At Hershey Cause Communications, we’ve built our success on helping causes use the power of communications to amplify their values, their ambitions, and their milestone achievements. This month, I’m excited to share we’ve reached a pretty significant milestone of our own:
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 charged. It means living in alignment with real values—and with consistency and devotion to service.
At 40, we begin to recognize time is not a limitless currency—but also that our lessons learned have strengthened our resolve. We have developed a skillset for pushing with purpose into the years ahead.
At 40, we’ve shed the edges of what isn’t us to clear the way for more of what is unmistakably us.
We’ve been guiding clients to discover their own authentic selves since the earliest days of our business. For four decades now, activists, advocates, and conscientious leaders have turned to us for powerful communications strategies that give voice to tipping point issues and put non-profit and for-profit interests on equal footing.
These extraordinary collaborations have done far more than draw attention to great causes — they’ve helped turn empathy into currency and currency into life-changing solutions for children, for members of the LGBT community, for educators, for our shared environmental health, and for a more just and empathetic world.
We’re proud of our many successes—and, even today, the memories of some of our favorite clients continue to ripple across conversation in our office, long after their projects have closed.
In 2012, we joined forces with Kaiser Permanente to guide a community benefit campaign for the HBO documentary Weight of the Nation, a film which launched one of the country’s largest public health campaigns on obesity. Our nation-wide screenings and educational events sparked dialogues not only with families and their physicians but also with policymakers whose eyes were opened wider to a life-threatening concern.
In 2000, we published the first edition of our Communications Toolkit, providing expert guidance in communications practices for visionaries throughout the nonprofit world. This toolkit, which aids in everything from goal setting and budgeting a communications plan to raising awareness of (and funds for) extraordinary causes, has been reprinted numerous times and has even helped former Fortune 500 marketing executives develop new skills within the competitive nonprofit arena.
In 2015, we collaborated with AltaSea at the Port of Los Angeles, a public-private partnership that merges science, education, and business interests to generate innovative solutions to global sustainability issues. As AltaSea prepares to break ground this year on its 35-acre campus, work is already underway to expand and deepen public understanding of the ocean, to contribute to the sustenance of ocean-related businesses, and to champion robust engagement in the sciences. We’re thrilled to have helped communicate this pioneering organization’s vision and ingenuity to the City of Los Angeles.
As we reflect on these deeply felt connections, it’s hard not to think of our own trajectory at Hershey Cause — to seek out the thread that connects so much of our work across the public and private sectors, and across foundations and nonprofits. In truth, that thread has always been clear, strong, and simple:
We believe the power of smart communications should be accessible to all.
For 40 years, we’ve staked our reputation, and our revenue, on providing a megaphone for those who too often go unheard, and on providing a toolbox for those who can’t yet craft their message alone. We are a mission-driven organization with a values-driven mindset.
Equity. Empathy. Clarity. Opportunity. Purpose.
In recent years, that mission, and those values, have only grown stronger. As our current political climate drowns out marginalized voices in profound and devastating ways, the demand for clear and powerful storytelling has rarely been more urgent than it is right now.
So although this 40th anniversary seems a natural time to reflect on the past, at Hershey Cause our hearts are already directed towards the next 40 years — a future informed by the urgency of today. My own heart can’t help but quicken at the thought of what impact these next uncertain chapters may have on generations to come, and yet I remain resoundingly optimistic that the future is ours to shape. This is the time for intrepid causes to take bold action.
Although we may not know exactly what the future will demand of us, we can be sure it will lean on the shoulders of fearless and skilled communicators. It will require authentic leaders and strategists, across all industries, who shine a light on the misunderstood, on the invisible, on the underfunded, and on the underestimated. It will be an opportunity for progress and purpose. And we’re ready.
I can’t wait to see what the next 40 years will bring.
— R. Christine Hershey