TRAIN's Marketing Workshop Boosts Local Non-Profits

Aaron Wesley Means shares electronic marketing strategies with local non-profit representatives at the TRAIN marketing workshop.

(L-R) Colin Kirkman, TRAIN Specialist for United Way of Transylvania County, Paul Morgan and Drew Baker review last-minute details before the TRAIN Educational workshop.

Drew Baker of Brevard College kicks off TRAIN’s educational workshop with marketing principles, as applied to non-profits.

(L-R) Drew Baker, Paul Morgan, Leann Lindsey, Don DeBiase, and John Lanier offer best practices for using a variety of media outlets to inform the public about local non-profit actions.

United Way of Transylvania County’s TRAIN (Transylvania Resource Access and Information Network) hosted a workshop created especially to boost local non-profit agencies’ public relations and marketing effectiveness Wednesday, September 13. Presenters spoke to 19 agency representatives on how they can better inform the public about the important work their organizations do.

“Attendees at the regular TRAIN round-table meetings and at the spring TRAIN Educational workshop asked for help with communicating their services, events, and needs to other Transylvanians. Thanks to some of the great professional resources in our community, we developed this ‘assemblage of advice’ event for local non-profits,” said Colin Kirkman, TRAIN Specialist for United Way of Transylvania County.

Attendees learned about marketing principles from Drew Baker, Assistant Professor Business and Organizational Leadership at Brevard College. Baker stressed both the essential features and the hidden complexities of marketing, and emphasized the need for nonprofits to find concrete imagery to communicate their services.

Local writer Paul Morgan moderated a discussion panel that included input from Morgan, Baker, Don DeBiase with WSQL Radio, John Lanier from the Transylvania Times, and Leann Lindsey of Allegra Brevard. The panel shared best practices across marketing media formats, encouraging agencies to make use of local media resources and offered practical advice on how agencies can best use them.

Aaron Wesley Means of Activate Business Solutions explained current trends and techniques for electronic engagement with potential donors and clients. In speaking to an audience that provides services to widely varying constituencies, Means emphasized effective, data-driven tactics that anyone can utilize for better marketing results. 

“Participants left with a good foothold on the mountain of marketing and public relations. Each agency was able to take away strategies that meet their particular needs,” added Kirkman.

“We’re looking forward to continuing this series, which strengthens the skills and capacities of the local agencies that serve this community. We’re already in the early planning stages for our next TRAIN Educational workshop for the spring of 2018,” continued Kirkman.

TRAIN’s Educational Series provides local agencies with training and information they might not readily access independently.  The first offering was a free grant-writing workshop in April 2017, designed to help organizations bring money in from outside the county. It was presented in collaboration with the Transylvania County Library, which provides online access to The Foundation Center. Thirty attendees from 24 agencies & organizations learned how to identify funding prospects, optimize their database search, and implement best practices in grant writing. 

Agencies interested in learning more about United Way’s TRAIN should call 883-8822 or email Kirkman at for more information.

About United Way

Campaign contributions support initiatives including community-wide volunteer opportunity listings, the 2-1-1 information and referral service, TRAIN (Transylvania Resource Access and Information Network) non-profit support, Familywize and Coast2Coast prescription discount cards, the Tiny House Initiative for Brevard, and free state and local tax preparation and filing assistance.

United Way of Transylvania County (UWTC) contributions also fund approximately $300,000 annually in grants to local health and human service non-profit programs and collaborative actions. UWTC funds actions providing early childhood education resources, after-school and summer youth programs, adult day care, health services, financial education and counseling, youth conflict resolution training, parenting education and resources, and programs preventing homelessness, abuse and neglect.

UWTC empowers people to improve their lives.  Specific goals are for all residents to achieve their full academic potential, maintain a financially stable household, and live a healthy lifestyle.

To volunteer or financially support the United Way of Transylvania County, call 828-883-8822, visit the office at 101 W. Jordan Street, #4 (below PNC Bank in downtown Brevard), send US Mail to PO Box 53, Brevard, NC, 28712, or visit  or

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