Bohlsen Group is a full-service public relations and advertising agency located in the heart of downtown Indianapolis. A creative agency with the muscle to implement online, marketing and publicity projects, Bohlsen Group works with nonprofit, entertainment and events, corporate, and publishing clients around the world.
As an innovative company not afraid to invest in itself, Bohlsen Group was eager to reevaluate its philanthropic plans in the context of its business goals
After seeing Vicki Bohlsen’s passion for philanthropy and staff development firsthand, Kathy Pedrotti Hays knew a refined giving plan would improve Bohlsen Group’s efforts.
However, an effective corporate philanthropy plan grows from the roots of a strong strategic vision. While Bohlsen Group management had a clear vision for the future, the company first needed a distinct strategic plan.
Pedrotti Hays led the executive team through the process of ideating, creating and implementing a strategic plan with business and philanthropic benchmarks.
During this process, Pedrotti Hays organized meetings with key personnel, collected feedback and gave management regular homework assignments to help guide discussions. After learning that the company’s commitment to social responsibility didn’t stop at upper management, Pedrotti Hays introduced B-corp certification, an independent accreditation offered by global nonprofit B Lab.
Thanks to Pedrotti Hays’ comprehensive strategic planning process, Bohlsen Group was prepared for the rigorous operations and financial assessments needed to gauge social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency.
After achieving B-corp certification, Bohlsen Group was given access to a community of peers and potential vendors that shared their commitment to socially responsible and sustainable business practices.
Pedrotti Hays helped Bohlsen Group achieve B-corp certification and celebrate its commitment to socially responsible business by:
− Aligning the company’s business goals with its commitment to giving
− Helping management craft a strategic plan with embedded philanthropic benchmarks
− Streamlining the B-corp certification process by liaising with B Lab and collecting and reporting all necessary information
− Using B-corp certification to inform change within the company, from a more robust recycling program to a new employee volunteering policy
With Pedrotti Hays’ guidance, Bohlsen Group was able to use the external B-corp certification as a guide for building employee morale and core business internally.
“The B Corp ethos matches the heart of our corporate culture and has challenged us to become a better company,” said Vicki Bohlsen, president and founder of Bohlsen Group. “Through these efforts, we hope to empower our employees as corporate citizens and to make an impact in the lives of our clients and their target audiences.”
Endangered Species Chocolate specializes in sweets made with ethically traded, shade grown cacao and other natural ingredients.
In addition to wholesome ingredients, each chocolate bar or bite is layered with hope for endangered species. In fact, the company donates 10 percent of the net profit from each purchase to its conservation nonprofit partners.
When ESC was acquired by an Indianapolis company, the transition presented an opportunity to enhance its approach for selecting nonprofit partners. Kathy Pedrotti Hays was brought in to make the process more efficient and transparent, while engaging customers and employees in the selection.
Pedrotti Hays’ extensive experience in the nonprofit and corporate sectors gave her insight into the unique challenge ESC was facing. By borrowing the best practices from both worlds, Pedrotti Hays crafted an innovative approach to the company’s strategic philanthropy plan.
After working with employees to determine priorities, Pedrotti Hays developed a framework for ESC’s partnership program. With this new program, every three years ESC would begin a search for new 10% GiveBack partners through a transparent and open application process.
In order to build awareness about the opportunity, Pedrotti Hays spearheaded an awareness campaign that encouraged wildlife conservation nonprofits to apply for ESC’s partner program.
Furthermore, Pedrotti Hays revamped the proposal process, complete with an employee scoring component, while offering grant review oversight in order to eliminate favoritism.
After ESC selected the two 10% GiveBack partner organizations, Pedrotti Hays made sure ESC was properly promoting itself within the nonprofits and that all organizations understood the breadth of the partnership. She also developed employee engagement opportunities through site visits and regular updates from the partner organizations.
Pedrotti Hays helped ESC renew its commitment to wildlife conservation by:
—Executing a strategic philanthropy plan that solidified its corporate commitment to preserving habitat, humanity and endangered species
—Raising public awareness for deserving nonprofits, and ESC’s brand, through partnership co-branding initiatives
—Increasing comprehension of, and employee engagement in, the company’s giving program
—Developing a transparent selection process with independent oversight
Working with Pedrotti Hays allowed ESC to focus on core business goals while an experienced consultant handled the intricacies of the giving plan.
“Kathy Pedrotti Hays was able to come in with experience and use it to help us create and streamline a huge part of our mission,” said Nick Lee, brand director of Endangered Species Chocolate. “She was great to work with!”
For more than 25 years, The Damien Center has provided care to thousands of persons infected or impacted by HIV in central Indiana. Through education, advocacy, prevention and awareness services, The Damien Center has established itself as a safe and welcoming place where no barriers separate people from the services they need to prolong or enrich their lives.
After weathering significant organizational changes including new executive leadership, financial issues, staff turnover and board issues, The Damien Center was in a sustainable position and positioned to look intentionally at its future.
The timing couldn’t have been better as the HIV and AIDS prevention and care models had substantially changed- further necessitating new strategies to care for clients with possible new sustainable income streams. As clients with
HIV /AIDS are living longer and thriving, comprehensive care is needed to ensure their long term well-being.
As a longtime partner of The Damien Center, Kathy Pedrotti Hays understood the organization’s potential to positively impact and enrich thousands of lives.
With her extensive background in nonprofit strategic planning and professional experience in the HIV/AIDS community, Kathy knew developing a strategic direction was just the first step. Rather, operationalizing strategies as part of a cohesive implementation plan was key to long-term success.
Pedrotti Hays viewed the strategic planning process as an opportunity to accomplish multiple goals, including team building for board members and staff, enhancing donor engagement and evaluating current services.
To start the strategic planning process, Pedrotti Hays conducted stakeholder research, which would later be incorporated into the strategic and operational plans. With that foundation in place, Pedrotti Hays arranged staff and board member retreats to ensure these key parties understood the detailed operational plan.
Pedrotti Hays helped The Damien Center renew its commitment to preventing and combatting HIV in central Indiana by:
— Researching, brainstorming and developing a comprehensive strategic plan
— Helping staff committees and board members operationalize their individual plans as part of an overall strategic direction
— Offering counsel on important areas for the center, including donor engagement and evaluation of service lines.
The Damien Center was poised to develop its largest-ever grant request from the Indiana AIDS Fund, a process expedited by the in-depth research and analysis done during strategic planning. Impressed by the level of detail The Damien Center offered, Indiana AIDS Fund awarded the organization a $1.3 million grant to expand its capacity to serve the changing needs of HIV/AIDS clients.
“Kathy really pushed the board and staff to evaluate our strategic position,” said Tom Bartenbach, executive director for The Damien Center. “The work we did ensured we could uniformly and succinctly articulate our needs as well the resources that were needed to move forward. The strategic plan developed our strategy but along the way strengthened our team and relationships with funders.”
The peacock's symbolism represents Pedrotti Hays'
mission to inspire nonprofits and corporations
to continuously redefine goals and improve strategies. By embracing this symbolism in its brand,
Pedrotti Hays demonstrates commitment to:
The peacock sheds its feathers annually, eventually growing back its distinctive and vivacious plumage. This cycle of reinvention inspires a feeling of constant revitalization and growth.
As a rare and exotic bird, the peacock has long been viewed as the embodiment of grace and effervescence. Its presence in ancient royal courts further fed a reputation of regality, dignity and truthfulness.
The peacock has been associated with careful watchfulness since ancient times. With roots in Greco-Roman mythology, in which its feathers symbolize the eyes of the stars, the peacock remains an enduring symbol of leadership and direction.