Hurricane Harvey Relief Project – Communications Recap

The stark images and flooding left by Hurricane Harvey inspired many people of goodwill to give generously. At St. James Catholic Church, where I worked at the time, we provided an opportunity for the parish and its surrounding community to participate in a food drive. The project came together very quickly. Harvey hit Texas on Friday, August 25. Our food drive was the main topic of the parish leadership meeting the following Monday, local ads were published on Thursday, August 31, and we officially announced the effort to the parish on via email on Friday, September 1.

My responsibilities included serving as the key staff contact, producing graphics, coordinating the paid print and Facebook advertising campaign and banner production, collaborating with colleagues on the press release for the diocese communications office to distribute, and photographing the food drive from the truck’s arrival on September 1 through its final day on campus, September 10. My amazing colleagues and our outstanding volunteer coordinator made this effort both rewarding and fun. The parish and local community combined to send over 10,000 pounds of food to a food bank in Southeast Texas, and we were also able find homes for donations that did not fit the relief efforts.

Social Media:

Select Twitter posts




Select Facebook posts


The pastor posted this text on his personal profile as well:

I provided the pictures and details to the diocesan social media coordinator for this post:

Parish outreach:

St. James Website – in addition to the now defunct Harvey Relief section, we included the drive in a news article and a front page banner link.

Emails: On September 1 and September 6, the food drive was the lead topic.


Press coverage:


Tysons Corner Patch

St. James Lends a Hand to Hurricane Harvey Victims


Other coverage:

Two teenage volunteers on our project received a mention on Durable Human:

When Disaster Strikes Others, Feel the Pinch of Generosity


Unexpected Thoughts

Midewin Social Media Shout Out

I will be on vacation next week, and one of the places we will visit is Midewin Tallgrass Prairie, a National Forest Service site dedicated to education and restoration of the tallgrass prairie in Illinois. Many Illinois residents have no idea there’s a great nature refuge just two hours south of Chicago! Since the prairie is a relatively new destination in an area with many options, the team works hard to share the vision and opportunities of this great resource. I love their Bison Cam, and their efforts to connect the public to the important work they do.

Their Facebook pictures are also a delight!

Unexpected Thoughts

Take Canva to Another Level

Though I will always be a Photoshop devotee, I love to share Canva with people who do not feel confident about their graphic skills. The online design platform makes it incredibly easy to make fast, professional looking graphics. Their templates are simple examples of great design. If you’d like to move beyond these turnkey options, play with the elements to change colors, shapes or orientations. In the graphic below, I moved text from the center, added birds and changed the entire color scheme.


Hiring Your Niece Can Be Brilliant

Horror stories abound on the subject of a business owner hiring a family member to manage a website, social media campaign, or some other aspect of their marketing. Nine times out of ten, these disasters are slow moving, painful forest fires that could be prevented with a bit of planning.

To prevent third degree burns from your best intentions, consider how your family member’s actual strengths match your needs. “Good with computers” could mean either design guru or IT guru. Notice that neither of those is a marketing guru. “Great on social media” could translate to a hilarious viral video but no sales.

My Marketing Connections program can help you. You and I work together to identify and set key marketing goals that are achievable, but require a stretch in skills. Your staff member gets consultation targeted towards helping them create a toolkit and build the skills to meet these goals. The three of us collaborate to build a great outcome and avoid conflagrations.

Connect with me for coffee or to schedule a preliminary conversation.

Genius Strategy

Let Me Enable Your Inner Genius

As an organization leader or small business owner, you’re an expert on you. What you do and how you do it are your particular forms of genius.  I frequently speak to leaders and small business owners who can tell me pretty much instantly what their stakeholders or customers need and want.
Connecting with the wider community and potential customers can be another story. Day to day tasks make strategic thinking hard. Identifying, locating and approaching people who could gain from your service, use your product, or support your work is time consuming.
As a marketing and communications consultant, my expertise is connecting you effectively with your prime audience. I work within your budget and capacity to help you build a plan that is focused, goal oriented and flexible.
Connect with me for coffee or just some good conversation.
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