The company I work for, Sereno Group, began a charitable campaign last year called “One Percent for Good.” Our president and the company’s founder, Chris Trapani, is often inspired by Patagonia and wanted to emulate their “1% for the Planet” program. The goal: “In an effort to support the best of our community, Sereno Group has pledged to give 1% of our gross commissions to a charitable or community-minded group committed to making a positive difference in the communities we serve.” So saying, agents within each of the 6 offices of our company can choose to participate, donating toward the charitable-cause-of-choice each quarter. Each office works independently to choose their charity, and a committee of agents help choose charities, make contacts at those charities, and coordinate with me to have advertising made for their cause. Ads are taken out in local papers, posted on Facebook, and also sent out as emails and direct mailers to agent’s clients, friends and family. The purpose of the ads is two-fold: one to inform the communities about the campaign, and simultaneously to bring attention to the charities themselves, as often times the small, local charities can use as much help as they can get to bring awareness to their cause.
My role varies from project to project, but basically requires getting or taking photographs (either candid, on-site images, or setting up a photo shoot), creating ad copy, laying out the ad, and then scheduling the ad run dates with publications. We have a wonderful photographer we work with on a regular basis for such projects, but when he is unavailable, I have taken to filling in. I admit to not being a professional by any stretch, but have had the pleasure of making it work when time or logistics are strained. The last 2 ads I worked on had me on site at the Saratoga Senior Center, and the Paralyzed Veterans of America facility in Palo Alto.
The Saratoga Senior Center is a place that offers a variety of classes and programs for active seniors, as well as an adult-day-care center for seniors who need a place to come to where they can socialize, but also have assistance if needed. We were able to coordinate a day with them where they got to visit with pets; on this day, it was 2 very sweet bunnies.
The Bay Area & Wester Chapter of the Paralyzed Veterans of America is a wonderful facility that provides services and social activities for paralyzed veterans and is on the same campus as the Palo Alto VA, so easy access for those who also require medical needs. They are fully independent though, and subsists on donations and grants. I was happy to meet and befriend Jessica, a member of the organization who utilizes the facility for recreation and is also one who gets sponsored to attend the National Wheelchair games. She was super helpful to me, being my model and showing us around the facility.
The biggest challenge in every ad we work on is expressing the feeling of hope and support with one captivating image, and giving a short and concise description of our program AND the goals of the charities we are supporting.
It is great to have a chance to work on projects that have an impact, are challenging, and require me to break out of my day-to-day routine.