MHA leadership set to present at Annual Mental Health America Affiliate Conference

Dr. Nicholas Coppola, CEO and Director of Marketing, Sheana Firth have been approached by Mental Health America to present to Affiliates at the 2020 National Convention in September. Originally scheduled for early June 2020, the convention was, like all large gatherings, rescheduled for safety. Dr. Coppola and Miss. Firth will deliver the Pre-Conference Day session, “The Big Turnaround: Profiting in a Nonprofit World”. The presentation will cover how treating a non-profit like a for-profit increased revenue and turned the organization around. Dr. Coppola will enlighten attendees on how the MHAIRC made a “big turnaround” that increased funding within just 13 months despite having stepped in as CEO with a challenging budget. Though it may seem counter-intuitive, hiring more staff, increasing community awareness, and investing in the company’s brand can make a big change in a non-profit organization.

Dr. Coppola will expand on why he started by applying for additional funding resources and implementing new ways to make meaningful contact with new and lapsed donors alike. “A non-profit executive also needs to realize you have to spend money to make money. Status quo is keeping doors open by playing it safe, but I had a new plan; to run MHAIRC like a for-profit to increase revenue,” stated Dr. Coppola. He decided to “up the MHA’s game” so-to-speak with new and inventive ways to make money and bring clients and donors in so we could identify gaps and fill the needs within the community. From the start, Dr. Coppola had a vision of what the MHA could be and knew he would have to have a powerhouse team to do it. His first steps were to promote from within the company and, from there, he looked to assemble an innovative and efficacious Marketing Team. Dr. Coppola will cover these topics and more at the workshop.

Additionally, as the old adage says, you should dress for the job you want, not the job you have; this works the same way when it comes to marketing and design. People want to see eye-catching materials that speak to them, are easy to read, informative and relevant. Sheana Firth will demonstrate how utilizing the non-linear process of “Design Thinking” to inform the creation of Marketing Materials, Core Messaging, and Brand Identity made a huge difference in defining MHAIRC’s value proposition, soliciting donors, and gaining brand recognition. Firth applied empathy and human-centric framing through every step and strategized a new Identity and Marketing Plan that leveraged an array of strategic marketing, advertising and interactive initiatives. This groundwork led to the launch of MHAIRC’s new image and the “Tidal Wave” campaign which encourages people to “come out of their shells” about mental health.

Because Ms. Firth believes that companies must be deliberate and authentic with their messaging and forward-facing materials, she will detail why she started with a total rebrand of MHAIRC. “I strongly feel that visually expressing who your company is, defines your qualities and values to your audience quickly,” Firth explains. She will present the overall methodology behind the Mental Health Association in Indian River County’s new turtle logo and how it ties in with the spirit of both the organization and the community. She will outline why she ideated, designed and introduced the public to a new color scheme, a new brandmark, and a new tone-of-voice to appeal to more people. “The purpose of the overhaul was to create brand awareness, establish brand equity, secure a loyal following and increase donor traction. This lays the foundation for organic growth and expandable multi-media strategies and will help MHAIRC scale, grow, minimize expenses, maximize returns and, ultimately, will allow our community to feel a connection to mental health.” Firth will go into further detail on these topics during the workshop.

MHAIRC has been active in Indian River County since 1978. In 2007, they opened the Walk-In & Counseling Center in Vero Beach, Florida. The Walk-In & Counseling Center is unique in that it offers immediate access to emotional and behavioral health care for children and adults on a walk-in basis for the initial visit, and by appointment for continuing treatment and services. They also run three Drop-In Centers for people with severe and persistent mental illness in three counties – Indian River, Martin, and Okeechobee counties. These centers are open 365 days per year, and we have had 24,000 visits to the Drop-In Centers during the past year. The MHAIRC has also implemented an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) and School Violence and Suicide Prevention Program in the community as well. These programs and their successes will also be discussed at the workshop.

Mental Health America Pre-Conference Day provides a unique opportunity for MHA affiliates to, build camaraderie, engage and learn from and with colleagues from around the country about their exemplary work, connect with MHA staff and meet MHA leaders.

The Pre-Conference Day theme is “Affiliate Resilience.” Think disruption isn’t going to affect your organization? Think again! Learn how MHA affiliates have reinvented themselves, created a new framework to adapt and improve their organization’s resilience in the face of change.

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