Passion and Purpose: 5 Years of Marketing with a Difference


It is truly hard to believe it has been five years!

Most people are surprised when I share that I became a business owner on ‘accident’... and that becoming an entrepreneur was not intentional. Before The Cause Collaborative, I liked my jobs - truly. There was always something positive about the work or the experience. But in all honesty - and I think many people can relate - sometimes, it was JUST the humans that I loved. So, I set out to find purpose in my day-to-day work in 2014.

The Fast Forward Film Festival - Rochester’s only environmental film festival - was my first project. This festival allowed me to align my passion for causes with my daily work. The concept was to bring attention to issues happening within our environment (and raise awareness for climate action) through short film and video-making. After a few months of dedicating my days (and often nights) to growing the project from the ground up, I needed a team. This specific ‘need’ was what started it all and planted the seed.

I began researching and trying to find an agency or firm that focused on storytelling for causes - to help raise funding, support, and awareness for this wonderful project with a purposeful mission. As a project director for my client, I recognized that creating change on a local level (especially for a cause such as climate change) would be difficult and require extensive relationship building.

Well, it turned out that I did not successfully find a firm to help. And because of that, I set out to find community ‘experts’ and collaborators that were self-employed, that I could bring on the project as consultants. Close to a year later, I had almost a dozen sponsors working together to bring the festival to fruition. With over 30 “friends of the festival” (community organizations supporting the festival at no-cost), an accredited jury, and through a local venue, media, and collegiate partnerships - Fast Forward received close to 500 entries and sold out two back-to-back nights.

Word of mouth is how it grew from there! I hired two full-time employees with positions/skillsets that I knew, strategically, every cause would need. We then grew to four and again to eight employees by the beginning of 2018. Now at 11 employees, The Cause Collaborative has helped 75 nonprofit and mission-driven organizations. We partner with dozens of community experts and contributors to be able to do the work required to meet the objectives of our clients. Whether an organization is partnering with us to raise awareness of their community services and programs, create sustainable revenue streams by increasing fundraising success, or seeking outside-the-box solutions for organizational challenges, we have grown to be that resource for them. After five years in business and partnering with so many community organizations, it is beautiful to see, firsthand, the impact of these collaborations.

Beginning a unique business model is certainly no easy feat. The model we created in The Cause Collaborative strategically considers which mission-driven causes need a team. We are a one-stop-shop resource with a “we work next-door” feel and operate with a “for local, by local” approach and mindset. Because the only work we do is cause work, we have grown to be recognized as the expert for storytelling strategy, mission-driven fundraising, and resource alignment for nonprofits. What we do not offer in-house, we provide through our collaborators and community contributors (and we’re continually growing).

There are always mistakes along the way. Although with every small (or sometimes not so small) road bump, there has always been something even more unexpected and beautiful around the corner. I believe, wholeheartedly, that when you align passion and purpose, magic truly does happen. With collaboration at the forefront, and not letting the all-too-common limitation of a small budget get in the way, we work hard to make the impossible, possible. We are forever thankful for the opportunity to help bring to light the incredible programs and services that are saving lives, educating our community members, keeping people off the streets, combating stigmas, and much, much more.

We’re celebrating. 5 years in business, 5 years of collaboration, 5 years of purpose.

Have a passion for causes and interested in helping, too?

Reach out today!