A Passion for Your Project: How Nonprofits Startup
Published on April 19, at 2:03 p.m.
by Kyrsten Eller.
The main purpose of a nonprofit is to improve quality of life, whether that be for members of a local community or for the planet.
Both Operation Climate and Cool Kids Clubhouse are prime examples of nonprofits that aim to better the community altogether. Through various public relations strategies and communication tactics, these nonprofits have been able to find success while being new to their local communities.
Operation Climate was launched in January 2020 and achieved its nonprofit status in April 2020. Co-founder Matthew Bruneexplained that he and his classmate Katherine Li started the company because of the inspiration they received from a climate engineering class project at Duke University. “Our freshman year, Katherine and I were working on a class project dealing with climate engineering and technology,” explained Brune. “We decided to do a podcast and created episodes for our nonprofit.”
Brune explained that they wanted to focus their podcast on the environment and specifically target high school students due to their lack of environmental learning in high school. “We want students to learn about the content, because Katherine and I believe that we didn’t get the climate education in high school that we should have,” said Brune.
Operation Climate uses social media as its main form of communication to ensure direct communication for the target audience. Although Brune said it was a challenge to record quality content during COVID-19, the pandemic benefitted the organization in numerous ways, because it enhanced communication methods.
“The pandemic enhanced our communication platforms because we were able to target our media communication to high schoolers directly online,” stated Brune. “It was easier to communicate with people and reach our audience with people across the globe, which gave Operation Climate the opportunity to grow.”
The organization took advantage of technology to grow awareness as well, specifically using its key method of communication: newsletters. “We have a pop-up on the website to sign up for our newsletter that only comes once a month,” said Brune. “The newsletter tells you how to donate and what we are doing.”
While the main source of communication is Instagram, Brune said the organization is also trying to grow its YouTube channel and implement a TikTok page. “We have visual media that we are able to portray to our target audience, because we feel that it’s the most engaging to students, since people are much less likely to read long paragraphs of words,” said Brune.
Operation Climate now has nearly 1,000 followers on Instagram and was able to open up unpaid student internship positions last year. Last summer, the nonprofit had 36 interns across the U.S., as well as in Canada. With the upgraded technology, one of its biggest goals is to open paid internships to students, primarily in the Durham, North Carolina, area.
Cool Kids Clubhouse
Cool Kids Clubhouse was originally founded in Towson, Maryland, in 2006 by Chris Federico. However, the nonprofit recently opened its second clubhouse in Huntersville, North Carolina, in 2020, where it has continued to help children who are fighting cancer.
The organization was created in honor of Federico’s mother who passed away from cancer. According to Managing Director Melissa Scott, the mission of Cool Kids is to “provide free services to pediatric oncology patients through academics, social and emotional support.”
In order for the nonprofit to offer various types of support to its patients, it provides different resources and tools that help families if they don’t have the time or if they are experiencing financial barriers. As an example of the services provided, Scott explained that “for academic programming, we have professional online tutoring for the patients. For emotional and social support, that’s anything from a movie night, festivals, birthday parties or even taking patients out to get ice cream.”
Because families can be extremely busy, Scott said that Cool Kids Clubhouse doesn’t want to serve as a distraction, but as a resource. As far as communication methods, the staff aim to make its services as personalized as possible in order to emphasize the support the organization has for families.
“We use email, phone calls, texts and social media to communicate with these families,” Scott explained. “We even mail letters to some families, because our goal is to meet them where they are to make it a personalized program because we want to do what’s best for them.”
Cool Kids also participates in various fundraising events, such as elegant dinners and celebrity golf tournaments. However, starting in 2020, it was difficult to raise money and meet goals due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “The lack of personal contact we were able to have with our kids was difficult, as well as funding,” said Scott.
But, the company was able to gain funding during this time from diversified grants and gracious donors, which helped it continue to pursue its goals, Scott said.
Although starting up a nonprofit can be challenging, these organizations go a long way in order to help people. Even with numerous challenges, both organizations have found success and worked through the obstacles that have come their way.