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Connecting with Community – The Expansion of FH4Inclusion to Support North Carolina Nonprofits Note In the Pocket and Second Harvest Food Bank

February 7, 2022
By Elizabeth Comtois and Cody Norman

Local nonprofits play a significant role in transforming communities into healthier, stronger and more equitable places to live. The ongoing pandemic, though, introduced significant challenges, with more than 70% of North Carolina organizations unable to fully accomplish their missions in an all-virtual environment.

Our FleishmanHillard team in North Carolina strengthened community ties in Charlotte and Raleigh by working closely with two nonprofits – Note in the Pocket (NITP), whose mission is to provide clothing to low-income and homeless children in Wake County, and Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina, an organization dedicated to nourishing the Charlotte community by collecting food and household items.

Deepened Partnership Through FH4lnclusion

NITP works with the Wake County Public School System’s social workers and case managers to identify students in need and prepare seasonal wardrobes customized to each child’s specific sizes and styles. After volunteering with NITP several times to sort clothing donations, we were eager to deepen our support by applying our public relations skills and resources on their behalf.

In March, we launched a six-week media relations campaign to amplify the organization’s annual fundraiser, the Socks & Undie 5K Rundie. Our team developed media materials, sent customized pitch notes and coordinated interviews with local broadcast media, which garnered 20 earned media pieces and more than 9.48 million impressions. Our work helped NITP drum up record-breaking results, with more than 800 collective supporters (including registrants, volunteers and sponsors) and $115,000 in donations, which is equivalent to clothing 1,000 children.

“Partnerships are a vital part of achieving our mission. Without the support of volunteers, referral agencies, donors and local businesses, we would not be able to clothe thousands of children each year,” shared Sarah Caldwell, development director of NITP. “We are extremely grateful to the team at FleishmanHillard for lending their continued support and thank them for helping us clothe with dignity and love!”

Remote Holiday Food Drives

As the end of year holiday season approached, the team collected food items throughout November to support local food banks. These donations, which totaled 250 meals at Wake County’s Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina and 175 pounds of goods at Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina (SHFB), not only helped the organizations prepare for the holidays, but also supported their hundreds of partner agencies.

“All food and non-food items are distributed to our 950+ partner agencies,” said Betsy Van Dyne, volunteer coordinator of SHFB. “This includes soup kitchens, homeless shelters, low-income daycare centers and emergency pantries. We could never do all that we do without the help of each and every volunteer.”

In-Person Volunteering

FleishmanHillard in North Carolina decided to end 2021 with in-person volunteering at the organizations we engaged with earlier in the year. The Raleigh team visited NITP’s new warehouse location, where we sorted and processed clothing donations for children and families.

“It’s been so fulfilling to grow our partnership with Note in The Pocket over the last three years,” shared Elizabeth Comtois, senior account executive at FleishmanHillard. “I’m thankful to FleishmanHillard for giving us the space to lend our time and expertise to do work that matters personally to us.”

The Charlotte team returned to SHFB to sort donations for neighborhoods in need, where we helped unbox, organize and distribute items donated from major retailers.

“A volunteer can sort approximately 900 pounds of food in a three-hour shift. This translates into 750 meals. FleishmanHillard had five volunteers, so you could say they provided the equivalent of 3,750 meals to our community,” Van Dyne said.

“It’s really exciting to build relationships with these organizations,” added Jordan Williams, assistant account executive at FleishmanHillard. “Between our food drives and in-person opportunities, it’s been great to support such meaningful causes in our communities.”

As we plan our efforts in 2022, FleishmanHillard in North Carolina is excited to keep growing our nonprofit partnerships and act on the various ways we can give back to our hometowns.