During a time of uncertainty, divisiveness, and social distancing, the desire to come together with others and create good in the world has never been stronger. This drive to do good in the community has been part of the FUEL culture since well before COVID-19 turned our world upside down. Back in the good ol’ days, we gathered together to volunteer at TreesUpstate, worked side-by-side to build homes for Habitat for Humanity, and provided hands-on service for other worthy causes.
In addition to wanting to tap into our mad landscaping and carpentry skills, many nonprofit organizations simply wanted our creative time and talents. We frequently receive requests for marketing support and services, and we made an honorable effort to help as many organizations as possible. What we quickly came to realize is that these organizations often need more than a few pro bono hours here and there. They need a partner that can dedicate significant time and talents to make a real impact. And, simply put, we wanted to do more. That desire evolved into the FUEL for Good Grant program – a program where we dedicate three months and $10,000 worth of pro bono marketing services to a local nonprofit organization selected by our teammates.
Little did we know how well-timed the program would be when we launched it in January 2020. When coronavirus reared its ugly head, we were already immersed in the program and were able to quickly shift from in-person meetings to online collaboration. While hands-on volunteering literally came to a halt, our work didn’t stop. Our collaboration and teamwork became stronger than ever.
“Giving back to the community is simply in our DNA,” said Meredith Kinsey, President and COO of FUEL. “Through our FUEL for Good Grant program, we provide marketing and branding services that are often only accessible to companies with larger budgets to organizations with limited resources striving to make a big impact.”
It’s a real morale booster and team builder to come together and dedicate time to a cause that will directly impact our community. We typically receive 15 to 20 applications each quarter, and the ultimate decision is made by our teammates. Everyone at FUEL is involved in the selection process and invested in the project from the very beginning.
We roll up our sleeves, work side-by-side (virtually), and dedicate time and creative resources to produce real solutions for our grant recipients. Whether it’s a new logo, revamped website, or a brand video, our goal is to make a strategic contribution that has a long-term impact to help these organizations succeed in achieving their missions and serving our community.
During the inaugural year of our FUEL for Good Grant program, we had the opportunity to work with four incredible 501(c)3 organizations:
- Fellow Countrymen – committed to ending Veteran homelessness in the Upstate
- Naturaland Trust – promoting conservation efforts throughout the Upstate
- Neighborhood Housing Corporation (now Beyond Housing) – creating equitable and vibrant communities through homeownership opportunities
- Feed & Seed – connecting local farmers with local institutions and consumers to make fresh food available and affordable in South Carolina
In 2020, our team dedicated hundreds of hours brainstorming, strategizing, concepting, designing, programming, copywriting, and managing marketing initiatives for these deserving organizations. For Fellow Countrymen, our first grant recipient, we created a fresh brand identity grounded in their Christian-based mission, including a new logo, collateral, brand video, photography, and a new website.
In Q2, Naturaland received a strategic marketing plan, brand video, and a new logo to capture the essence and magnitude of their conservation efforts.
In July, we kicked off a branding project for Neighborhood Housing Corporation and played an integral role in creating a new name, logo, and brand identity standards. The organization introduced their new name – Beyond Housing – in late 2020. Rounding out the year, Feed & Seed had a great story to tell and felt their website presence lacked ability to connect with and engage their audiences. So, our team got to work on a new website to help better tell their story and accomplish their goals.
Our biggest reward? Working with nonprofits whose pursuit of their greater purpose is nothing less than phenomenal. We are moved by their work. Astonished by their dedication. Honored by their trust in us to be a part of their journey.
“One of Greenville’s greatest assets is the sense of community that manifests in meaningful collaborations and an enduring ideal that we are all in this together,” said David Nardone, Founder and Executive Director of Fellow Countrymen. “FUEL’s grant program is a perfect example of this – a private company selflessly donating their talent, time, and expertise to amplify the voices and missions of non-profit organizations who serve the Upstate. Over several months, FUEL’s team helped us craft a brilliant message and strategy to reach our supporters and those who don’t yet know who we are. We are overwhelmed by their professionalism, ethos, and the full attention they gave us, even as their least-paying client. It speaks volumes for their company.” See what David had to say about working with FUEL.
2020 may have been a crazy year, but for the FUEL for Good Grant, it was stellar. It set the groundwork for a program that we plan to build upon in the years to come. We are currently working on the first project for 2021, developing a PR strategy for the Bridges to a Brighter Future program. Boy, do they have a great story to tell – 25 years’ worth!
“Our FUEL for Good program gives us another reason to enjoy what we do and to appreciate the talents and passion of our co-workers,” Kinsey said. “It’s not all about making a profit… it’s about giving back, doing good, and making a difference.”
Learn more about FUEL for Good.