Category Archives: Uncategorized

Cause’s Mission-Driven Approach in Action: 2023 Impact Report

We expanded access to communications tools for all. We grew the collection of tools on our website and distributed more than 10,000 resources to changemakers around the globe last year. Our most popular resource, the Communications Toolkit, remains the go-to guide for social impact communicators. We increased our trainings to support more social impact communicators […]

Inspiring Future Communications Ambassadors

“Prior to joining Cause, my view of communications was very tactical,” admits Christian. “Now I see how using ‘communications for good’ can propel social change, shape public perception, and influence public policy.” Christian contributed to a broad range of projects, including researching best practices in ethical storytelling and distilling child welfare and prevention legislation to […]

To Build Shared Vision in Communities, Trust Them to Lead

Authors: Kristen Caloca and Vanessa Schnaidt Contributors to this article include Anu Yadav, Community Codirector, WE RISE; Robin Garcia, Community Codirector, WE RISE; Danielle Brazell, Arts and Cultural Leader and Former General Manager of the Department of Cultural Affairs at the City of Los Angeles; Kaile Shilling, Nonprofit Collaboration Expert; and Andrea Jarrell, Author and […]

Using Communications to Advance Justice and Equity: Our 2022 Impact Report

7,400+ free tools and resources accessed by communicators across the globe to meet them where they’re at and enhance their communications capabilities, 100% satisfaction from our training programs that build skills and cultivate connection among nonprofit leaders from 100+ organizations, 80,000+ attendees at WE RISE 2022 community-led events, a collaborative impact initiative centering healing and […]

Place Matters: Cause’s New Office

Bordering Chinatown and Olvera Street, two of the oldest and most culturally significant neighborhoods in the city, the LEED-certified building has served as an important hub of social change work for more than a decade. Cause has history here, too: for many years we have hosted nonprofit communications training programs at the Center’s conference spaces, […]

45 Years of Communications for Good

  As our Founder R. Christine Hershey says, “There is nothing that won’t achieve greater impact once communicated effectively.” We’ve distributed more than 15,000 copies of our widely lauded Communications Toolkit, 100% of our program participants say they would recommend our trainings to other nonprofits, and our communications consulting work successfully moves issues through strategic, collaborative, and culturally […]

Cause Communications 2021 Impact Report

Our hallmark efforts in 2021 included: Impact Project: WE RISE – Produced a series of community-driven experiences developed to destigmatize mental health conversations and connect communities to resources in LA County Communications Trainings – Celebrated a 10-year partnership with the Dwight Stuart Youth Fund, supporting youth-forward nonprofits by training them to use communications more effectively to advance impact Communications […]

WE RISE Campaign Recognized for Significant Community Impact
with 10 Awards in October

In recognition of its continual efforts to lift up community voices, amplify impact, and use communications for good through the WE RISE campaign, Cause Communications received 10 awards during the month of October. The firm was honored by the Los Angeles County Quality and Productivity Commission, the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals (AMCP), and […]

Braving the New World Together:
Collective Insights from ComNetworkV21

The second ComNetworkV conference in early October 2021 was the ideal occasion for the growing network of communicators to check in, review recent case studies, and solidify tenets and methods for manifesting equity and inclusion in our communications and impact at large. ComNetworkV21’s diverse program of speakers, sessions, dialogues, and gatherings amassed both new and […]

Strengthening Your Communications in Uncertain Times

Many organizations are experiencing the same communications challenges. Are financial constraints limiting your communications efforts? You’re not alone. More than 2/3 of survey respondents said that a lack of financial resources and a lack of staff are barriers to prioritizing communications right now. And half of you cited a lack of staff skills/training as a […]

Sharing the Vision:
Chris Hershey in Conversation
with Kristen Caloca

Chris Hershey (RCH): Over the last year and a half, we’ve watched nonprofits, foundations, and the impact-driven sector amplify their efforts amid a barrage of global and local challenges. At Cause Communications, we’ve expanded our team to best meet the evolving challenges in our communities, which is where you come in, Kristen—you’ve recently joined our […]

Collaborate for Greater Impact

For the last four years in May, during Mental Health Awareness Month, Cause Communications has helped the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health (LACDMH) produce WE RISE. This month-long initiative encourages wellbeing and healing through art, connection, community engagement and creative expression. WE RISE 2021 was the most expansive and collaborative yet, reaching tens […]

Creating Change:
Are the Right People in the Room?

What follows is a set of questions we are developing – first, as a collaborative exploration, and then ultimately, as a capacity building tool for the field. This is not a checklist, rather a set of prompts to invite deep thinking, reflection and discussion. It is a foundation for a process that can help us […]

History Matters:
Look Back to Look Ahead

Know the larger history of your cause Your focus may be civil rights, education, mental health, sustainability, democracy, or some other social mission. Who was thinking about and acting on the issues you care about before your organization came on the scene? Is your organization one of the original pioneers? Are you a recent arrival […]

Build Genuine Connection
Through Trust and Empathy

Practice Beginner’s Mind The Buddhist concept of beginner’s mind means letting go of preconceived ideas even in areas we know well. We approach our work, people, and challenges in the way a beginner would — alive to possibility with no sense of inevitable outcomes or “the way it always is.” Because the beginner’s mind doesn’t […]

This Moment Calls Us Each to Lead

This idea can be applied to social change organizations and the role of communicators – and the implications are quite powerful. And as The Art of Possibility by Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander underscores, you can lead from where you are within an organization or cause – or as they suggest, “any chair in […]

Tapping into Communications’
Power to Connect

To support communicators like you, we’ve gathered a few of our favorite reminders and resources on key topics: Messaging: It’s easy to get caught up in the contentious, polarizing conversations. Instead, examine your organization’s messaging—from the top down—and find opportunities to highlight and advance solidarity, empathy, and common ground. Not sure where to start? Check out our free […]

Pivoting for Impact:
In Conversation with Naveena Ponnusamy

Vanessa Schnaidt (VS): Venice Family Clinic had big plans for 2020, celebrating the organization’s 50th Anniversary with a big campaign focused on community. How did the Clinic pivot this year? Naveena Ponnusamy (NP): We started the year with a blueprint for celebrating the anniversary—including communications strategies, plans for new intimate in-person events in lieu of a […]

Virtual Fundraising Events with a
Real Impact

Regardless of where and how your event is held, here are some recommendations grounded in communications strategies to keep your virtual fundraiser’s impact strong and reach wide: Imagine new possibilities. Rather than attempt to exactly recreate an in-person event, embrace the creative opportunities afforded by a new platform or format. Consider how you can create […]

Simple Joys & Small Victories

LIANA ALMONY I thrive off of a full schedule and am happiest when I am at my busiest. At the beginning of quarantine, when life as we knew it came grinding to a halt, I found that too much time on my hands could easily turn into time spent focusing on the negative aspects of […]

Pausing to Take Stock: A Six-Month Reset

Where Do We Stand Now Good evaluation always starts with honest reflection. Use this time to create space for personal sharing and team discussions. These are an important complement to the reports and analytics you’re already gathering and a perfect opportunity to ask the deeper questions that can get lost amidst the daily grind. Here […]

Creativity From Chaos: When Crisis Creates Opportunity

Here’s a behind-the-scenes peek at how plans for WE RISE changed course (in a major way!) without sacrificing impact, and five best practices you can implement in your own organization as you navigate the road ahead. Be true to who you are. Lean into your organization’s brand identity and guiding values: they offer an anchor […]

The Right Message at the Right Time. Please.

Strategic Communications in Times of Crisis (Find it in Chapter 4 of our Communications Toolkit) Crisis communications is about finding opportunity in unexpected situations. A strategic, well-coordinated approach can go a long way across all departments of your organization. Assemble a crisis management team to centralize your response and all related decision-making. Designate spokespersons to deliver […]

Harnessing Emotion for Social Change

Here are our top five insights so you, too, can benefit from these advances in the field. Awe fosters connection and cues up action. Katherine R. Dale’s research on inspirational media illuminates that awe really is awesome. Situated on the “upper reaches of pleasure and the boundary of fear,” awe is a “self-transcendent emotion” that […]

Building Relationships That Last

Trying to Get Noticed? Start simple: decide what it is you’re looking for in your supporter. The more clarity you have about your goals and audiences, the easier it will be to invest time and energy into cultivating the right matches. Who shares your ideals? Who will galvanize your mission? Who will introduce you to […]

Top Lessons from Our Communications Training

1. Take the time to create great core messages. Every organization should have a handful of core messages that align with – but are distinct from – your mission statement. These should help your audiences emotionally connect to the work your organization is doing, and clearly articulate why this work is important. Remember that everyone is […]

Commemorating 40 Years of Impact

  ——— WHEREAS, R. Christine Hershey founded Hershey Cause Communications in 1977 to help nonprofits, foundations, government agencies, and businesses harness the power of strategic communications and design toward achieving a greater positive effect in Los Angeles County; and WHEREAS, she has served as an instrumental and pioneering connector of causes and communities within the […]

Tech Round-Up: Tools for Going
From Good to Great

Jessica Truex   For many nonprofits, the thought of adopting new technologies can be daunting – especially due to the upfront costs and time required to become proficient. Jessica, our project manager, believes that investing the effort into researching and training in the appropriate applications for the specific needs of an organization pays off in […]

POV: Relationships Matter

In the spirit of Hershey Cause Communications’ mission as “evangelists for (good!) communications,” we offer up this “Bingo” card meme to share and serve as a reminder to focus on ways to build real relationships with people. Spread the word! Invest time in connecting with your colleagues. Use meetings as an opportunity to bring greater […]

Crafting a Dazzling Core Message

When we work with nonprofits through our many training programs, we emphasize the importance of developing a core message – a simple statement distinct from your mission that sparks interest and highlights what sets your organization apart. Follow these steps to develop your own core message, so you can talk about your organization in a […]

POV: The Power of Pets

Fidel (Chris Alves) – Shelter pup Fidel, not to be mistaken for the famous Cuban dictator, Fidel Castro (although we must admit, his resemblance is striking!), enjoys spontaneous wiggles down grassy hills, all varieties of meaty treats, and the occasional dip in the Pacific Ocean. Most of the time you can find Fidel sprawled out […]

40 Years of Communications for Good

Now, I’ve turned 40 once before—but I’ll admit I’m excited to do it all over again. Because I remember what turning 40 really means. For me, it means a full embrace of authenticity. A time to double-down on what’s most important to us, and to recommit to the interests and values that keep us fully […]

Tech Tools That You Can Actually Use

Where to Start? Whether you are a tech newbie or writing the backend code for your organization’s website, there are a ton of free and affordable resources available to help your organization communicate better. Here are just a few of our favorites. NTEN – This membership organization provides resources, classes and an online community to […]

Communications Starts at the Top

Those three words aren’t just sloganeering. Our founder, R. Christine “Chris” Hershey, has long been a proponent of doing good for communications – as an evangelist for the impact of smart, strategic messaging on an organization’s success, irrespective of the industry it serves. Central to Chris’s worldview is the idea that — whether its efforts […]

Spring Into Action with Communications Goal Setting

S – Specific Outcome M – Measurable/Quantifiable A – Accountable/Achievable R – Results-Oriented/Realistic T – Time-Dated For example, you might have a goal of saving money for the future – but if you had to make this a SMART goal you might decide you want to save $100 per month for the next 12 months. […]

Celebrating Enterprising Women

1977, the year I started Hershey Cause Communications, was also the year that the first National Women’s Conference was held. This conference was the first meeting of its kind in the United States since the 1848 Women’s Rights Convention in Seneca Falls, New York. Recently, while looking back at the platform that was debated at […]

Why We’re Working on A Day Without A Woman

We have the rare privilege of working at a woman-owned business that has a majority female staff. For nearly 40 years Hershey Cause has been breaking glass ceilings and fighting on the front lines for pay equity, gender equality and LGBTQ rights. But we know that not everyone is as lucky. The beauty of A […]

This is What Democracy Looks Like

It’s thrilling, and encouraging, to see due attention paid to responsible and responsive government. But engagement – and impact on people’s lives – doesn’t, of course, stop at government. Civil society, the non-governmental organizations and institutions that also drive the will of citizens and residents, responds to communities’ needs on the ground and helps people […]