Camp Korey is a non-profit focused on children with serious and debilitating illnesses that operates year round, offering week long camp sessions in the summer, as well as hospital outreach and family weekends during the year. The camp allows hundreds of kids battling conditions such as Mitochondrial Diseases, craniofacial differences, Juvenile Diabetes, and organ transplants to find joy and acceptance with other kids who share their experiences. At Camp Korey, these campers can finally just be kids and experience the joy of summer camp.
We asked Justin a few questions about how he approaches communications at Camp Korey. Check out his answers below and visit the Camp Korey website to learn more about the amazing stories behind this organization.
1. As the director of marketing and communications, how do you approach this diverse role within Camp Korey?
Camper programs, medical safety, development, events, grants, facilities, volunteers — although Camp Korey’s departments may play diverse roles, we are united by the shared goal of providing life-changing camp experiences to children with serious medical conditions, at no cost to their families. As Marketing and Communications Coordinator, I collaborate across all departments. On a weekly basis I may be editing fundraising videos, designing brochures and invitations, managing social media, writing press releases, crafting e-newsletters, updating our website and taking photos — never a shortage of fun projects!
Camp Korey brings so much joy to our campers and families, and I feel very fortunate to play a part in sharing these inspiring stories with the community.
2. What are the most useful communication tools for Camp Korey as a small non-profit?
Last year marked the launch of Team Korey, a new fundraising effort that raised over $300,000 for Camp Korey. Spearheaded by board member Chris McReynolds, Team Korey brought together 29 runners (from the Northwest and beyond) to run in the New York City Marathon. Each runner volunteered their time to train for the race and simultaneously raise money on behalf of Camp Korey.
With a goal of $3,000 each, the runners used the peer-to-peer software Friends Asking Friends to reach out to their friends, family and coworkers via email and social media. Friends Asking Friends proved to be a powerful tool for expanding our organization’s network of supporters, building awareness, and raising funds. Thanks to its success, Team Korey is expanding in 2012-2013 with more athletic events including cycling and hiking. More info at www.teamkorey.org.
3. What’s an example of how your organization has used social media as an advocacy tool?
With the help of generous donors and socially-conscious artists, Camp Korey recently expanded our Facebook fan base from 800 to 22,000 in less than two weeks. A Seattle-based family foundation (who wishes to remain anonymous) offered $1 for each “like” on Camp Korey’s Facebook page, up to $30,000. Thrilled and eager to spread the word, we launched the campaign by including the “1 like = $1” tagline under our FB profile picture.
The effort caught the attention of our current fans who began to share our page with their friends. Through staff and camper family connections we caught the attention of rock bands Pearl Jam and Red Hot Chili Peppers, who selflessly shared Camp Korey with their legions of fans (over 22 million, combined!), and the campaign went viral! We continue to engage with our Facebook community by posting camper photos, quotes about their experiences, letters from parents, and other creative content to show how far their support really goes.
4. What is your favorite camp moment while volunteering this summer at Camp Korey?
Last summer I volunteered for a week at our camp for children with Skeletal Dysplasia, living in the lodges with an incredible group of kids ages 7-10. All I can say is that volunteering as a counselor at Camp Korey is a magical experience. I loved helping children come together to escape the worries of surgeries and medical procedures and simply be kids. We did everything from horseback riding to swimming to arts n’ crafts to singing around the campfire to conquering the climbing wall. At Camp Korey the fun never stops!
My favorite memory was getting covered in spaghetti and green ooze at the camp-wide food fight–or “Silly Olympics” as we like to call it–on the final day. The campers loved clobbering me! At the end of the week it was hard to say goodbye, but I knew everyone (campers, staff and volunteers) had grown tremendously from our time together at Camp Korey.
To learn more about the story behind the founding of Camp Korey, check out this video below.