Marketing at Blue Mountain Action Council
Walla Walla is a small, tight-knit community. Word of mouth and general visibility at events are the best marketing tools. BMAC has been most successful at conducting outreach at the farmers’ market and making direct calls. Prioritizing a booth at the market every weekend is a visual way of demonstrating BMAC’s involvement in the community. Whether recruiting volunteers or handing out informational pamphlets, people will walk by and ask about BMAC.
In a small town like Walla Walla, a large percentage of folks read the local newspaper and monthly magazine to keep up with events in the community. In September 2021, The Walla Walla Union Bulletin wrote a piece highlighting gleaning. After the story was published, the Harvest VISTA received numerous emails, phone calls, and inquiries about the program from interested volunteers, donors, and farmers.
Social media is a great way to tell stories and engage a larger audience. BMAC mostly utilizes Facebook as this platform has the most followers and engagement. Posts about gleaning successes, fundraisers, program expansions, donation hours, and clients are great stories out to the public. Keep in close contact with BMAC’s Development and Marketing Director to create a schedule of posts on behalf of the Food Bank.
Walla Walla is an agricultural community and farmers are a cornerstone of the economy. Farmer’s role supporting the Food Bank goes beyond donations, F2FP allows the Food Bank to financially support farmers and provide local produce to those attending food distributions. Meet directly with farmers, call to inquire about their business, attend their events like harvest weeks and make visits to their farms for a tour. This will help create one on one connections and is an easy way to market programs while learning about how to better collaborate in the future.
Partner with nonprofits and coalitions in the community on a project in order to access their audience. BMAC works closely with The Sustainable Living Center, Farm to School, other food relief organizations, colleges, and churches. These organizations are working towards common goals and have supporters who may have overlapping interests and these relationships expand BMAC’s reach. Organizations like Immigrant Rights Coalition and Senior Center have prioritized creating community gardens, BMAC partners with them, and others to promote food security and provide technical support. The Walla Walla Valley Food System Coalition aims to create a space for all interested organizations to engage with food systems in the valley and collaborate on projects.