Harnessing Our Expertise for Good

How a Disaster Relief Effort Led to an Agency Dedicated to Giving Back

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When Haiti was struck with a catastrophic earthquake in 2010, a group of MKTG INC staff members got together to figure out how we could help. Along the full length of that conference room table that day, the questions were the same: "How can we leverage our experience to help the people of Haiti?"

Our agency is used to strategizing, planning and building something out of nothing. So we set about creating an event to raise money for the earthquake victims. We started by reaching out to our vendor community, approaching specific vendors we knew would support the cause. Then we turned to our own energetic, passionate team members. The approach paid off right away. One of our employees offered to DJ at the event. Several others called in favors to clients who donated products for a silent auction, and we were able to procure artwork from a local Haitian painter to be auctioned off as part of the fundraiser.

The whole event came together quickly because it was instinctual and natural. We used our own community and core expertise to help another community. It was the best way we knew to help.

After the event, I couldn't help but feel that my team had started something that had real momentum. It felt like something we could really build on. For me, an agency is merely a reflection of the people who work there.

That's why earlier this year, we formally launched MKTG INC 4 GOOD, a division of MKTG INC that focuses solely on giving back. Through pro bono marketing and event services, we mobilize our many resources to help deserving charitable organizations. Rather than merely donating money, our agency develops, designs and executes events and initiatives to raise funds through sponsorship and ticket sales. It allows our 280 full-time employees and our network of more than 7,000 field staff to use their unique professional skills and the agency's resources to do something good. By utilizing our agency's infrastructure and our full-service creative capabilities, we have created a charitable endeavor that is specific, accountable and personal.

MKTG INC 4 GOOD's first partnership this year is with TopSpin: a ping-pong tournament and party series for professional sports, entertainment and media industries. TopSpin was created two years ago in New York by ex-NBA executive Peter Farnsworth, founder and current CEO of Foxrock Partners. With our help and that of our five regional offices, TopSpin is now expanding to Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco, and hopes to raise $1 million to fund at least 12 educational charities.

This new endeavor happened organically and was born out of the observation of a few employees who realized that what we do every day, nearly 70,000 times a year, for our clients could be done to bring massive fire power to positively impact communities that need help. I am hopeful and confident that when I look back on my time at MKTG INC, I will be most proud of the fact that MKTG INC 4 GOOD was established and gave our employees an outlet to fulfill their desires to do good.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Charlie Horsey is president-CEO of MKTG INC, an integrated agency that specializes in experiential marketing for clients including Diageo, Nike , P&G, Google and Nintendo.