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Background: Selected in 2015 for an Education Pioneers Fellowship highlighting leaders passionate about combatting the opportunity gap, I was paired with SEO Scholars for a ten-week consulting project. SEO Scholars is an 8-year college access nonprofit reaching 1000 New York City public high school students each year .


Challenge: Help SEO Scholars transform their recruitment efforts and build an ongoing pipeline for high-quality talent


Key Insights:

  1. Spread the word: SEO Scholars had a 60-year legacy and nearly unmatched student success rates, yet basically zero name recognition. Like many non-profits they were averse to spending money that could go to students on marketing themselves. However, poor brand awareness damaged not only their staff recruitment, but also their student and donor recruitment.

  2. Speak clearly and succinctly: SEO Scholars was a rigorous, data-driven organization and the majority of their marketing collateral was written to target donors. Thus, communications were dense, technical, and full of statistics. In order to speak to a broader audience, they would need to more clearly and simply articulate their value.

Core Activities:

  • Conducted 20+ stakeholder interviews across all levels of staff to understand hiring and marketing needs and pain points

  • Compiled competitive analysis of hiring practices and recruitment channels for 40 national competitors

  • Published "Recruiting Technical Guide" in collaboration with HR to codify new hiring strategies and best practices, presenting final results in a training for nearly a dozen staff

  • Redesigned recruitment marketing collateral and built creative suite of new marketing tools, including visual one-sheet, 8 hours of student testimonial footage, and social media initiatives which drove engagement up 50%