The American Marketing Association (AMA), American Marketing Association Foundation (AMAF) and The NonProfit Times have recognized Anne Marie Dougherty, executive director of the Bob Woodruff Foundation, as the 2012 Nonprofit Marketer of the Year.
“It’s humbling; I was honored to be nominated and surprised to win,” said Dougherty. “Certainly it’s a milestone for me in my career and given me the opportunity to articulate what my journey has been at the Bob Woodruff Foundation,” she said. She will be honored during the 2012 AMA/AMAF Nonprofit Marketing Conference, which runs today through Wednesday at the Marriott Wardman Park in Washington, D.C.
Dougherty joined the Bob Woodruff Foundation in 2008, becoming executive director in December 2011. Prior to being executive director, she was deputy director of marketing and communications, spearheading the foundation’s initial brand, messaging, communications, fundraising and marketing strategy. “I had the opportunity to start with something very small and stick with it to build it into a multimillion-dollar national nonprofit,” she said in a recent interview with The NonProfit Times.
The Woodruff Foundation’s annual event, Stand Up for Heroes, “was my first stab at really owning the event,” said Dougherty. Not only did the fundraiser generate an extra half-million dollars in donations that night, but overall the organization enjoyed its best year ever, raising more than $3.2 million. The five-year-old organization awarded nearly 140 grants to more than 60 organizations, with plans to distribute another $2 million this year. “We are turning the corner from a small startup to an enduring national leader of veterans’ nonprofits,” Dougherty wrote in her nomination form.
Dougherty initiated the public awareness movement ReMIND in 2009 and has managed five nationally recognized Stand Up for Heroes events, raising more than $10 million in all to support wounded warriors and their families.
The foundation was an early adopter of Twitter, launching a Tweet to ReMIND campaign in May 2009, which raised more than $100,000 in 60 hours through micro-donations and tweets, asking for donations of $5.25 (the date, 5/25, of Memorial Day that year).
In the past year, the Woodruff Foundation has had more than 56,000 visitors to its website, and now boasts more than 4,300 followers on Twitter and almost 5,000 Likes on Facebook.
Dougherty was nominated by Foundation board member Marian Salzman, CEO of Euro RSCG World PR, who she described as a “guiding force on the board,” pushing the organization to adopt and use social media. “She really helped us craft a fundraiser, before fundraising was the norm on Twitter,” said Dougherty.
“Using Twitter as an awareness platform gave us a good base of followers. Now we’re making sure we use Twitter to host a dialogue, and the same with Facebook. Use social media to talk about our cause, what we’re doing, and keep the needs of injured service members part of the dialogue,” said Dougherty. Being recognized as AMA’s Marketer of the Year is a “great opportunity to keep the conversation around what our cause is,” she said.
Dougherty credited the foundation’s board members for their “knowledge, expertise and collective brilliance” that she’s been able to harvest. “I think that’s why the foundation is thriving,” she said.
“I think we’re really going to be doing a marketing facelift on the organization and really digging into the social activation piece and taking our social media presence to the next level,” said Dougherty.
The foundation raised more than $4 million last year, and almost $15 million since its inception.
“The key ingredient to all this success was building relationships and leveraging the good will of a few to do good for many,” Dougherty said in her nomination submission. “Much of our marketing is pro bono. To have the reach and impact we boast is based purely on finding and using opportunities for corporate social responsibility, free ad or air space, pro bono agency support, and having the foresight to move on from campaigns that aren’t achieving the desired impact,” she said.
Barely a month after being appointed co-anchor of ABC’s “World News Tonight,” Bob Woodruff was reporting near Taji, Iraq on Jan. 29, 2006 when he was seriously injured by a roadside bomb that struck his vehicle. The foundation is a leading nationally recognized organization that invests in innovative community-based programs that promote and provide meaningful activity and assistance to post-9/11 injured service members, veterans and their families.