12 weeks of DASA

Tonight marks the second Tuesday night in a row that I haven’t met with our Ready + Willing group members to work on advertising and marketing communication materials for the Disabled Athlete Sports Association.

I kind of miss it.

When I first got involved with the Ready + Willing group, I had vowed to give more of my time, using the creative talents I have to help others. I signed on to be a mentor to the group, which I took as a personal honor. My fellow mentor in this project is Jonathan Sackett who works at Infuz on the account side of things. Jonathan and I got to hand pick our team and if it were a draft class, it would get a resounding A+ grade.

Natalie Gensits was our writer. I first met Natalie at an Ad Club Holiday stumble two Decembers ago and learned how she had shifted out of media and wanted to become a full-fledged copywriter. She certainly should be because she’s creative, detail-oriented, takes direction well, writes well and has fought hard for some of her concepts on this project. If you’re looking for a copywriter, please call Natalie!

Kristina Bradshaw was our account coordinator/planner/go-getter/tweeter and voice of the client. She is humble, smart and an all-around nice person. It was a true pleasure getting to know Kristina and I salute her for everything she’s done – especially all the work she’s put in into building DASA’s twitter presence which has been remarkable.

Allison Mattingly was our art director/designer. She developed a look that matched the personality of DASA and then made it work across the board in all our materials. Allison is detail-oriented, questioned our copy and our direction and ultimately made all the work shine.

Then there’s Jonathan. I’ve never worked with an account guy quite like Jonathan before and I’m bummed that I haven’t. His insights were spot on. His knowledge base is strong, his wit is sharp and I truly enjoyed working with him.

My role in all of this was to push, encourage and at times, slightly modify.

Our key task that we needed to help DASA with was in their fund-raising efforts. They have a tremendous story to tell but they weren’t necessarily telling it from the funding point-of-view. Most people have no idea of the financial commitment it takes for a disabled athlete to participate in sports. Special adaptive equipment, leagues that take you out of town to find other participants and travel costs that can add up quickly are just a few of the financial challenges that await anyone – young or old who would love to compete in sports and who totally benefit from doing so – but often refrain from participating. The number of disabled people in the St. Louis area that could benefit from participating in DASA-related sports is huge – but DASA needs funding to make that happen.

We knew trivia nights and Texas Hold ’em events can only do so much. DASA needs corporate sponsors – but it’s hard to get their foot-in-the-door. So we created some attention-getting foot-in-the-door materials that are hand-delivered to the recipient at their office. Hopefully, those materials will lead to a meeting and we bolstered the DASA story with a powerpoint presentation where we literally went over every word and every visual to tell the most powerful story we could deliver.

We created a leave-behind brochure, a new letterhead for them to send out, donor-related links for their website, a customizable email template and we wrote several radio PSAs for specific sports.

Now, it’s time for these materials to be put to the test and I hope they do the job and help more corporations and the St. Louis public in general know about the good that the Disabled Athlete Sports Association is doing in this area.

I have seen the good they have done first-hand.

Lighting a competitive fire in an individual who may not know that potential is in them can literally transform someone. It is magic. It is heart-warming. It makes you stand back and realize just how lucky we are to get up and climb out of bed and go about our daily routines that we all take for granted so often.

Working on this account has been a blessing.

On Thursday, September 12, the work of our team and six other teams from Ready + Willing will be on display at Jacquin Studio Photography (2111 Olive Street) at an event called Flaunt. It goes from 5 to 9 in the evening. The event is free, all you have to do is register which you can do at Ready + Willing’s website (http://www.readyandwilling.org/news/when-you-got-it-flaunt-it/)

Stop by if you can. Better yet, visit www.dasasports.org to learn more about their organization and how you might be able to help.

Volunteer your time and your talent to something.

It’s worth it.