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College of Communication and Information Works to Help Kentucky Moms

Lexington, Kentucky (December 22, 2021) – Service is a huge part of the mission of the University of Kentucky College of Communication and Information, so when two college members learned about an opportunity to help a statewide nonprofit reach their community and marketing needs, they pooled their experiences together to make it happen.

KY-Moms MATR (Assisting Mothers with Recovery) exists to help expectant mothers and mothers with substance use disorder. The organization serves the Commonwealth by connecting these women with community outreach and education opportunities, substance use disorder prevention and case management services.

To achieve these goals, KY-Moms must promote themselves to potential clients and community partners. “They are there to help mothers,” said Alison DeVito, Senior Lecturer in the UK School of Information Sciences.

This presented a challenge – the organization is staffed with case managers and prevention specialists, who have no background in marketing and community outreach. This led Katie Stratton, director of the KY-Moms program, to reach out to the University of Kentucky for advice. She was quickly associated with DeVito.

With the CIS 300: Strategic Business Communications category, DeVito has experience maximizing limited resources for nonprofits. She has partnered with the $100 Solution Project in the past, and has tasked her students with building marketing strategies with just $100. Now, the challenge was hers.

“I knew as soon as I spoke to Katie about KY-Moms that I wanted to ask our wonderful CI Director of Communications Kathryn Hayden to participate because of her experience and all the amazing projects she works on every day at our college,” DeVito said. The two spent two months planning logistics, connecting regional offices and creating an accessible presentation. The virtual workshop took place in late October and identified skills such as website design, newsletter creation, email writing, social media marketing, and communication skills.

Hayden provided a main topic on basic design tips and breakout sessions on using free business tools for things like graphic design, social media scheduling, writing/editing, and appointment scheduling. DeVito offered a separate session on Effective Email and Press Release Writing.

Two KY-Moms MATR employees also presented best practices on other topics including conducting community communications and marketing strategies as well as a breakout session on media relations, building on successful strategies for doing one site with their local media.

As a result of the one-day seminar, Stratton said, KY-Moms MATR has since adapted its marketing approach, using newsletters and free business tools to create flyers, business cards and social media images. She hopes that these efforts will lead to more referrals for services from members of the community.

“It was such a good feeling to be able to take what we usually do every day or teach in a classroom and say, ‘Here are some tips and things you can do that can help you in your job to help Kentucky mothers and their kids,'” DeVito said.

Learn more about KY-Moms MATR at this link: https://dbhdid.ky.gov/dbh/kymomsmatr.aspx.

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