Week 3: Strategy Revision and Making It Happen

This is a weekly blog to keep up with an upcoming membership campaign (June 5 - 15) with a goal of recruiting and engaging 1,000 adults to financially support 1,000 youth this next year.  We're calling the campaign the Fearless Leaders Challenge.

Last week was a busy one. I flew to New York from Chicago to meet with the team, had a Board of Stokers NYC meeting, a Board of Directors meeting, and raised some money. Happy to say it was all a success. 

Getting The Message Just Right 

When I presented the campaign idea to both the Board of Directors and the Board of Stokers, they were unsure of the whole fearless leadership angle. My assumption that people would want a leadership training course first and the funding would benefit our program was basically disproven... at least by our internal stakeholders. However most of everyone did like the idea of a leadership development course as a perk and a bonus to being a part of the Igniter program. So the message positioning is "Create 1,000 Fearless Leaders." We push the fact that people are already fearless and a leader, and that they've had a lot of opportunities in life. The Igniter members simply allows STOKED to help kids to become fearless leaders in their own lives. 

Some of the Board of Stokers in NYC. L-R: Derek Flanzraich, Caroline Andrew, John Trani, Rachel Roosevelt, Steve Larosiliere (me), Kurt Hildebrandt

Some of the Board of Stokers in NYC. L-R: Derek Flanzraich, Caroline Andrew, John Trani, Rachel Roosevelt, Steve Larosiliere (me), Kurt Hildebrandt

Producing Content

Last week we recorded a bunch of videos too. We called our friend Matt Zuckerman from BZ Worldwide who's an amazing director and filmmaker to pitch in for the campaign. He came in to shoot videos with me, a few mentors who are Igniters, and a coach. The next day, at the office we shot a bunch of student testimonials and mentor testimonials. Matt is editing them all. We're super excited to get those out in conjunction with the launch of the campaign. 

Me getting filmed by Matt Zuckerman of BZ Worldwide.

Me getting filmed by Matt Zuckerman of BZ Worldwide.

Securing a Matching Gift

One of my absolute favorite people in the world is Florence (Flo) Wiener from Catalog for Giving. Catalog for Giving is one of our biggest funders. They're essentially a foundation that funds the best up and coming youth development programs in NYC for 3 years. We're lucky enough to be funded by them for 6 years! Seriously, STOKED would not be where it is today if it wasn't for the Catalog and Flo. Flo has created so many opportunities for me, our kids, and the whole organization. Through the Catalog and Flo's introduction to other funders, STOKED has been able to vastly scale up our programs in different parts of New York City. It was so nice to catch up with her and I'm thrilled to announce that the Catalog for Giving is giving a matching gift $25,000 if we reach 300 Igniters. 

Florence Wiener, Executive Director, Catalog for Giving

Florence Wiener, Executive Director, Catalog for Giving

It was a super busy week. This next week I'm lining up more support, working on putting together the materials and keeping the ball moving forward. Until next week...

-Steve Larosiliere