“At City Harvest, the marketing department helps inform and impact fundraising initiatives, which has resulted in brand recognition and respect and the positive way people feel about City Harvest in New York,” she says. “We have a lot of passionate, very dedicated long-term supporters, and our brand visibility is the core of our fundraising. People feel connected with the brand.
“Without that positive brand recognition, we would be just another letter in the mailbox. But as it is, we are part of the fabric of the city, an essential presence,” she adds. “We’ve done a lot of work to get the brand to the point where we are considered this unique presence in the city. We pioneered food rescue 30 years ago, and New Yorkers love it. They just get it. There is a close-knit relationship between the organization and the people of New York City.”
Wallace says that when Barrick took over, “she really looked at how you use marketing and positioning of the brand to form a basis and foundation for all of our fundraising efforts,” which resulted in a consistency of messaging that enables supporters and even nonsupporters to feel comfortable with the City Harvest brand.
“A lot of work goes into creating that synergy,” she adds. “We have quarterly meetings and ask, ‘What is our messaging for this quarter?’ We have to be very nimble and able to change according to what’s going on in the national and global environment. What are people talking about? How do we keep our organization relevant?”
Wallace uses Hurricane Katrina as an example. Without minimizing the tragedy of the storm that caused untold devastation along the Gulf Coast, City Harvest needed to sustain it donors, even those who might have been contributing to efforts aimed at helping Katrina victims. In its messaging, the organization used lessons learned from Katrina to point out how vulnerable some parts of society are, even in an urban setting, and how easily people can be left without food and other necessities.