Kivi met Cynamon at the Create Good Conference this year and asked her to share about making the change from the corporate world to a nonprofit communications director position. ~Kristina
Guest Post by Cynamon Frierson
In January 2016, I dove into nonprofit work as the Communications and Marketing Manager for the Lung Cancer Initiative of North Carolina, and it has taught me a lot in these last few months.
After graduating from college several years earlier with a degree in Marketing and International Business, I was eager to get started in the large world of marketing.
I started out on the agency side doing search engine optimization and after about three years, I transitioned to the corporate side and expanded to doing more with digital marketing. After an additional three years, I have entered the fascinating nonprofit world and it has been quite the adventure.
Below are just a few things that I have learned.
1. Party of 1
In corporate organizations, communications and marketing departments can be large with many people dedicated to a specific focus such as public relations, social media, email communications, etc.
Many nonprofits such as mine, are so small that one person can be considered the entire department. Although this is a challenge many nonprofits face, it is still feasible to overcome this challenge. It has forced me to see things in a different light which brings me to point two.
Nonprofits tend to have more resource limitations than corporate organizations when it comes to dedicated staff and budgets. This only means that I have to get creative with my marketing and communications efforts.
On the corporate side, things can become routine and repetitive. For nonprofits, our lives are a little more exciting and we do well when we have to tap into our creative minds to face the challenge ahead of us.
I knew that networking was important prior to joining a nonprofit but I feel that it is key for any nonprofit to be successful.
Volunteers, interns, board members, and many others have knowledge that I might not be aware of until I start to develop relationships with them. There’s almost always somebody who knows somebody that can help me with what I need.
4. Continue to learn
Communications and marketing is constantly evolving.
Although many nonprofits have limited time since we have to spread it between many different things, it’s still important to stay up-to-date. If I don’t, our communications and marketing efforts might not be the most effective.
5. Fulfilling work
As many of you know, it can be exhausting wearing many hats at a nonprofit. However, it is so fulfilling knowing that what I’m doing is helping others in some way.
If I get overwhelmed or tired, I just remember why I’m doing what I’m doing and that gives me the extra boost I need to continue.
Have you transitioned from the corporate world to nonprofit work? Let us know what you think is different in the comments below.
Cynamon Frierson is the Communications and Marketing Manager for the Lung Cancer Initiative of North Carolina. She is passionate about making improvements to the way that it is perceived. When she is not working, she enjoys traveling to different countries and running in various races from 5Ks to marathons.