceptional. Work was challenging, but fun. The place really clicked. I am reminded of those days now as I work with another exceptional group of people who run the Doubletree Guest Suites Naples. A young energetic woman named Ashlee who heads up the employee motivational group called the “Care Committee,” said something that struck me—“The employees here won’t let each other down.” That comment nails it. Great managers and hard-working individuals who are talented in their particular expertise certainly contribute, but having those in place does not necessarily result in a hotel that clicks.
Doubletree Guest Suites Naples clicks and the guests confirm it with their accolades, ranking it the top hotel out of 56 in Naples on www.tripadvisor.com And that includes two Ritz Carlton Resorts! Doubletree recently held an employee party to celebrate achieving their sixth “Connie,” an award named after Conrad Hilton and bestowed for excellence in customer service. http://bit.ly/azs9du
I observed the poolside party and overheard people saying that receiving the Connie award was terrific. The President of Doubletree called it “unheard of” to earn six of them in the nine years since the hotel opened. And it is a small all-suite inn in a little town like Naples! One would expect such excellence from hotels in major metropolitan areas. Again, what struck me was hearing the employees say they were MUCH more excited about earning the CARE Cup and the Pride Award. Those internal forms of recognition are the result of months of working together more efficiently, more “greenly” and more effectively coming up with ideas to continually delight and serve the guests.
That’s what we did at the Bonaventure, affectionately termed Bonaventorture now among us alums. Every day was spent being creative about how we kept heads in beds and delivered top-notch conference services, outstanding food and beverages, tennis, golf, and spa treatments. While it may sound glamorous to those outside of the industry, it is hard work. Much goes on behind the scenes or
“back of the house,” to make it look effortless to hotel guests. I once told a job applicant that she would either really love the hotel business or really hate it.
For me, I loved it and so did my husband Mike who also was part of that Bonaventure team that really clicked. Some lifelong friendships were formed during those five years and while we have lots of hotel industry contacts and people who we still keep in touch with from all of the other areas of the country and The Caribbean where we worked, that Bonaventure experience is unforgettable.
It pleases me to see something similar happening to the happy and proud team of employees at Doubletree Guest Suites Naples. It is rare. Human resources departments and training leaders do their best to instill it with numerous train the trainer programs, off-site retreats, experiential training, and Myers-Briggs personality testing, but something else, something less tangible, something more special, maybe even magical has to be there, too. I am glad to have had the experience and wish the same wonderful memories for everyone at Guest Services, Inc. the management company running a hotel that really clicks—Doubletree Guest Suites Naples.
AboveWater is pleased to announce that we received a Gold Addy on Friday night, for our work with Sherri Morrison Graphic Design on the Naples Winter Wine Festival’s 10th Anniversary collateral. Barely taking time to celebrate, we are beginning work on the 2011 festival. It is very rewarding to be a part of such a successful event that raises so much money for The Naples Children and Education Foundation.
Working on behalf of luxury products, philanthropy has become a large part of AboveWater’s strategies. In the process, we have been introduced to some incredible organizations and fundraising events, most notably the Naples Winter Wine Festival. We worked with them only on the fringes, presenting luxury automobiles as auction items, one year a Rolls-Royce, another year a Bentley, and a recently a Maserati, all from Naples Luxury Imports.
But then Graphic Artist Sherri Morrison brought us to the table with an opportunity to revamp their website www.napleswinefestival.com
and establish the 10 year anniversary theme. We came up with Expanding Horizons with a colorful bird to symbolize how far reaching the horizon and the funds raised can be. It was interesting and fun to research the various celebrity chefs and winemakers who would host elaborate dinner parties in private homes, donating their time and talent to this worthy cause. We are proud of the fact that even in this down economy, NWWF raised more than $8 million for the Naples Children & Education Foundation through the winemaker dinners and an auction on the final day.
AboveWater is pleased to announce that we have been invited back to work with the 2011 Naples Winter Wine Festival, along with Sherri Morrison and her creative talents. We received the nicest hand-written thank you notes from Festival Chair Mrs. Kathleen Rooney. Oh, and this Friday we are attending the Addy Awards where we entered the anniversary campaign in a competition among our agency peers. Keep your fingers crossed!
Here’s a cause that many can relate to…raising money for people who need immediate financial assistance for expenses they incur while undergoing cancer treatments, including missed work days, transportation to and from the hospital, groceries, child care costs, and all sorts of things not covered by insurance.
Last summer, 21st Century Cancer Assistance Research and Education (C.A.R.E.), a Fort Myers-based, not-for-profit charitable foundation dedicated to cancer patients, started soliciting recipes from the patients, employees, physicians and board members in an effort to create a cookbook as a fundraising component to its cause. What resulted is “Caring Recipes for the 21st Century,” a hardbound three-ring binder boasting 386 recipes–everything from appetizers and beverages to entrées, desserts, candy and breads.
To give the project an added zeal, 21st Century C.A.R.E. also reached out to local civic leaders and businesses as well as to the famous Food Network Television Channel.
This effort resulted in recipes from FOX Channel 4 and WINK Channel 5, but the icing on the cake was obtaining a recipe from a former Food Network chef whose name and recipe remains secret except to those fortunate enough to obtain one of 3,000 available copies of the cook book.
For a $15 donation to 21st Century C.A.R.E., copies of “Caring Recipes for the 21st Century” are available through the website www.21stcenturycare.org. All of the funds are used to support the mission of 21st Century C.A.R.E., an organization that provides immediate financial assistance to cancer patients across the country for incidental expenses like groceries, medical supplies, transportation to and from treatment, and child care. For more information, visit the website at www.21stcenturycare.org or call 239-938-9301.
Another “feel good” client for AboveWater has been 21st Century C.A.R.E., with stands for Cancer Assistance Research and Education. A referral from local radio talk show host Bob Harden, we have been tasked with helping this organization spread the word about how they can assist cancer patients. The not-for-profit foundation’s mission is to provide cancer education to patients, physicians, and the public, to conduct cancer research, and to provide financial assistance to cancer patients in need. A black tie optional Casino Night with dinner and dancing at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort at Tiburon in Naples, on Saturday March 13, 2010 is being planned. Proceeds from the event will provide cancer patients in Collier County and Lee County with immediate financial assistance for incidental expenses related to active cancer treatment not covered by an insurance plan. We have attained media coverage in the regional magazines, newspapers, and local radio and FOX television.
It’s a bold move for a library and they have their critics in the community, but the Friends of the Library of Collier County are counting on marketing to help them revitalize their membership roster. The fundraising arm that supports library programs in so many ways has been around for more than 50 years, but it is truly Naples best kept secret. They hired AboveWater to help them find out who their “friends” really are. The slogan asks “Are you a Library Cardholder or Friend?”
The initiative brings to light the confusion people may have about being a member. Friends of the Library board member and Secretary Nita Leftwich puts it succinctly, “A library card is what the library does for you. The Friends are what you do for the library.” The campaign attempts to clarify the key role that the Friends of the Library play in supporting the public library system. The Friends of the Library of Collier County have contributed over $1.5 million to satisfy a variety of educational, recreational and technological needs at Collier County’s 10 library locations.
The organization relies in part on Friends membership dues to offer this aid. Several levels of membership are available, including a $25 Individual Membership and a $35 Family Membership. Since the campaign began in January, we have 251 new members and raised more than $20,000 in donations.
Friends of the Library of Collier County enjoy perks like previews for book sales and free exhibit space at the West Wing Art Gallery. They can get tickets to exclusive “fun”draising events like the “Red, White, and Roulette” casino night held recently that raised nearly $16,000. Also, Friends receive advance ticket information and savings at the popular Nick Linn Lecture Series, which gives audiences a chance to hear from bestselling authors such as James Patterson, Dennis Lehane, and Nicholas Sparks.
For more information on the Friends of the Library, visit www.collier-friends.org or call 239-262-8135.