Heroes: Marketer of the Year
Motley Zoo Animal Rescue
In 2013, Jme Thomas, executive director of Motley Zoo Animal Rescue, was honored as a Rising Star in the annual FundRaising Success Fundraising Professionals of the Year Awards. Two years later, Thomas is honored again as Marketer of the Year in the inaugural NonProfit PRO Nonprofit Professionals of the Year Awards.
"Jme has been called a 'marketing machine' when it comes to the ideas and possibilities she sees for Motley Zoo Animal Rescue," said Bryan Thomas, director of Motley Zoo. "[…] Jme has always had unique ideas and beliefs, including that a nonprofit is not that far off from a for-profit business—or at least in the sense that they should be branded, marketed and promoted in a similar way."
That was the case when she co-founded Motley Zoo, a volunteer-run, foster-based nonprofit animal rescue, and it's still the case today. In fact, the name was a conscious branding choice, making the rescue a rock and roll-themed nonprofit.
To show continuity with the brand, Thomas and her team name the animals after bands and band members, including naming a group of kittens after members of punk band Rancid. She brought the kittens to a Rancid concert, and the band members loved it so much that they spent time with Thomas and the kittens, posed for photos and put her on the guest list for the show.
It's caught on with other musicians, as well, and it's become a dynamic viral marketing campaign for Motley Zoo.
As for 2014, her incredible marketing and branding efforts allowed Motley Zoo to open a rock-themed dog daycare with $50,000 the Petco Foundation granted in 2012. On Jan. 1 last year, she took the keys to the new studio and opened the daycare, dubbed "Rock Star Treatment."
All of this has been made possible through Thomas' tireless marketing efforts—and it's even more impressive considering most of that marketing is done through free avenues and word-of-mouth.
"In all, Jme has not only tackled an entirely unique concept for rescue, but also changed what a nonprofit is truly capable of," says Thomas. "[…] Jme's dedication to these animals and her seemingly tireless efforts have truly carved a new path in the world of marketing—one we're very proud to see succeed."
We couldn't agree more. And it's why Jme Thomas is our Nonprofit Marketer of the Year.
Related story: Heroes: Announcing the Winners of the 2015 Nonprofit Professionals of the Year Awards