Middle of the Mitten Events Communications

For the past year I have worked for Middle of the Mitten Events (MOTM) in a number of capacities.  MOTM is a 5 year old group that has put on concerts focusing on mid-Michigan rock and folk music.  From the initial Middle of the Mitten concert to this year there has been immense growth from a one evening jam session of numerous bands to a three day festival spanning across East Lansing and Lansing. Last year I volunteered for the marketing team working on communications and viral marketing.  I also was able to garner over $100 in donations towards the cost of running the festival such as printing tickets, handbills, and t-shirts.  The festival, which is always held on the last weekend in January, was the highest attendance to date for MOTM. I also assisted in creating the press release for the organization for MOTM 4.

MOTM additionally works on a benefit show every spring for the past two years.  Using the bands we network with during the festival MOTM has held a tsunami relief concert called “Jam for Japan” in 2010 and a relief show for the victims of the Dexter tornado in 2011.  After the last relief show I was asked by Joel Heckeman, President of MOTM, to join the group as an official Board Member along with Dan Nufer, Jon Ritz, Kyle Brown, and new Board Member Alyson Gines.  During these past few months we have gone through the process of becoming a 501(c)3 nonprofit.  It is our hope as a Board that we will be able to expand beyond two main events and become a fully functioning concert organization that focuses on local music and won’t have to be constrained by profits to create amazing shows.

Since becoming a Board member I have worked with MOTM as a team leader managing the media team.  We have created numerous media pieces like the  logo you see here for MOTM 5 which will be held this year at the Record Lounge, S(CENE) Metrospace, and The Loft for the three days.  It has been extremely rewarding process and learning experience as I have been part of the festival from so  many vantage points – volunteer, social media coordination, viral marketing, Board member, and team leader.  I hope that from this experience I’ll be able to create my own version of MOTM in the future, or expanding it to a state wide festival.

More information available below:

Official Website

Facebook Page

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Michigan Environmental Council Newsletter Article

During my internship with Michigan Environmental Council (MEC) I was asked to write and coordinate articles for the quarterly newsletter that is sent out both electronically and in print form.  The article I was asked to write specifically was based on the study done by MEC towards the feelings of the new taxes for infrastructure.  Overall the survey found favorable results of people who wanted to pay more in taxes for improvements to roads, public transit, and most importantly light rail systems.

MEC Newsletter Article This article shows how I was able to take dense data and findings and put that into a detailed yet easily digestible piece for our readers.  I also learned how to craft articles in the proper tone to match the overall narrative of MEC and was able to receive some accolades from my superiors when the final version was printed.  I also created the infographic on the side of this article and our communications director chose the stock photo for the highways.

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The Ave Communications Strategy

The Ave

One of the most rewarding and research projects I have worked on was a comprehensive communications strategy for The Ave community project. The Ave is the brain child of professors John Monberg, Vincent Delgado, and designers at Red Head Design Studio.  Meant to do many things this project had three main audiences and purposes.

  1. Create a vibrant community between students at Michigan State and the corridor of Michigan Avenue
  2. Connect the artists of the greater Lansing area
  3. Be a major linchpin for the businesses of Michigan Avenue and build viral marketing

The Ave

This project was worked on by a fantastic and talented team consisting of Rebecca Zantjer, Jamison Sheppard, Emily Dixon,Laura Allen, and myself.  Using multiple methods of research we worked for two months straight on developing out this communications strategy.  Starting with ethnographic research and stakeholder interviews we were able to get a feel for the organization and where the stakeholders mentioned above wanted the project to move towards.  Taking this into consideration we developed a strategy that used the already existing goals but focused on creating personas, place-making, and network building.  The entire project culminated in the document you can view below and is one of the most comprehensive projects I have had the privilege of working with.

Michigan Alliance for Lead Safe Housing Social Media Strategy

During my time spent at Michigan Environmental Council I was also privileged to work with the health group and specifically is Michigan Alliance for Lead Safe Housing (MILASH).

Working communications with MILASH was very rewarding in learning about non-profit alliance building and development.  We set out to redevelop the site and I made the site (linked above) more W3C compliant.  Though built on Google sites due to its complete lack of funding we were able to drive traffic back up to closer to non-profit industry standards.

Before I finished my time with MILASH I created a social media strategy so that people who take over the internship in the future would be able to continue that growth.  Developing a consistent and thoughtful digital identity is extremely important in non-profit work for two main  reasons in my mind.

1. The affordability of social media allows for rich and well developed content for minimal to no fees.

2. Keeping a consistent identity in the digital spheres makes donors, volunteers, and supporters feel a part of the non-profit.

Having the social media strategy allowed for the MILASH Facebook page grow in reach from 15 “Likes” to 35 during my one month working for MILASH.  Currently there is an intern working to continue the growth who I’ve been in discussions on how to keep up the work I started.

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Powerpoint Guidelines

During my communications internship for Michigan Environmental Council (MEC) during the summer of 2011 I was tasked to creating a standard Powerpoint for the organization and in doing such realized there was a vast array of levels of comprehension with Powerpoint.  I firmly believe in the use of presentations and visual and design rhetoric but when you see some very unprofessional presentations it only makes sense to create a standards document.  As such I did just that for MEC for all the people who needed help with creating effective powerpoint presentations.

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