I believe it is the same important for non-profit sector to manage public relations by using social media tool to expand its awareness in public. Today I want to introduce such a non-profit organization that launches social enterprise in addressing its mission – FareStart.
Founded in 1992, FareStart is a culinary job training and placement program for homeless and disadvantaged individuals. Its services target some of King County community’s highest-risk and hardest-to- serve residents. FareStart Restaurant, known as the social enterprise section in this non-profit organization, located at 7th & Virginia in downtown Seattle. It is opened for lunch Monday-Friday from 11am-2pm, and for Guest Chef Night dinners on Thursdays from 5:30-8pm.
The first time I knew FareStart was from an outreach video made in 2010. (see this video http://youtu.be/1QZnEAfyHww) Actually they have lots this kind of videos on YouTube, by telling an inspiring story, or interviewing successful cases, those videos effectively reach audiences’ the most touched point. All the proceeds from FareStart restaurant go back into the program to support FareStart’s job training and placement programs. They also announced each accomplishment on their Facebook. For example, the CEO of FareStart, Megan Karch, received as the first recipients of Seattle Business Magazine’s Executive Excellence Awards on Jan. 31. To date, there are over 5,000 followers on Facebook and over 3,000 on Twitter. If you type “FareStart news” into Google, you will find plenty of news reports, covering its successful social enterprise model, financial boost, rewards and inspiring stories.
Since FaraStart is a non-profit organization, the majority revenue still comes from sponsorship. But the restaurant becomes a perfect platform for both program participants and customers. For one hand, students could use what they learn from the training program in the real world; for the other hand, the restaurant gives a good opportunity for public to understand FareStart’s mission and it’s also a way to communicate themselves to the public by their wonderful food and services.