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Posts Tagged ‘milwaukee’

#doorsopenmke – Totally Worth Seeing


For the past four years, Historic Milwaukee and several other community organizations sponsor Doors Open Milwaukee, a project featuring more than 150 buildings — offices, theaters, hotels, museums, clubs and universities — that open their doors to the public and  invite them in to take a look around.

I finally had the chance to check it out last weekend and it was well-worth the wait.

We enjoyed backstage access to the Milwaukee Theatre, Bradley Center and Turner ballroom. Plus we got a look at the city from the top floor of the U.S. Bank building where the view was spectacular. Here are a few pictures of this adventure.

So why do a project like this?

  • By giving the public access, you create some goodwill with them. You also get foot traffic into sometimes historic spaces that really ought to be appreciated by others.
  • You get to plug your upcoming events.
  • You get an opportunity with potential donors to share ways they can help your organization (as long as you soft sell it).

The materials promoting Doors Open Milwaukee (DO MKE, clever right?) were easy to find and to understand, highlighting all the available spaces in a really simple design. We used the online interactive map to plan our walking tour. There was even had a handy mobile app that provided great tours, donation and event information. Way to go Historic Milwaukee!

Susan Schoultz is Design Director at Clear Verve Marketing and works with clients to create and execute marketing campaigns.  Follow her on Twitter as @susanschoultz.

Creative Milwaukee @Work

Thursday, January 2, 2014 — 


In November (better to post later than never -right!) I attended Creative Alliance Milwaukee’s Creative Milwaukee @ Work Conference at Discovery World. This conference brought together many individuals from the creative and business industries throughout Southeastern Wisconsin. It was well worth the time and investment to attend the conference. I was not able to devote the entire day to the conference but the time I did spend there was AMAZING.

The quality of information provided and speakers were great. Based on the sessions I attended , here are a few things I found particularly noteworthy:

  • The Center for Youth Engagement , committed to increasing the quality and accessibility of opportunities for under-served youth throughout the world,will launch a new mobile app called Youth Map Milwaukee this year to provide Milwaukee area youth with options for after school activities.
  • The Milwaukee Repertory Theater is known for high-quality theatrical productions. Mark Clements, artistic director shared his background and a bit about his creative process leading Milwaukee’s largest theater company. Having directed many productions in England and New York, he has lead the Rep for the last three years and just signed on for four more. He approaches the shows he directs as close to final within a week of starting rehearsals, something he learned from one of his theater mentors.

So after attending this event, I decided that joining @mkecreative  was one of my many New Year’s to-do items as there are so many inspiring people in this organization to connect with and learn more about.

Susan Schoultz is Design Director at Clear Verve Marketing and works with clients to create and execute marketing campaigns. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram as @susanschoultz

Explanation Overkill

Friday, August 12, 2011 — 


When crossing the street in West Allis the other day, I noticed this sign:

Who would have thought that crossing the street was so complicated? My kids understood the basics of walk/don’t walk before they started kindergarten, and they never would have been able to read this sign back then.

Sometimes, the same thing happens with marketing, especially when you are trying to market a service. You can’t show anyone what you are selling, so you explain, and explain, and explain… Recently, I met with someone who called it “feature puking.” It may be a little gross, but it is a good analogy.

So what’s the lesson? Figure out what matters to your audience. Tell them that, and then STOP. Too much information can actually make decisions more difficult. (Even if you are just deciding whether or not to cross the street.)

Christina Steder is the President of Clear Verve Marketing and works with clients to plan, create and execute marketing campaigns. Follow her on Twitter as @clearverve.

One Nonprofit’s Strategy on Facebook


This week’s post comes to us from guest blogger Caroline Anderson, Public Relations and Advocacy Coordinator at Meta House.

Meta House recently ran a successful fundraising and awareness campaign on twitter, as Clear Verve blogged about earlier. Afterwards, we were asked to participate in a seminar on ‘Social Media Strategies for Nonprofits’ at the BizTech Conference & Expo on Thursday, April 29. Our panel of four discussed various ways that nonprofits use social media like facebook, twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc. and the audience seemed to appreciate hearing about our different approaches.

Clear Verve invited Meta House to guest blog and share our facebook strategy. Without claiming to know it all (especially because social media is always evolving…and no one likes a self-proclaimed expert anyway) here is the general approach that Meta House uses on Facebook. We hope that this blog will help other nonprofit organizations as they navigate social media!

Background on the organization: “Meta House helps women struggling with drug and alcohol addiction reclaim their lives and rebuild their families. Its model program meets the unique needs of women and their children, ending the generational cycle of substance abuse.” This is important to know, because unlike an organization that works with cute puppies or something else with easy crowd appeal, we are working against a stigmatized conception of drug addicts. By sharing their stories of recovery and the benefits of treatment, we help fight this stigma and increase support for our mission.

Frequency: We usually update our Facebook page about 4 times per week. If stretching to find news for an update, better to post nothing. If time is an issue because of other obligations one week, that’s ok. Conversely, if lots of exciting things are happening then we might post more…but we don’t want to flood News Feeds.

Audience: We have a diverse group of “fans” (now that we “like” pages, is the noun still “fan”?) including: Meta House clients, graduates, staff, volunteers, donors, sponsors, and new supporters of the organization. Some fans know a lot about us, and some may just have a general interest in women’s issues or addiction and treatment.

Content of updates: We try to post items that will be interesting for everyone, which isn’t always easy. We share about both big and small happenings going on in the various programs at Meta House – from a healthy baby being born to a topic discussed in one of our treatment classes. Our women and their children go on outings around Milwaukee, so we like to share about the fun places they visit, especially because most of it happens for free! Sometimes we put out timely requests if we need something specific, like diapers in large sizes or volunteers to help with a project.

Sharing other media: If we are featured somewhere else online, we share a link to it. After an event, we post photos and encourage people to tag themselves and friends. We have videos on YouTube featuring some of our graduates’ stories, and we post them in the hopes that viewers will gain a greater understanding and empathy for the women we serve.

Applications: We have a Causes page and have raised some money through that application, mostly during “America’s Giving Challenge” and when a supporter makes us the focus of their Birthday Wish. We tried to win on Chase Community Giving, but there was too much competition.

The person behind the updates: Remember how we said that we don’t know it all? Meta House was unsure of how to move forward with social media, as full-time staff didn’t have enough time and interns were too temporary. When I (Caroline) began working at Meta House part-time in September 2009, it was clear that it would be me or no one. I was hesitant because I had just spent three years with the Peace Corps in Cameroon, Central Africa and felt pretty disconnected from the fast-moving online world. However, I began learning by observing other nonprofits in action, attending trainings and webinars on the subject, and talking to new contacts. Christina Steder of Clear Verve also volunteered her advice! Slowly, I began to tweet and update the Meta House fan page. I’ve learned a lot from our followers- their responses are the best indication of what to adjust in your strategy.

We’ll end with a shameless request: please “like” us and suggest us to your friends as well! Thanks for reading.

Fundraising with Twitter


This week, we will launch a first for Milwaukee. On Friday, April 16, in conjunction with A Day for Meta House, Clear Verve has organized the first ever Milwaukee-area twitter-based fundraiser. Thanks to the generosity of Manpower and the vision of the people at Meta House, we hope to raise $1500 through retweets of the hashtag #Day4MH. Here’s how it will work:

During the tweetathon, Meta House will be using twitter to send out messages about their mission, the activities that will be happening at the breakfast and lunch events, and Manpower’s support for retweeted messages. Tweets will also be sent following the theme for the day – the ripple effect of addiction and recovery and how one person’s life affects many other’s – and asking people to share their messages of inspiration and the people who have impacted their lives.

Then, Milwaukee-area tweetathon participants are invited to attend a tweetup at iPic at Bayshore from 5:00 – 7:00 pm. Admission is free, but freewill donations will be accepted to benefit Meta House. Attendees can RSVP for the tweetup by clicking here.

If you don’t know much about Meta House, be sure to follow #Day4MH on twitter, you will learn a lot. They are an amazing organization, a nationally recognized treatment center that has been providing alcohol and other drug abuse treatment services designed specifically for women since 1963. Meta House helps women struggling with drug and alcohol addiction reclaim their lives and rebuild their families. Its model program meets the unique needs of women and their children, ending the generational cycle of substance abuse. Meta House knows that women are likely to have become addicted in response to the pain of traumatic life experiences. They also know that women succeed in treatment when they have a healing environment that understands the importance of their roles in society. For more information, visit

So, how can you help?

We hope you’ll participate in this great experiment and help a wonderful organization make a difference in Milwaukee. Be sure to follow #Day4MH on twitter and take a moment to retweet a few times. Then, show up at iPic to meet the other Milwaukee-area tweeps who will help us raise up to $1500 for Meta House. We’re confident we’ll reach our goal and we hope you’ll be a part of it!

MPS and Communication

Thursday, January 14, 2010 — 


I had the opportunity to listen to an amazing panel discussion at the monthly Professional Dimensions luncheon yesterday. The goal of the meeting was to present the PD membership with information about the current Milwaukee Public School (MPS) situation in a non-political and collaborative way.

The panelists included Sr. Joel Read, President Emerita of Alverno College, Alan Borsuk, Senior Fellow in Law and Public Policy at Marquette University Law and Milwaukee Journal Sentinel columnist, Mike Gousha Distinguished Fellow in Law and Public Policy and TV journalist, and moderator Michael Spector, Boden Visiting Professor of Law at Marquette University Law School. Sr. Joel Read discussed the systems and programs that were currently in place and told us what was good about MPS. Yes, there ARE good things about MPS. Did you know that MPS has one of the best IT infrastructures anywhere? I had no idea either. But the one thing she said that struck me was that she felt that the biggest problem at MPS is that they don’t communicate.

This sentiment was echoed when Alan Borsuk discussed his perspective on MPS. He shared many shameful and disheartening statistics on the racial gaps present at MPS. Contrary to what might be expected from a reporter who covers mainly negative news about MPS, he actually said he was an optimist about the school and felt that, “The only way we can solve MPS’ problems is we have to own up to them.” He is hoping to help that process by reporting the facts to our community so we will start talking. Once again, communication.

Alan also shared that Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said that it was time for Milwaukee to, “wake up” and that a study of the district’s human resource function was so brutally honest he called it, “mean.” The study showed no coordination of academics and no sense of urgency to fix the problems. He also told us how the board filed away the report when it was presented with no discussion. Once again, communication.

Mike Gousha talked about the importance of leadership and consistency. He said that to see the revolving door of principals at some schools was, “disheartening,” and that it lead to teachers and students feeling like nobody cared. He also discussed the many reasons why change is difficult, many of which are political. There are many people talking about working together, but he found that when he asked hard questions, nobody was really willing to compromise. Lots of talking, no listening. Once again, communication.

I’m not foolish enough to think that marketing can fix the world, but as someone who helps people communicate their ideas, causes, and services every day, I couldn’t help noticing how communication kept coming up at the heart of this issue. Poor communication has kept the good in MPS a secret. It has also created a culture of complacency. Just like people need clear direction when trying to understand the features and benefits of a product or service, people in the schools need to know how the work that they do is making a difference in the grand scheme of things. Sr. Joel Read compared turning around MPS to turning an ocean liner around. It’s a slow process and sometimes it feels like you are not moving at all. That makes the sharing of information even more important. From a communications standpoint, MPS has many of the same problems business owners have. You can no longer take a mediocre product, hype it up with advertising, and overcome its deficiencies enough to make your sales goals. People have the technology to make their individual voices heard far and wide and businesses can no longer survive unless they live up to their promises. Let’s hope MPS can rise up to their communications challenges. Milwaukee is an amazing city and our children deserve the best.