86,400 seconds to furnish the future
Aug 2, 2018
The late Jim Valvano, one of college basketball’s iconic coaches, once said, “There are 86,400 seconds in a day. It’s up to you to decide what to do with them.”
Centerline recently spent those seconds assisting The Green Chair Project, a non-profit organization doing life-changing work for families throughout Wake County. That’s no exaggeration. These good folks collect high-quality donated furniture for people transitioning from homelessness, crisis or disasters. They provide what many of us take for granted: The opportunity to start fresh by fully furnishing a house—and turning it into a home.
However, despite partnering with more than 55 agencies, shelters and non-profits, The Green Chair Project isn’t a household name in the community it passionately serves. You can imagine the challenge that presents for:
- Growing the organization’s donor base
- Hitting a capital campaign goal of raising $3 million
Those aren’t goals you achieve overnight. But the marketing materials needed to set the wheels in motion? Definitely doable at Centerline.
So the clock started ticking one day at 4 p.m. After an eye-opening tour of The Green Chair Project’s extensive space, the creative challenge kicked off. Three teams were each assigned a specific area of focus:
- Increasing monetary donations for children’s beds
- Increasing furniture donations
- Generating overall awareness in the community
There was only one rule for the challenge: Be ready to present final creative work to The Green Chair Project’s team at 4 o’clock the next afternoon. Teams could create as many assets as they saw fit.
Brainstorming sessions enabled each team to get the creative juices flowing. The ideas were wide-ranging, but all based on research, conversations with The Green Chair Project’s staff, and the tour itself. Considerable strategic thinking went into these efforts. The last thing anyone wanted was to deliver a mix of materials that couldn’t work together.
Mission accomplished. Each team’s contributions complemented the other components, arming The Green Chair Project with an array of assets for a full-blown campaign.
The team tasked with boosting monetary donations for children’s beds actually assembled a bed, adorned it in green, and wheeled it down Fayetteville Street in downtown Raleigh. There, the team interviewed people on the importance of having a bed—and describing what life would be like without one.
The 2-minute anthem video entitled “Sweeter Dreams” delivers a powerful message, especially coming from others in the community: Every child deserves a comfortable and safe place to sleep.
The team charged with increasing furniture donations went the route of making multiple assets. Those deliverables included:
- An infographic aimed at first-time donors
- Animated social tiles highlighting key furniture needs
- Public Service Announcement copy and recordings for local NPR
- Various T-shirt and button designs to give furniture donors
- Photos for The Green Chair Project’s new Instagram account, @shopgreenchair
The team that tackled raising general awareness also created a collection of assets, including a series of videos and posters positioning home furnishings as “More than furniture.” Additional assets included:
- Website redesign
- Revised, comprehensive branding package
- PR, events and guerilla tactic recommendations
Sharing all that work with The Green Chair Project was energizing. They were in awe. And quite frankly, many of us were as well.
The beauty of a challenge like this, where every second counts, is it forces you to think fast and act faster. You have to trust your gut—and your teammates.
None of that is possible without a roster full of team players. It speaks volumes to have so many people pitch in, both with their talents and time, to help make a difference. That’s the kind of character that’s on display here, daily. There’s a strong desire to do some good in our community, for our community.
Those 86,400 seconds could not have been spent any better.
Marc Thaler is a former journalist and broadcaster-turned-associate creative director. For 10+ years, he covered sports around New England—everything from Little League to the big leagues. Several years back, he joined a software company specializing in cloud-based IT security and management solutions, spent a few years creating content in its marketing department, and then made the switch to Centerline. Over the years, his writing has appeared on a range of recognizable dot-coms, including ESPN, SC Magazine and Marketing Profs.