Feeding America hunger relief organization promotes two execs
Feeding America, the nation’s largest hunger-relief organization, announced the promotions of Matt Knott to senior vice president of strategic planning and performance management and Phil Zepeda to SVP of communication, according to the company.
Knott joined Chicago-based Feeding America in June 2008. He most recently served as VP of planning, where he was responsible for the development of the organization’s strategic plan, and to establish and evaluate outcomes and goals.
Zepeda, who joined Feeding America as VP of communications in August 2004, will continue responsibility for all strategic communications, including media relations, entertainment industry outreach, editorial services and internal communication. Additionally, he will now oversee online media initiatives for the organization.
“Matt and Phil each play a critical role in leading Feeding America into the future. Today’s promotions are a result of their ability to think strategically on a national scale, the respect they’ve earned from their peers, network members and partners and their significant contributions to the organization,” President and Chief Executive Officer Vicki Escarra said in a statement.
Feeding America’s mission is to provide hunger relief for Americans who are in need through a nationwide network of member food banks. Their national network secures and distributes nearly two billion pounds of food and grocery products to more than 200 member food banks and food-rescue organizations throughout the United States and Puerto Rico.
Zepeda delved further into detail about his new role at Feeding America
, and outlined it for DailyVista.
He clarified that his additional responsibilities will be to manage the organization’s online presence. Feeding America’s social media campaign is its primary Web site, which is feedingamerica.org.
“Our interaction with social networking sites is becoming an important phenomenon that non-profits and human services have to jump on and seize,” he said. “We’re looking to put a lot of emphasis on the way Feeding America partners with Facebook, YouTube, MySpace, Twitter, Flickr and all those different portals. It’s critically important to helping us get our work done, and that’s coming squarely under my responsibility.”
Though Feeding America has had a strategy in place that has done well in the past, the organization has seen an increasing importance being put on creating content and communicating that content effectively.
“I’ll be managing a content bureau which is making sure we have fluid, new, exciting, robust content and finding ways to share that content through social networking sites,” Zepeda said. “This will be driven around a new-found importance on developing content and keeping it fresh.”
Our source also discussed Knott’s new capacity. He said that Knott will be heading up strategy and planning for Feeding America, and since the industry has seen a great deal of benefit derived from predicting or forecasting future events - especially being a non-profit in this economic environment - Knott will be a key component to the executive team.
“We have to do so much more with probably the same amount of resources we’ve had or perhaps less in the future years, so it’s helping to ensure that communications and communication strategies remain central to the organization strategy at the highest level and staying true to the strategic plan, which Matt manages, and being able to try out and pilot some new communications projects. We want to see if we can get some additional visibility and awareness levels increased,” Zepeda said.
Building awareness of the brand is of utmost importance as well, though he said that Feeding America will still rely on its marketing division to assist with these efforts. He added that the marketing department has done a great job thus far, but what Zepeda will be managing in the media relations and digital marketing approach under his leadership will be to further gain visibility and awareness for as little expense as possible.
“We work with a group called little m media, and we work with (creative agency) Pixel and Radian6, which is a product of Starcom (Mediavest), to look at where hunger in America is blogged about,” Zepeda said. “This way we have an opportunity to respond to people who are blogging about hunger in America.”
Additionally, Feeding America also implements strategic partnerships with food manufacturers, food retailers, major retailers that don’t even sell foods like Macy’s, and even with major non-food-related brands like United Airlines.
“It takes a village, if you will, of all different businesses to help us do this, but specifically as it relates with technology, we have conversations and have partnerships with folks at Google, Yahoo, AOL and Facebook, and they know who we are and we work with them,” he said.
In cause marketing, the need for creative projects to gain new visibility is tremendous. Zepeda said that the organization is also working on a YouTube video campaign, and would ultimately like to work with more of its strategic partnerships in new and exciting ways, and a few of them in larger, more impactful ways.
According to The List database, New York-based Ogilvy & Mather has handled Feeding America’s branding and advertising efforts since 2007.
The Nielsen Company reported that Feeding America spent about $7.1 million on measured media in 2008. About $3.3 million was spent on national magazine ads, about $1.3 million was spent on local newspaper ads and about $1 million was spent on Internet ads.
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