Even in good economic times, nonprofit organizations operating on frugal budgets often have scant resources for marketing and promotion. Throw in a recession and the challenge is that much greater.
The Santa Barbara-based foundation will invest $5,000 apiece for the four groups whose applications are selected for the 2012 Media Grants. Noozhawk has created a branding, marketing and social-media campaign that will help showcase each one.
“One of our goals is provide local nonprofits with better media and marketing opportunities,” said Pam Lewis, executive director of the Hutton Parker Foundation. “It’s usually the smallest portion of a nonprofit’s budget, but it’s critical to inform the community so they know what a nonprofit is doing and who it serves.”
Lewis said a foundation’s priorities for nonprofit organizations are often to maintain services and retain staff, but the organizations can hardly do that as government funding and personal donations have decreased dramatically.
“We feel it’s important to get the message out there so we can help can boost some donations through additional understanding in the community,” she said.
The sheer number of nonprofit organizations in Santa Barbara can be bewildering to some donors; the exact number is murky but estimates of more than 1,100 are regularly cited.
Lewis said a clearer picture of what these nonprofit organizations do will help people realize how vital a role they play.
“There’s a lot of opportunity for education,” she said.
Noozhawk publisher Bill Macfadyen said his 4-year-old company is inspired by Santa Barbara’s rich tradition of philanthropy and that its staff wanted to do more. The nonprofit community has been increasingly engaged with the Web site through initiatives like Let’s Talk Westside, the Prescription for Abuse series and iSociety.
He said Noozhawk has several additional projects in development to fill the void created with the June closure of the Nonprofit Support Center.
“We’re excited to partner with the Hutton Parker Foundation because it matches the foundation’s mission as a funder with Noozhawk’s strength as a storyteller,” Macfadyen said. “Not every nonprofit has the same needs and objectives so this program gives us the ability to tailor a plan to what would be most beneficial for each of the four.
“Sometimes that’s advertising, other times it’s branding. And all of them are trying to figure out social media. We can help.”
The foundation’s application period will open the week of Dec. 19 and interested South Coast-based nonprofit organizations are asked to check the Hutton Parker Foundation Web site for more details. Applicants must state why they want to participate in the program and what they hope to accomplish with their media exposure, Lewis said.
In addition to Noozhawk, the Hutton Parker Foundation has created similar grants with two weekly newspapers, the Santa Barbara Independent and the Santa Maria Sun.
“We were looking for another opportunity to expand our media funding so it was a natural progression,” Lewis said of the foundation’s new partnership with Noozhawk.
“Noozhawk is so supportive of the nonprofit community. We’ve been talking about it and came up with program we think will be beneficial for the nonprofits.”