Recently, I had the opportunity to speak with Andrew Giacini, Director of Dance Marathon at UF. Their Dance Marathon consistently raises over $1 million dollars for their local Children’s Miracle Network hospital. As Director of External Fundraising, I called to ask for advice on my specific position but saw an opportunity to ask about how they maintain their social media. I hope to continue working with non-profits, so his advice on how to manage a successful team and campaign can help me in the long run. Here is our interview:
T: What writing style(s) do you use?
A: Honestly, I keep my language as simple as possible. Our Facebook page is geared towards our students. If it’s too fancy, facebookers will scroll right past it. No one wants to think about what they’re reading on social media. They just want to read and scroll.
T: What audience do you typically write for? How do you decide? How do you adapt to each audience?
A: We target UF students. Why? Well, you know, this is a college exclusive event. Only gators can participate. That doesn’t mean we aren’t challenging other schools. We do that all the time! It’s a great fundraising tactic. You should consider trying it.
T: I will! We are still growing, so at this point we would likely lose any challenge we issued. Its all for the kids, though, so we’ll think about it. So, can you tell me what you are writing on a day-to-day basis? Memos and emails, or articles and press releases?
A: I think you’ll find this more relate-able to what you do, Tiffani. I write a lot of emails to businesses. I think its easier to call ahead to find out who you should address the email to and ask if they need any additional documentation. Then I’ll summarize what we want from them in the body of the email and attach a formal letterhead.
T: How fast-paced is the environment? How long do you have after being given an assignment to get it in? What happens if it’s late?
A: Things don’t completely work that way over here. We have a team and each person is assigned a different area. We rely on everyone to get their part done. For most of the tasks, its really on each individual’s own time. The rest of the directors are students like yourself. If they don’t get it done, then something will be missing at the event. Its do or die and thankfully everyone on my team does their part.
T: How do they get their writing assignments? Are they finding them on their own?
A: Like I said earlier, I don’t assign them everything. They know what they’re in charge of. They have to take the initiative to get things done and that does mean they find them on their own. I help everyone. I guide them. Sometimes, I will come across something useful and will pass it along. In the end, it is their job to do it.
T: What advice do you have for me? Is there anything you would have done differently in college? Would you have taken more classes to practice their writing style?
A: I think you’re ahead of the game. You’re already so involved with such a well known organization. This experience will get you places. Feel free to reach out to me again. I hope you all reach your goal.
Help me reach my goal everyone! All donations benefit All Children’s Hospital. Donate here: events.dancemarathon.com/participant/tiffily