The official blog of Nancy Marshall Communications
offering tips, techniques, and thoughts from Maine's PR Maven, Nancy Marshall

 

PLEASE NOTE: This blog has been discontinued.
Please visit www.prmaven.com for new material from The PR Maven®.

 

Subscribe VIA Email

RSS Feed
Powered by Google Feedburner

Archives

Podcasting

Melanie Randall: Inspiring Others to Live and Dance Strong

Founder of Live and Dance Strong, and Owner of Dancewear House, Melanie Randall.

Everyone has their own ways of dealing with a loss, and this week’s Monday Maine Maven, Melanie Randall, decided to take one of the most difficult times in her life, and turn it into something beautiful as a way to process her grief.

Five years ago, Melanie’s father, Richard J. Randall, passed away and she set out to start an event that would help in her healing process. The result was Live and Dance Strong, a fundraiser that serves as a wonderful opportunity for choreographers and dancers alike to come together and deliver a unique dance experience.

Randall says, “Each year the show is different, and we have begun to touch on other people’s pain and grieving process. Cancer has affected so many people. I never dreamed that by starting Live and Dance Strong I would bring hope and empowerment to so many other young women who have lost someone—it’s been very special.”

This year, the event brought their total donations to the Harold Alfond Center for Cancer Care to more than $30,000 since its inception and for the first time, they paid a special tribute to cancer survivors.

Planning for Live and Dance Strong starts in early winter, and around March Melanie begins to send letters to local businesses, requesting sponsorships and donations for the show. In May, she sends out choreographer applications to studios in the area.

They recently added a concert element to the planning process, by hosting a concert at their home on the lake in an effort to raise awareness and funding within the community. Melanie adds that social media has also made the event easier to put together, saying, “Facebook has made it easy for us to have an online presence, enabling us to connect with choreographers and sponsors we may not have met any other way.”

Even after growing up dancing for Keltie Collins, Andrei Bossov and Genie O’Brien, she never imagined that she would have a career in dance. It wasn’t until she was getting ready to graduate with a degree in English that she considered buying Dancewear House in Hallowell, but after six and a half years, it was clearly the right choice. She says, “I wasn’t really sure that an English degree would prepare me for running a business, but my years in college certainly did.”

Melanie (center) with her Mom, Mary Elizabeth Randall (left), and her fiancé, Scott Lowery (right) following this year’s Live and Dance Strong event.

Most days, you will find Melanie helping young girls find their way on a similar career path. She says, “I spend most of my days with dancers’ feet in my face,” as the primary person that handles Pointe shoe fittings.

So what is her secret to happiness and success?

Randall says, “Follow your dreams—find something in life that you’re passionate about, and keep it close to you, especially when life gets hard. We all have the ability to take a negative situation and make it into a positive one, so don’t ever give up! One person has all of the potential in the world to touch someone’s life and change their own.”

To learn how you can get involved with Live and Dance Strong, please visit, liveanddancestrong.org, or like the Dancewear House on Facebook.

Blogger with a Knack for Content Development and Innovative Marketing

Alex Steed of Bourbon. Portland. Beer. Politics.
Image courtesy of Zack Bowen, Knack-Factory

A recent study by Vocus shows that bloggers rank highly with consumers for trust, popularity, and influence, and this week’s Monday Maine Maven is a blogger who has gained popularity in Maine for his quips, anecdotal humor and overall blunt approach to even the most controversial topics. Alex Steed is the man behind the Bangor Daily News Bourbon. Portland. Beer. Politics. blog, where no topic is off-limits.

In a recent post, Steed took on the new Portland slogan, which sparked a Facebook frenzy of opinions and rants. You know it’s going to be great when he starts with a note: My bosses get bummed out if I don’t warn you when my posts contain swears, so there’s your warning.

In the article he states:

Speaking of Las Vegas, stop bringing up the Vegas slogan as an example of an awesome slogan….You know what else happens in Vegas and stays in Vegas more than anywhere else in the country? Suicide. Their rate is double the average, and that’s something that a snappy slogan just can’t solve because, again, slogans, good or bad, don’t really mean anything.”

Does Alex worry about scaring people off? No.  In fact, he embraces it saying, “A long time ago, because television shows were only shown on networks, the shows took fewer risks because they had to retain a large audience—as channels increased in number, shows were able to take more risks because they were reliant on a base of fewer viewers. For this reason, one of today’s most lauded television shows is about a meth kingpin who boils people in baths of acid.”

“Sometimes the posts write themselves in the forms of discussions or arguments. Then I go and write a sort of idealized version of my take on the argument, while trying as much as possible to illustrate the other side or sides.”
Image courtesy of his wife, Jaime Steed

No, Alex does not plan on using this method on anyone who disagrees with his opinions, but he has realized that he doesn’t have to appeal to everyone, and that understanding his audience and readers, and developing content that appeals to them, is the key to the success of his blog and business.

Steed says that what does worry him most is “do people see me as consistent, or willing to take risks, or bold, or thoughtful? I work hard, reading everything over and over to make sure that even the most questionable assertions can be backed up with facts. That way the only thing someone can disagree on is the point of view, and not with the content itself.”

Content is incredibly valuable and Alex says, “These days folks are expected to write for free—I think it’s important not to accept this. Good content creators bring traffic, and traffic equates to increased usage, or advertisers, or whatever the bottom line is for whoever is hosting the blogger.”

For Steed, it all began with curiosity. He says, “I was very excited about the prospect of seeing the world and I knew that I had a voice.” He encourages young writers to “Be open to being influenced and inspired—take in input at a significantly higher rate than you put out words, content or whatever you are creating. Live your life; read everything; watch everything; and learn how to listen, absorb and process.”

Alex adds that success comes from taking risks, and that “you have to be a consumer of content that is greater than what you are creating.”

” I love living in Maine, and I also love my peers in the creative community here. There is a lot of good work being done in Maine.”
Image courtesy of Zack Bowen, Knack-Factory

So what influences Alex’s work? Here’s his top 5 list:

Might & Main—“They do great work and are very cool without being pretentious. In a few short years, they have built an empire. Their impact on me and the work I do has been substantial.”

Change.org—“They’ve built a way of compounding digital influence and amplifying collective voices.”

The Feast—“I admire them because they’re working toward continuing conversations about how we approach business, culture and activism in a compelling way.”

Love + Radio—“It’s decidedly one of the most riveting and entertaining podcast series being produced today.”

POCKET BRUNCH—“They are blowing up the way we think of food, socializing, parties and everything in between…and they’re locals!”

To check out Alex’s work for yourself, you can read his latest posts at Bourbon. Portland. Beer. Politics. Like what you see? Follow him on Facebook and Twitter. You can also check out his podcast here.

WGAN’s Mike Violette Gives the Inside Scoop on Social Media

WGAN Talk Host, Mike Violette

Politics are dicey in the world of public relations, so it’s probably a good thing that this week’s Monday Maine Maven, WGAN’s Mike Violette, would rather talk about himself and how his love of Maine and social media keeps him fresh.

Violette says, “Politics aside, I just try to listen to what people are talking about when I’m not behind the microphone. Whether it’s in Mardens or Hannaford, I make mental notes and who knows? It might just make it on the next day’s show.”

He adds that he is lucky that the management at WGAN, the Portland Radio Group and Saga Communications are supportive of his leanings, whether they’re political or not, and credits this for his transparency on social media. Mike says, “My job is to have an opinion on the WGAN Morning News, so I take that same approach with Facebook.”

For Violette, Facebook simply feels like an extension of what he has been doing for the past 30 years on radio. He says that even before social networking came about, he was already sharing his life with listeners each day. He says, “You have to connect with your listeners, and there is no better way to do that than to talk about the same things they do—your kids, your families, your dog.”

A recent example of that relationship comes from Mike’s family beagle, Hope. After 14 years his family had to make the difficult decision to say goodbye. His daughter, Jessica, had created a Facebook page for Hope, and when he mentioned on air what the family was going through he says, “The outpouring of support and love from people I had never met was amazing. Even though I had never met them, they had met me, my family and our dog because they’re loyal listeners, and I love them for it.”

Hope Violette aka “Hope the famous beagle”

The responses he receives on Facebook are generally positive, but he encourages the other side to voice their opinion because “it makes for a spirited debate.” He adds that, “No one gets whacked by me for having an opposing view, I encourage that!”

However, you might get whacked if you try to talk smack about fresh scallops and fresh Shipyard brews, two of the items Violette credits for his staying in Maine all these years, but he also says that “in February I could be convinced to move to Key West.” All joking aside, Mike says, “I’m a Mainer and I just love the state and the people.”

When he’s not on air, Violette is a movie fan listing the following as his top 5:

You can connect with Mike on Facebook, or by tuning into the WGAN Morning News weekdays from 5-9am on 560AM.

 

 

Jon James of 92Moose Talks Social Media and Radio

92Moose radio host/personality, Jon James

If you’re from the Augusta area, then you most likely have listened to 92Moose once or twice (or maybe a lot more), and you are undoubtedly familiar with long-time on-air personality, Jon James, this week’s Monday Maine Maven.

James has been a part of 92Moose’s daily line-up for more than 20 years, and currently is well-known as a third of the Moose Morning Show trio, Jon, Renee and Mac. Jon was born and raised in Maine and says that as he’s gotten older he’s only fallen in love with the state more, and he knows that Maine will always be home.

With so much experience, Jon says that the integration of social media into radio has been unbelievable, but also for the good. He says, “I like to think that these sites (Facebook and Twitter) broaden our fan base, but the best part of using them is the immediate feedback on just about everything we say and do.”

Being in touch with fans and listeners like never before is a definite advantage and Jon says he enjoys sharing not only what they do on the radio, but what goes on in his personal life adding, “I’ll friend anyone who will have me.” Why?  He figures that even if he doesn’t know you personally, that you have somehow formed a connection, and adds that “social media has made us more of a community with our listeners.”

James says that 92Moose has become a true multi-media company and that the Web is only slightly less important than radio. He says, “We all write articles for the website and use Facebook as a way to connect with people and drive them to the website for all of the latest information on contests, people, news and more.”

Jon James (L) with fellow Moose Morning Show hosts Renee Nelson (C) and Mac Dickson (R).

When James isn’t on the radio, he can be found hanging out with his grandson Evan or recording voiceovers. How does he juggle it all? Jon jokes, “Well, I’m a horrible juggler. That’s why I only do one thing at a time!” He says the biggest part of it all is patience and prioritizing. He says his family has always come first and he has been lucky to always find an easy balance between work and play.

Do you want to be a radio DJ? Jon says, “Be willing to move, and do it while you’re young! There are so many opportunities out there, but you have to look a little harder, and be computer savvy because so much is done digitally.”

To listen to Jon and the Moose Morning crew tune in weekdays to 92.3 FM 5:00am- 9:00am. Feel free to shoot Jon a friend request at facebook.com/jjamesvoiceovers or follow 92Moose on Twitter. Don’t forget to check out the latest contests from 92Moose here!

Zaarly: Bringing Local Storefronts Online

Founders of Zaarly (L-R) Ian Hunter, Bo Fishback, and Eric Koester. Koester departed in in February.

One of our recent Monday Maine Mavens, Jordan Weymouth Richards, discussed the importance and value of doing what you love each and every day. Zaarly’s three founders, Eric Koester, Bo Fishback and Ian Hunter feel the same way. The business was created in a single weekend two years ago and doesn’t show any sign of slowing down.

When I first moved to New York City in 2008, the biggest question was, where do I live? How do I find a cheap (college student here) apartment in this expensive city? I met a few people who recommended Craigslist and I found my dream place—two-bedroom/two-bathroom with hardwood floors, granite countertops, stainless-steel appliances, full dining and living room for a mere $1,650/month in a nice Harlem neighborhood and two blocks from the A train.

It seems like a dream, right? Well, for me it was, but when I recommended it to a friend last year it seemed deals were hard to find and scams were heavily abundant. Enter Zaarly—a site that brings e-commerce to a new level by allowing the seller to create a virtual storefront, complete with product descriptions, a profile picture and comments—the model is remarkably similar to a social media site for your business/services.

Your virtual storefront works like a social media site. Profile picture? Check. Comments? Check. Creativity is welcomed from a company that claims, “Rules for Work. We do not have these.”

Co-founder and CEO of Zaarly, Bo Fishback says, “Craigslist built a great first version of how to use the Web to make local economies work a little better. It’s coming on 20 years since Craigslist was started and it is unchanged at a time when technology is changing faster than it’s ever changed before—I just had a super simple idea about how to create a hyper-local marketplace.”

It all began at Startup Weekendin February 2011. Two of the founders, Bo Fishback and Eric Koester were inspired by personal pet peeves and/or inconveniences. The third founder, Ian Hunter, had been thinking of a similar idea, virtual garage sales—how can you create the sale without actually having to go to the sale? They pitched their idea and Ashton Kutcher just happened to be one of the judges that evening and loved it. He funded the project with $14 million.

All three guys quit their jobs, went all in, and in a mere two years they have grown their idea into a million-dollar brand, boasting 100,000 registered users, 200 cities, 30 employees, 15,000 unique monthly listings, and $6 million worth of posted transactions.

The idea is that they introduce you to local business people who are passionate about what they do—Zaarly helps you meet people within your community, and those relationships and core connections are the key to their business model. Their website tells you to reclaim your local economy, stating that buying local means investing in your community’s future.

On their blog, Fishback tells the story of how much he loves picnics and how happy he was with a fulfilled picnic request he posted on Zaarly. Bo and his wife, son and dog enjoyed a relaxing two hours provided by “a third-grade teacher during the day, but a picnic wizard by night (and weekends),” who made the experience the best picnic of his life. Former Zaarly Chief Operating Office Eric Koester tells a similar story about a bride who had a DJ cancel the day of her wedding. She posted on Zaarly and within a few hours she had a new DJ booked and the crisis was resolved.

In honor of Zaarly’s goal of bringing people and businesses together, their team page makes it easy for you to ‘meet’ them.

Fishback says, “We help people get paid to do what they love—it’s amazing when you talk to these sellers and they come up with amazing things. We’re just welcoming the sellers into this marketplace; we did not have to invent the world of trust and safety in peer to peer marketplaces—we just get to improve on it.”

An improvement to that system came in February when they decided to leave their peer-to-peer model and approach it from the merchant perspective. Storefronts were born, and similar to Etsy and Shopify, they allow businesses to successfully market their products to customers, receive orders and confirm details.

Fishback says this was a difficult decision, but necessary based on the metrics of their original marketplace. He says that being a startup comes with uncertainty from the market saying, “If you don’t know if there are any fish in the pond, or what kind of fish are there, why would you fish?” Their new model establishes the sellers and on average their sellers are making between $1,500 and $2,000 per month, with some reaching between $6,000 and $7,000 each month.

So how can Zaarly help your business? Here in Maine, we are lucky to have an abundance of ‘Mom and Pop’ stores that not only exist, but are doing exceedingly well. We also have a variety of downtown alliances and organizations that are all about promoting local businesses, farmer’s markets and more.

Zaarly helps connect these businesses and people, promoting local prosperity. They are currently represented in San Francisco, New York, Seattle, Kansas City and Los Angeles, and are always looking to expand their markets.

Check out Zaarly and sign up for a free account today. If you’re looking for great ideas for your business then I suggest you follow their awesome founders on Twitter @ianhunter, @bowman, @erickoester.

 

Contributed by Erika Bush

A Nightfly With A Rock ‘N Roll Soul

Frank FM Assistant Program Director and On-Air Personality, Leif Erickson

If you’re a fan of classic hits and live practically anywhere in the state of Maine, then you are probably familiar with 107.5 Frank FM.  As a member of Frank Nation, then you are also familiar with Assistant Program Director/Music Director/Afternoon Drive Host Leif Erickson.

Yes, he really does wear that many hats on a weekly basis—and that doesn’t even include the additional work he does for Snocountry Mountain Reports, and his recent official announcement of Leif Erickson Voiceover Services.

As a native of Massachusetts and Boston University graduate, Erickson was hired as a radio ski reporter for Snocountry Mountain Reports in Lebanon, New Hampshire after graduating with a degree in broadcast journalism. He soon made his way onto the air with Classic Rock station Q106 in Claremont, and after a few years he was recruited by a start-up station called Frank FM.

After eight years, Erickson says he can’t imagine living anywhere else. He credits the broad audience as the best and most challenging part of his job saying, “We’re a local station to not only Portland, but to Lewiston, Augusta, Bridgton, Sanford, South Paris, Farmington and well into New Hampshire! I enjoy bringing people together under that umbrella—Frank Nation—one big community, even if they do know I’m physically in the ‘big city’ of Portland.”

Social media has made Leif’s job a little easier, and he frequently uses it to test new material with listeners. He adds, “If I have some wise-crack on a relevant topic, I may test it out on my own Facebook page to see what kind of reaction I get. If the feedback is positive then I’ll repurpose it for my show later.”

Leif Erickson hits the slopes at Sunday River last winter.

Facebook is an incredible tool when it comes to connecting with listeners for Erickson. Even though he has a radio-specific fan page, listeners frequently find his personal Facebook page as well, and he always accepts their friend requests. He jokes, “I do have a brief disclaimer on my personal page that says:  Hey, this is me off the clock, don’t complain to my boss! I’m not above sharing a slice of life behind the scenes if I think my listeners might find it interesting.”

For Erickson, Facebook is also a way to learn more about his listeners, and he often uses it as a way to learn what they like, where they hang out, and what they want to hear—“This is a business that is all about connecting with the listener, is it not,” he asks.

That question is answered by the way he delivers content. Leif says, “Our listeners would rather I paint a picture of an odd individual’s antics on Monument Square that I’m witnessing from the studio window than whatever Lindsay Lohan’s in court for this week.”

When Leif isn’t juggling his work, he can frequently be found on the Portland Peninsula. He says, “I enjoy a bite and a brew at the Thirsty Pig, or Shay’s for dinner and drinks, but my favorite haunt is Slainte. It’s always full of interesting people, good brews on tap and kick- (enter expletive here)-bartending staff, and a diverse slate of music and culture just about every night of the week.”

To listen to Leif Erickson’s show, be sure to tune in to 107.5 Frank FM Monday through Friday 2pm to 7pm, or on Sundays 6am to noon. You can also check out his Facebook Fan Page at www.facebook.com/leifericksonontheradio.

We asked Leif to share five songs that describe him—click on the links below to find out what he picked! Did any of your favorite songs make the list?

Donald Fagen “The Nightfly”

Grand Funk Railroad “Rock and Roll Soul”

James Taylor “Country Road”

Todd Rundgren “There Are No Words”

Yes “Yours Is No Disgrace”

Thomas College Featured on MPBN

Mike Dacri, account coordinator at NMC

Hi, Mike here.

I don’t need to tell you but college is expensive and tuition seems to go up and up all the time! We recently got the opportunity to work on a project with Thomas College, which is working to make college more affordable for their students.

On Thursday, March 14, 2013 Thomas College was featured on “Maine Watch with Jennifer Rooks” on MPBN.  Interviews were conducted with Thomas College President Laurie Lachance, Board Co-Chair Conrad Ayotte and students Sarah Marckoon and Jacob Darveau about Thomas’ tuition freeze, Guaranteed Jobs Placement Program, and how Thomas is working to make college more affordable for its students. Check out the video below. The story about Thomas starts at 6:20.

Great job, Thomas!

Bases Loaded and Going for the Grand Slam

Maine Maven, Jessica Chahanovich

The Love Gun is just one of the many aliases of this week’s Monday Maine Maven, Jessica Chahanovich. Categorizing just what she does is hard to do because…well, she does just about everything. Chahanovich is the social media guru behind the upcoming dating app, FriendFlirt; works for Fenway Park (possible new public address announcer); writes for the Yawkey Way Report; works as a nanny; co-hosts a radio show; and writes for multiple blogs on dating advice and baseball.

How does she juggle it all? Jessica credits her grandmother saying, “She has Alzheimer’s, and she told me to make sure that I do everything I want to do while I still have the ability to enjoy it all. I took her advice literally and it inspires me each day to keep trying as many fun and new things as possible.”

Chahanovich has many interests, but her major passion is the major leagues. Her love of the Red Sox is prominent on her Twitter page, where she often receives and shares exclusive news and sneak peeks with her followers. Jessica broke every teenage girl’s heart when Justin Bieber recently started following her posts. Her response, “I think it’s pretty hilarious—the kid must really like baseball. I have no idea how he would have stumbled upon me otherwise, unless he’s looking for a new online dating site!”

Jessica’s alter ego, The Love Gun.

One of Jessica’s latest venture has been working as The Love Gun for the upcoming online dating app, FriendFlirt. Chahanovich says, “It’s going to take the creepiness and anonymous feeling out of online dating. It makes it real by using your current social media accounts to find people you might know, or should know, to go on dates with—no outside sites and memberships.” She adds that the first 10,000 people that sign up will receive a free membership.

As the designated Love Gun, she is responsible for their social media posts and blog. Man Candy Monday, Foxy Lady Friday and a weekly post with relationship advice and dating tips are the weekly features. Jessica is also hosting a podcast show with the Big Sauce Radio Show team. The show will include online dating horror stories from fans and weekly competitions for Best 6 Pack, Best Pedicure and more.

Jessica at her home away from home, Fenway Park.

When she’s not blogging for FriendFlirt, Chahanovich is blogging about her love of baseball. Her latest topic has been about the audition process she is going through to become a public address announcer for Fenway Park, where she already works as a quality control team member. She is currently a finalist, and waiting to see if she makes it to the next round of auditions in Fort Meyers, Florida to announce a spring training game.

Chahanovich’s love for baseball has also landed her a gig writing for the Yawkey Way Report. On their blog, she contributes her thoughts on baseball news related to the Red Sox and their players. Her wit and sense of humor shine through and you almost feel like you’re sitting at a bar, discussing the latest over a burger and beer.

While Jessica isn’t quite sure what she loves the most, she hopes that her sentiment will inspire others to pursue their own happiness. She says, “I love to share my passion with people who don’t have it, or better yet, simply haven’t discovered it yet.”

To keep up with Jessica you may follow her on Twitter @RedSoxChach, like FriendFlirt’s Facebook page, read the FriendFlirt blog, read her Red Sox blog, or check her out on the Yawkey Way Report.

Big Solutions for Every Business in Maine

President of CORE Solutions, Heather Veilleux.

What do New York, Maine and Ohio have in common? President of CORE Solutions and this week’s Maine Maven, Heather Veilleux, has called all of them home. While she has enjoyed each of them, Heather says, “The truth is, my plan was to move back to Maine all along.”

Veilleux adds that although it was hard to make the decision to move back to Augusta from New York City,  it was also a very exciting opportunity. She says, “Maine has more space to grow and more ways to be unique.”

Maine also has, by far, a much slower and steadier pace. While living in New York, Heather was working three jobs as a real estate agent at Bold New York by day, and a waitress at LongHorn Steakhouse in New Jersey and Marseille in New York City by night, and the occasional weekend gig through Total Entertainment! Not to mention that she was also juggling classes at Berkeley College and remotely creating her own start-up business. How did she do it? Veilleux says, “I realized that I simply didn’t have the time to go to class, so I began taking online classes. Ultimately, this allowed me to start and run a business that would eventually be located in Maine.”

Heather on a trip to Africa last year with the Flying Kites Global. Former Maine Maven, Ashley Underwood was also on this trip.

We hate to get political, but it’s hard to ignore that Heather’s life became consumed with politics shortly after she moved back to Maine last fall. Her fiancé (then boyfriend), Matthew Pouliot, announced that he would be running for office. “Little did I know what a great ride we were in for,” she says, and it would become a great inspiration for her re-evaluation of her business, Heels to Healing.

Through designing and planning advertisements and social media outreach during the campaign, Veilleux realized that there was an opportunity to help small businesses in the area using the same tactics. Heels to Healing was originally created to raise money through events for other nonprofits, but she realized that this model was making her business into a small United Way.

“I felt that rebranding and creating a for-profit business with a strong social mission was a better way to run a business and help my community,” says Veilleux about the change. With a new outlook and the creation of CORE Solutions, her goal is to help other businesses and organizations by offering services that they may not be able to have without hiring a full-time employee and/or hiring multiple companies. CORE Solutions offers high value for a low cost in assisting with event planning, fundraising, marketing and more.

CORE Solutions is an Augusta-based company offering quality business solutions that are designed to fit every budget.

CORE Solution’s signature event is the semi-annual Maine’s Fashion Night Out (MFNO). Originally created as a starting point for Heels to Healing, the event incorporates all of Heather’s favorite things: fashion, music, dance and central Maine! That’s right, it’s located right here in Augusta. Veilleux says, “I feel that central Maine is deprived when it comes to big events, especially in fashion. I live in Augusta and grew up in Hallowell, and I want to be a part of its growth.”

The mission of MFNO is to bring together the community, to promote local business and nonprofit organizations, and to network. They are currently looking for sponsors and volunteers—check out out www.MainesFNO.com for more information on how you can get involved and/or purchase your ticket for their upcoming event at the Armory.

To contact Heather, you may follow her on Twitter @coremaine, like her page on Facebook www.facebook.com/coremaine, or email her heather@coremaine.com.

Bangor Humane Society Goes Social

Stacey Coventry, public relations manager for The Bangor Humane Society, poses with Anna, a resident pitbull.

Cue Sarah McLachlan and add in some big-eyed, adorable furry friends. Yes, most of you know which advertisement I am referring to and we all know how hard it can be to either; a. change the channel even though you desperately want to; or b. to change the channel fast enough because it makes us sad just to think about those fuzzy little fluff balls.

This week’s Monday Maine Maven, Stacey Coventry, can relate as the public relations manager for the Bangor Humane Society (BHS). She has always had an affinity for animals and two years ago she found her very own big-eyed, furry calling in an advertisement for an event and volunteer coordinator. She applied, and with her experience in journalism, sociology and nonprofit management, she was hired.

Coventry credits her previous experience and skills, coupled with her drive to meet the needs of the Bangor Humane Society, for her current role as the public relations manager. Her responsibilities include managing a Facebook page and website, writing and distributing press releases and newsletters, and educating the public on pet adoption.

When it comes to social media, Coventry says you should post daily about anything that might interest your audience adding, “We found people want to be in the ‘BHS adoption loop’ and we find the more we involve and communicate with them, both online and through our newsletter, about our success stories and how we are utilizing resources, the more support we receive.” She goes on to tell stories of how they have been in desperate need for supplies and after a post on Facebook the supplies were on their doorstep by the end of the day.

Stacey and two of her very own rescues, Nala (L) and Koda (R).

Another program that Coventry says contributed to the growing resources of the Bangor Humane Society was their partnership with the ASPCA Rachel Ray $100K Challenge. The contest was between 50 shelters across the country competing to break their own records in rescuing more dogs, cats, puppies and kittens between August and October than the previous year. Although they didn’t win the competition Coventry says, “Our adoptions continue to be up by 25% post-challenge and I receive 20 volunteer applications a week versus the 20 to 30 I used to receive in a month.”

The $100K challenge has inspired Stacey to start similar programs on a local level to increase awareness and adoptions for the Bangor Humane Society. They have a special ongoing adoption program for seniors 65+ and veterans, in which all adult dogs and cats are 50% off with a valid ID. Also, throughout the month of February, they will be running a Valentine’s promotion. All adult cats are $25 and adult dogs are between 10% and 50% off, depending on what Valentine card is on their kennel. Check out the video below to see some of the available dogs:

For those of you that are debating whether to adopt or buy from a breeder, Stacey says to consider that there are six to eight million abandoned and homeless pets brought into shelters each year and that they aren’t bad pets; they are victims of unfortunate circumstances. Coventry says, “I have two dogs and a cat that I rescued and I swear they know they’ve been rescued! They are the most loyal companions.”  Coventry adds that the benefits go beyond connection. Shelter pets are all vaccinated, behavior evaluated and spayed/neutered—not to mention that all money spent to adopt your new best friend goes toward rescuing another homeless pet. Coventry says, “Visit your local shelter and see which furry face adopts YOU—you won’t regret it.”

If you aren’t ready to adopt, but would still like to get involved you may mail your donation to:

693 Mt. Hope Avenue
Bangor, Maine 04401

Or you may donate by going online to www.bangorhumane.org , where you can also enroll in their kennel sponsor program or review the shelter wish list. To contact Stacey, you can email her at Stacey@bangorhumane.org or call her at 207-947-8902, ext. 103.