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TV Reporter Finds a New Mission

Kristi Piehl
Today I have a guest post from Kristi Piehl.  During her 12 year television career, Kristi worked as a reporter and anchor at 5 television stations. She won numerous awards for her work including two Emmy awards for stories she covered at KSTP in Minneapolis. Kristi has appeared on Good Morning America, CNN, Dateline NBC and several national radio shows.  Kristi prides herself on building the most effective media-focused public relations team in the area. In addition to having a team dominated by former TV news professionals and storytellers, Media Minefield also has a graphic designer, videographer and photographer on staff.  Kristi holds a BA in English from Bethel University. She studied Professional Writing and graduated with honors.

 

Knocking on the door of a homicide victim to ask the grieving mother for an interview.

Picking through remnants of a tornado-ravaged home for a prop.

Driving through a snow storm to tell the public that travel is not advised.

Yes, running towards the disasters that other people run away from is the reality of a TV reporter. For 12 years, it was my life. Thankfully there were some opportunities to tell positive stories. However, it always frustrated me when I’d try to do a positive story with a local non-profit, church or ministry and the administrators would decline. I couldn’t figure it out. A journalist teamed up with a talented videographer with the purpose of telling a non-profit’s story to a large audience is a powerful way to bring in donations and volunteers.

Don’t get me wrong, many non-profits make an attempt to grab headlines. Non-profits send press releases by the hundreds to newsrooms hoping for coverage of their gala or fundraising campaign. I’ve seen the pile of releases and I’ll be honest, it’s tough for small or medium sized non-profits to get noticed.

While media will ignore a run-of-the-mill news release, no self-respecting journalist will turn down a powerful story.

So in 2010, I found myself in a strange place – a storyteller detoxing from a career in television news with a heart for non-profits. The timing was perfect; my church was offering a class to teach people how to use the talents they have to help others.

Media Minefield was born.

The company is an intentionally different public relations and video production firm. At first, I had a hand-full of non-profit clients in the Twin Cities. Some wanted their stories transformed into short videos for special events or fundraising campaigns and others wanted their stories in the media.

Two years later, we have both for-profit and non-profit clients in Minnesota and around the country. Our office is in Minnetonka and there are eleven employees. The majority of the men and women on the Media Minefield team have a background in television news. In our front office, it says “your message is our mission” and that is what makes us unique. We work with every client to define and distill their message. That message then becomes the foundation of the kind of story that inspires others to take action.

I’ve heard more powerful stories in the past two years than in the previous twelve. The difference is that I, surrounded by some of the most talented former news minds in the Twin Cities, can now focus on maximizing and telling those positive stories.

We’ve produced videos for local and national non-profits and have watched how a media appearance can bolster a bottom line. After all, a powerful news story or video could be used on social media, at gala events and on websites. For our team, it’s so rewarding to see a non-profit empowered to do even more to help others.

What makes a good story? A main character, a clear purpose and a concise message. For television news, it’s critical to have compelling video to accompany the story. For newspaper, magazine, online and radio mediums, a main character with a powerful story who understands how to communicate with control and speak in sound bites is all it takes.

Tell your story. People want to hear it.

Kristi sent me just a few of the nonprofit stories Media Minefield has done.  I have included these below.

7 Year Old Using Music to Help Hungry Kids

Minnesota Man Skis Again after Being in a Coma

Dan’s Restart Story

Related Post: Storytellers for Good

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Posted by on December 3, 2012 in Guest Post

 

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Do Good Get Rewards

Most of the organizations that I have written about over the years are looking for new volunteers.  While many volunteers I know give back for reasons of their own, today’s profile is about a website that offers additional rewards to those who volunteer. 

The mission of Do Good Get Rewards is to provide incentives as an offer of appreciation to increase volunteerism, to connect national and local business with socially conscious consumers, and to feature the incredible number of programs and people who do good every day.

Tammy Allen was a lifelong musician and singer songwriter.  She wrote the song “Everyday People Do Good Everyday” to acknowledge people for everyday acts of kindness.  She was amazed when she earned that over 64 million people volunteer each year and she envisioned a rewards program to demonstrate her appreciation to the good people who warm her heart.  In 2010, Tammy and her best friend Jacqui Jenkins launched the Do Good Get Rewards website. 

They are not trying to pay people for their service, instead it is an opportunity for non-profits to thank the volunteers they depend on to fulfill their missions.  When someone gives to you, you want to give them something to say thank you.  Non-profits sign up as members on the site for free.  The non-profit members receive materials to invite their volunteers to become members and submit their hours to the site for a specific non-profit.  Once the non-profit validates the hours, the volunteer earns points they can use toward the rewards offered on the website.  The points are the currency; there is nothing else to buy.

Do Good Get Rewards currently has over 170 nonprofit members and 2,000 volunteer members who have submitted over 10,000 hours.  The site currently has over 65 rewards partners including their first national rewards partner, Panera Bread. 

According to founder Tammy Allen, the website’s “mission is not just to increase volunteering, but shout to the world how good people are. There is good going on everywhere around us everyday. This is our reality right now. Out of our total American population 70 to 80% donate, volunteer or participate in causes. That is the kind of news we need to hear about.” 

You can learn more about Do Good Get Rewards and sign up as a volunteer or non-profit for free at http://www.dogoodgetrewards.com/.  You can also connect with them on Facebook and Twitter.  You can also hear the song that inspired the program at tammyallen.com.

Would you sign up to be rewarded to volunteer?

 
2 Comments

Posted by on September 27, 2012 in Nonprofit Organization

 

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Minnesota Blogger Conference

This past weekend I had the privilege of attending the Minnesota Blogger Conference in Minneapolis.  I did learn some new things at the conference and met some new local bloggers, but that is not the purpose of today’s post.  This event incorporated a featured charity to support.  Missy Berggren (aka The Marketing Mama) reached out to me to help select a charity to feature.  Read Indeed was selected because bloggers write words and the books collected contain words, plus it is just a great charity.  Bloggers brought new and used books to donate and a local photographer, Glimpses of Soul Photography, took headshots and monetary donations to Read Indeed.  The early results were tabulated at over 100 books and at least $325 collected.

If you plan events or gatherings, I encourage you to bring a charity or giving back component to the event.  It is easy for participants to bring a donation to a local organization and each of those donations come together to make a bigger difference.  In addition, this helps spread the word about a local charity. 

Please comment with your ideas or examples of ways you have incorporated giving back into your events.

Update: The final count was 201 books and $370 in donations to Read Indeed. 

 
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Posted by on September 13, 2011 in Other

 

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