Marketing an Essential Service

Claire Lee (top left), a BAS Digital Marketing student at Bellevue College, at the Volunteer Appreciation Event hosted by the Issaquah Food & Clothing Bank in early March 2020.

Claire Lee, an upcoming graduate of IBIT’s Digital Marketing BAS program, serves as the Development and Communications Assistant at the Issaquah Food & Clothing Bank. Lee shares an inside look into her work developing marketing and communications for an essential business and how her education at Bellevue College has allowed her to give back to the community.

Describe your role at the Issaquah Food & Clothing Bank.

Lee: “My role consists of many things—minus the thousands of households we serve and the hundreds of volunteers we host every month, we are still a small staff team. Small staff team = many hats! I’ve done everything from planning large community events to sorting food in our warehouse. As part of the development team, my job revolves around donor marketing, stewardship, and communications. I develop content, communications strategies, and graphic design. I do a lot of writing—copywriting for signage, newsletters and emails, press releases, grant proposals, and gift receipt letters. I also co-manage IFCB’s social media accounts, database, and websites along with their Google Analytics account and Google MyBusiness account.”

Can you share a highlight of your work?

“In light of the coronavirus outbreak and the orders for social distancing, we’ve had to completely change our operations with a quick turnaround. As an essential service, we had to take a different approach to our service model and how we communicate with our clients and donors, taking into consideration the social distancing recommendations and the economic impact that the pandemic has had, respectively. People are losing their jobs, filing for unemployment, et cetera but they still have bills to pay, families to take care of, and other expenses that are continuing to pile up. They shouldn’t have to decide between feeding themselves or putting a roof over their head. Food is a right, not a privilege,” Lee says.

“I’m extremely proud to share that in the first month of our emergency operations, we’ve provided about 2,000 services including food pick-ups and deliveries. Not to mention 122 households were NEW to receiving help from the food bank. This is tangible evidence that many more families and individuals are being thrust into economic instability as a result of the outbreak and I am beyond proud to be part of a team helping to serve our community during these trying and uncertain times.”

Portrait of Claire Lee
Claire Lee

How have you applied your education at Bellevue College to your role at Issaquah Food & Clothing Bank?

“I’ve not only applied what I learned in Digital Marketing classes at Bellevue College to my own work but also to when I’m communicating with other businesses and organizations who are helping us promote our services, volunteer opportunities, and events. It would have been exponentially more difficult to know what to ask for and when if I didn’t have the background knowledge I gained through the Digital Marketing program. From understanding the difference between advertising and content marketing to target audience and segmentation, demographics, reach, frequency of media, and how to conduct research and analyze data. Even writing an engaging email—from the subject line to the call-to-action—all of this has been imperative knowledge I’ve learned through the program and applied in order to successfully fulfill my role at the Issaquah Food & Clothing Bank.”

How has the Digital Marketing program prepared you for career success?

“I came into the Digital Marketing program with zero knowledge about marketing or even business in general. Of course, the material taught in this program has provided the knowledge I need to start and succeed in this field but more so, I am appreciative of the hands-on approach this program takes when teaching students. Being able to apply new skills and concepts in a learning environment has been an invaluable experience that you won’t get at all schools or even different programs offered at BC. The life skills—networking, public speaking, writing, competition—shoutout to Kyle Barber for encouraging me to do DECA—have all played a huge role in my career path thus far.”

Can you share a goal or big milestone you are working on?

“Upon receiving my undergraduate degree, I am planning on pursuing a Master’s degree. In the short term, I’d like to expand my skillset by looking into opportunities to learn more about and get certified in graphic/web design, UX/UI, and software engineering. At some point, I’d also like to complete my psychology degree as well. You can never learn too much!”

Last Updated May 18, 2020