Strategic communications | Public & media relations


  1. King County Search and Rescue - King County Search and Rescue was founded in 1965.  With over 500 volunteers, it is the largest search and rescue organization in Washington state.  Each year, King County Search and Rescue responds to more than 160 calls for assistance in King County and bordering counties.  
    • Challenge: The organization is made up of eight subgroups, each with specialized rescue skills plus an administration/management body that sets policy and directs fundraising.  Due to the cumbersome structure, the organization struggles with messaging and identity.  Leadership has identified the need for a strategic communications plan that is succinct and that will work across the interagency structure of King County Search and Rescue.
    • Why Shiftpoint? Shiftpoint’s Dennis Noland has a breadth of organizational experience and understanding.  Dennis relishes taking on complex communication challenges. 
    • Tactics: Shiftpoint is hired to develop a two-year strategic communications plan for the organization.  This plan will enable cohesive messaging, facilitate structural integrity, and encourage adoption of and participation in a more unified organizational structure.  Seek media opportunities that bring recognition to the organization and its multifaceted work and its hundreds of volunteers.
    • Success: 
      Through utilizing the Shiftpoint Strategies’ strategic communications plan, King County Search and Rescue successfully pulls together disparate messaging and organizational structures.  The administration/management body coalesces its leadership, organizational and fundraising roles, and all the while electing a new leadership team.  The new executive director embraces the concepts and organizational structure of the communications plan.  King County Search and Rescue receives broader buy in for the evolving messaging and structure from its distinctly different subgroups.

      During the “snowmageddon” of February 2019, Shiftpoint relays information to media outlets, numerating and sharing various details and photos from the 130 rescue and transport operations that take place over 7 days.  This high-profile recognition by the media played a role in King County Executive Dow Constantine designating King County Search and Rescue as its Volunteer Service Organization of the Year for 2019. 
  2. Total Living Concept – With 100 employees, Total Living Concept (TLC) is a South King County nonprofit that provides independent living support systems for people living with developmental disabilities.
    • Challenge: Founded in 1982, TLC is little known and not recognized in the South King County communities it serves.  The Executive Director knows the organization has many great stories and wants to share these with the community at large. 
      Within the greater community, TLC wants to nurture greater appreciation of the benefits provided by supported living systems, the achievements of people living with disabilities, TLC staff members who change the lives of the people they serve in positive ways, and TLC’s unique system of community supports. TLC does not know how to achieve this.
      The thinking behind earned media coverage: Change commonly held public perceptions about people living with disabilities.
    • Why Shiftpoint: TLC hires Shiftpoint Strategies to develop comprehensive strategic communications and media outreach plans.
    • Tactics: Craft strategic communications plan.  Implement media outreach strategies. Implement legislative outreach program.
    • Success: Over a ten-year span of working with Shiftpoint Strategies, TLC garners countless print news stories and television features; stories that showcase the lives of the amazing people TLC supports.

      As a non-profit that depends on state funding, it was imperative that TLC tell their story effectively to elected officials.  During an economic downturn and legislators facing the need to make broad budget cuts, Shiftpoint sets up a series of meetings with state legislators from South King County so that legislators can better understand TLC’s operational structure and request that fiscal specific decisions remain with TLC’s management.  That way, funding cuts can be structured and implemented with the least negative impact on programming and supports for the individuals living with developmental disabilities.  The campaign was a success.

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