This post is brought to you in partnership with TalenAlexander.
I walked into a room filled with laughing children, smiling volunteers, Christmas decorations and the smell of pancakes. I’d forgotten how good it felt to be in the company of pure happiness at a giving event – HopeMatch’s Annual GiveHope Event.
As with many businesses and organizations, HopeMatch started as a simple, humble idea. But when you add passion, commitment and dedication, you have a strong foundational basis for a brand that is long-lasting. And that’s what HopeMatch has begun to achieve. Hence, our desire to sit down with HopeMatch and share how this Charlotte-based brand has grown, and how your brand can learn from them.
Ideas drive brand formation
Founder, Erin Blackmore witnessed extreme need on a daily basis as a former food stamp case manager with the Mecklenburg County Department of Social Services. And like many people with Erin’s heart, she grew tired of saying no to those in need. After putting herself in their shoes, she decided to develop a way of serving others that maintained dignity and respect.
In 2010, she decided to put her husband’s Christmas bonus toward what would become HopeMatch, an organization whose mission is to provide HOPE by matching local needs with compassionate givers as they aspire to bring lasting HOPE and encouragement to the unseen and underserved in the community.
Eight years later, what started as a Christmas-specific organization, has now become a known brand affiliated with a wide range of programs and resources to provide support to struggling families in a multitude of ways from financial planning to celebrating life’s special moments.
Strong values push brands ahead
Whether you’re starting a for-profit or charitable organization, it’s important to create a space for your brand to thrive. That requires establishing a unique brand identity.
How does HopeMatch separate itself from other charitable organizations?
One of the most notable ways they separate ourselves is by personalizing the gifts they give. Each family and family member is served as an individual person with individual needs, likes, and desires.
“We believe when we serve the individual where they are at, with excellence, it produces hope.” – Erin Blackmore, Founder
Not to mention, every event hosted by HopeMatch isn’t just about meeting material needs, but also heart needs. Volunteers and families served, leave events feeling encouraged and uplifted.
That’s what you get when you have founders, board members, and a community that is committed to the brand’s mission and core values.
Compassion leads to engagement
Another key to driving your brand is fostering engagement. From events to social media, every brand has to strategically find ways to grow their reach and therefore, sustain a long-term business model.
In its first year, HopeMatch served two families. As of 2018, Senetra McDuffie, Community Connections Chair, declared with a huge smile, “We’ll be providing support for over 116 families! We’ve gotten to the point where we have more sponsors than we do families.”
How exactly have they made that possible?
Through meaningful events. Through leveraging both public and private Facebook pages. But most importantly, families they have served believe in HopeMatch so much that they come back to volunteer in committed roles. As Erin Blackmore puts it, “They are fiercely protective of HopeMatch and the way we serve. We estimate that 7 out of 10 of our committed volunteers are past families we have served.”
Plan for the future
Once you’ve established your brand, planning for the future is critical. How are you going to sustain your business model? How are you going to continue fostering growth?
For HopeMatch, their hope is to create chapters in other areas, spreading their mission and vision. The first step? Continue finding people who believe in the organization and who want to lead those efforts in their respective communities.
Want to spread Hope?
You can donate to HopeMatch all year long and even offer to volunteer. However, ‘tis the season for giving back. If you want to give back right now, you’re just in time for HopeMatch’s “Double the Impact, Double the Hope.” Between now and Christmas, ALL monetary donations will be MATCHED up to $15,000 by Carolina Metals Group!
If you’re still not sure, check out what THE CHIEF has to say!
How Can You #LOVEYOURBRAND?
At TalenAlexander, we build brands and we build businesses. With Charlotte roots and a global reach, we help clients create authentic engagement, reach new audiences and break through the marketing noise.
Check us out at www.talenalexander.com/c5 for our top industry tips and tricks to increase your brand’s engagement.