teamworks communication management is pleased to have our work for United Food Bank featured in the January issue of the nationally distributed Nonprofit Communications Report.

Get Creative With Your Awareness Campaign

By Megan Venzin

United Food Bank (UFB) supplies 59,000 meals per day to needy families and individuals in East Valley and eastern Arizona, but its dedication to fighting hunger hasn’t always received the recognition it deserves. In an effort to shine a spotlight on the work of this regional nonprofit, UFB and teamworks, a nonprofit-focused PR company, worked together to launch a creative, awareness-building campaign that took place during the fall of 2016.

September is Feeding America’s Hunger Action Month, a period that served as a perfect springboard for spreading the word in unique ways. “We never want to resort to stunts, which tend to generate publicity but do little to advance an organization’s story,” says teamworks Partner Barb Harris. Instead, they took thoughtful, unique measures to raise awareness for UFB’s mission such as the following:

1. Broadcasting expert opinions. “First we got to work placing UFB President and CEO Ginny Hildebrand — perhaps the state’s best authority on food insecurity issues — with various media,” says Harris. The campaign launched with a televised interview on KAET-PBS’s “Arizona Horizon” show and was followed up by various other TV appearances and print op-eds.

2. Organizing a Chef Challenge. Teamworks secured chefs Romeo Taus and David Traina to create meals using only the foods available to clients through UFB’s emergency nonperishable food boxes and the Help Yourself fresh and frozen foods program. The resulting recipes and photos were featured on with additional information about the feeding programs. “The Chef Challenge made sense because it offers insight into what constitutes an emergency food box and the challenge recipients have in preparing meals from limited food resources,” Harris says. “It also provided the media with a new angle, complete with visuals, and allowed them to tell the story of food insecurity from a new perspective.”

3. Proclaiming a branded national month. Teamworks worked with public information officers and the mayors’ offices of Tempe, Mesa, Chandler and Gilbert to have September proclaimed United Food Bank Hunger Action Month and included these proclamations and photos in social media posts and news releases.

4. Encouraging community input. “We negotiated the use of the Downtown Tempe Authority chalkboard cube for the month of September, using UFB graphics and asking passersby to write their answer to the fill-in-the-blank: ‘I can’t (blank) on an empty stomach,’” Harris says.

5. Creating social media-worthy visuals. “To generate added social media chatter, teamworks worked with a local company, First Solar, to spell out ‘FEED’ on the multistory solar panels that line its headquarters, which is situated prominently by a major interstate,” Harris says.

Sources: Barb Harris, Partner, teamworks, Phoenix, AZ. Phone (480) 491-5712. E-mail: Website:

Ginny Hildebrand, CEO and President, United Food Bank, Mesa, AZ. Phone (480) 926-4897. E-mail: Website: