Holly Cohen, Second Harvest’s Encore Fellow in Marketing, is leading our efforts in a new endeavor: client marketing.

Why has Second Harvest decided to focus on client marketing?

Holly: We estimate that over 700,000 people in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties are in need of some level of assistance from Second Harvest, but we’re currently serving around 260,000 people every month. Second Harvest decided to work to address the gap through client marketing. We are going to address three goals:

  1. Understand our clients. We know that there are a wide variety of people who are in need of food resources, including families, seniors, college students and immigrants. We’ve got to figure out each of these groups’ specific needs so that we can communicate with and serve them appropriately. There’s a lot to learn.
  2. Spread the word. One example of how we’re connecting with people is through advertising. We’ve recently run a successful digital advertising campaign and placed advertisements on bus shelters promoting free summer meals. We’ll be experimenting with radio soon.
  3. Be sure our services meet clients’ needs. Client Marketing is exploring what clients need to determine where changes should be made. For example, do we need to change food distribution times to accommodate working families? Or do we need to consider a more robust food delivery system for clients with limited mobility?

Bus shelter ads promoting free summer meals

What have you learned this past year?

Holly: The first thing I’ve learned is that our clients are working really hard to make ends meet. People have multiple jobs, are super busy and have very stressful lives. Or they’re on a fixed income and affording the healthy food they need is very difficult. We live in a booming economy and you look at Silicon Valley and think, “Everybody’s doing well.” In reality, the booming economy has increased rents incredibly, making it really hard for families and many people in our community to keep their heads above water. We want to tell people, “It’s OK to ask for help. That’s why we’re here.”

***We’re here to help with healthy, free food resources. Visit our website to find where these resources are near you.