An April 4 Examiner article (Free speaker forums help nonprofits draw audience and interest) explained the key ingredients that are needed to create a successful speaker program for a nonprofit organization. Such a program, along with the employed marketing strategy, often helps nonprofits increase brand awareness and extend audience reach.
That article cited, as an example of a well-honed speaker program, the Maryknoll Speaker Series and the appearance of The New York Times best-selling author Mary Karr at the Westchester County home of the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers. Maryknoll is the overseas mission society of the U.S. Catholic Church.
While Maryknoll regularly hosts speaker events that feature religious writers and thinkers, this year, as part of its centennial celebration, it has attracted speakers, such as Karr, who are more well-known to the general public. After booking Karr for a Sunday afternoon during April, Maryknoll’s public relations outreach generated religious and general public awareness for the presentation. Among the results that helped attract more than 250 to the Karr talk was a feature article plus advertising in The Journal News, the daily newspaper for the Lower Hudson Valley.
Maryknoll also extended its audience reach after the Karr presentation with a video that included excerpts from her talk interspersed with comments made during an interview conducted before the crowd entered the building. This video has received frequent clicks on Maryknoll’s website and on YouTube. The video also was communicated via Twitter.
Post-event activity such as a video provides extra marketing mileage and it will help nonprofits build attention for the next speaking engagement, if one has been scheduled and a date has been secured. For Maryknoll, the Karr video is providing that extra promotional leverage by helping to showcase the upcoming presentation by Malachy McCourt.
Serving is the Purpose of Life
Author of The New York Times best-selling memoir A Monk Swimmin, McCourt will present Good God! Where Am I at the Maryknoll Mission Center, 55 Ryder Road, Ossining, on Sunday, May 15, at 2:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public but reservations are requested. (Contact Colleen Brathwaite at [email protected] or 914-941-7636, extension 2445. Additional information and directions can be found on the Maryknoll website.)
“Any fallible human being who claims to know the answer to the question ‘What is life’s purpose?’ does not even know the question,” according to the prolific author, actor and raconteur.
The Brooklyn-born McCourt said his own quest for the serenity that follows knowledge of the truth has taken him down the highways and byways, the low ways and he’s still questing. He will explore his journey, sharing the glimpses he sees in the light of beliefs and faith of others.
“At this moment, I believe our purpose on this earth is to serve,” he said through Maryknoll. “We can do that simply with a cup of coffee, piece of clothing, a kind word, or by sharing a laugh and helping the sick get well. And there’s nothing that compels us to act more than seeing God’s love in the face of a child.”
With Karr and McCourt, Maryknoll has added dynamic and popular presenters to its speaker series lineup during its centennial year. Coupled with its marketing mix of activity, Maryknoll is ensuring that it attracts audiences beyond those interested in the Catholic faith and beyond the subject of religion.