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Creating a Successful Grassroots Campaign: Support Community Leaders and Access Initiatives

Updated: Feb 23

Many brands and organizations have recognized that they can, and should, step up to create access for people of color in outdoor spaces. Little by little, they are actively working towards getting more people outdoors and creating opportunities. However, what sets some brands apart is their commitment to supporting community groups and leaders who are already making a significant impact in their local areas.

The Need for Community Involvement

Promoting outdoor activities and environmental conservation is not just about selling products; it's about fostering a sense of belonging and stewardship within communities. Community leaders and nonprofit organizations often play a pivotal role in achieving these goals. They are deeply rooted in their local areas, have earned the trust of their communities, and possess invaluable insights into the needs and aspirations of the people they serve.

Collaborating with these groups allows outdoor brands to tap into this expertise, leveraging established relationships and local knowledge to create a more meaningful impact. It's a recognition that change is not just about what a brand can do on its own but about working with and supporting those who have already laid the groundwork for positive change.

This means allowing the community leaders to take the lead in what a mutually beneficial partnership could look like. Then follow through. When the support comes first and the marketing comes second, you'll find it strengthens the collaboration, intention, and authenticity of the project. And that's when everyone wins.

Building Trust and Amplifying Impact

When outdoor brands partner with community groups and leaders, they are not just lending their support; they are also enhancing their own credibility and visibility within those communities. Trust is hard to build but easy to lose, and by aligning themselves with organizations and individuals who are already trusted, brands can strengthen their own reputation as genuine advocates for outdoor engagement.

Moreover, these partnerships amplify the impact of both parties. Community groups can achieve more with the additional resources and support from brands (including leveraging financial support, connections, and logistical support), while brands benefit from the authentic connection and grassroots reach that these groups bring to the table. It's a win-win situation that fosters a sense of shared purpose and inspires others to join the cause.

Wondery Outdoors x Black Girls Trekking: Model Partnerships

Wondery is an outstanding example of an outdoor brand that understands the power of community partnerships. Their commitment to getting more people outdoors goes beyond selling gear; it's deeply rooted in collaborative efforts with local affinity groups and nonprofits. Wondery organizes community events that serve as fundraisers for specific nonprofits or community groups. These events not only generate financial support but also bring together like-minded individuals who share a passion for the outdoors. The brand then goes a step further by working closely with these groups to provide tailored support that aligns with their missions.

For instance, Wondery partnered with Black Girls Trekkin (BGT) to facilitate a camping trip for 15 Black women in Zion National Park. Wondery organized a climbing event/fundraiser to raise money for the trip, contributed some of their own funds to cover the additional costs, and Wondery employees provided logistical support like coordinating transportation, booking the campground, purchasing food, and cooking all meals. This eased the logistical pressures and stresses from the Black Girls Trekkin leaders so they could provide full support to trip participants. Many of these women were experiencing camping for the very first time. The trip was not just about outdoor recreation; it was about community building, connection, and healing in nature. By supporting these leaders and their initiatives, Wondery not only enriched the lives of those involved but also demonstrated its unwavering commitment to creating long-term, sustainable change.

It's only AFTER this effort that the Brand and Community Group can discuss how to incorporate additional marketing efforts. BGT leaders and trip attendees received Wondery clothing in the swag bags, and those who felt comfortable joined in a mini-photoshoot at the campground. The positive and welcoming environment helped almost all the participants feel comfortable and joining in to take photos. Those photos and the campaign can be seen HERE. In other instances, the candid photos and videos of the trip might be enough to create additional campaign material.

In Conclusion

Outdoor brands have a unique opportunity to contribute to positive change in society by supporting community groups and leaders who are already making a difference in their communities. This collaborative approach not only strengthens the brand's presence within those communities but also amplifies the impact of their shared mission. By working together, brands and community champions can inspire more people to embrace the outdoors, fostering a deeper connection to nature and a more sustainable future for all.

A few photos from the Wondery x BGT retreat! Mini photoshoot can be seen HERE

Interested in creating an equitable campaign and building community partnerships?

In the world of outdoor brands collaborating with community groups and leaders, expertise can come in various forms, each of which is crucial to the success of these partnerships, and creating something that is worthwhile to all parties. Here's a few ways that I can contribute to that success!

1. Visual Storytelling with Photos and Videos

Visual content is a powerful tool for conveying the message and impact of these partnerships. Photography and videography can help capture the essence of these outdoor experiences, showcasing the joy, camaraderie, and the transformative power of nature. High-quality visuals not only document the journey but also inspire others to join in.

2. Art Direction

Art direction plays a pivotal role in shaping the narrative of a marketing campaign. It's about more than just aesthetics; it's about storytelling. I'm passionate about contributing my creativity and insights to ensure that our campaigns not only look appealing but also convey the essence of outdoor joy and community.

3. Community Connections

One of the key challenges for outdoor brands is identifying community groups, leaders, and nonprofits that share your brand's mission and values. Through my extensive network and experience in community engagement, I can help you identify and connect with organizations that are passionate about the outdoors and are actively working towards creating positive change in their communities. I understand that finding the right partners isn't just about numbers but about finding organizations and individuals who resonate with your brand's ethos. This strategic alignment ensures that your partnership efforts are not only impactful but also authentic and long-lasting.

As someone deeply committed to connecting with and supporting community leaders and organizations, I understand the intricate nuances of building and maintaining relationships that matter. By leveraging my expertise in community engagement, your brand can forge authentic partnerships that contribute to a more significant impact in the outdoor industry.

Remember, community partnerships are not just about what your brand can achieve alone; they are about the collective power of like-minded individuals and organizations working together towards a shared vision. With my assistance, your brand can find, foster, and nurture these partnerships, creating a brighter and more sustainable future for the outdoor community. Let's work together to make a real difference.


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