The above efforts are both components of SoSA’s overall marketing and visibility efforts. The very act of volunteer and donor outreach and maintenance is in and of itself marketing. Tabling at conferences, visiting farms and distribution centers, and donating produce all highlight the efforts and significance of gleaning. Furthermore, SoSA’s 2nd year VISTA has forged relationships with multiple local media outlets, who report on SoSA and gleaning events. Outside of this, the largest marketing endeavor is in grant and fundraising activities.
Fundraising events for SoSA change year to year, adapting with the needs of the Florida office at the particular point in time. For SoSA as a whole, a Matching Fundraiser was launched to celebrate the accomplishments and retirement of the last founding member on staff, Marian. Via online, paper, and public speaking efforts, SoSA raised over 80 thousand dollars to continue our national mission. For Florida, each year there is a fundraising event held in our office, traditionally an auction. Auction items are solicited by the VISTA and Program Coordinator, who market gleaning and SoSA to potential donors. Traditionally, local restaurants, theme parks, athletic teams, and theatres will give items or certificates to be auctioned off. In 2018, the Simple Supper and Silent Auction were held, holding the triplicate purpose of fundraising, marketing, and recognition. Year round, SoSA receives generous donations of organic, handmade, non-GMO, fair trade soaps and scrubs. These gifts are sold regularly by the VISTA and Program Coordinator and have also been used as tokens of gratitude.
However, grants make up the bulk of marketing and money raising endeavors. The 2nd year VISTA analyzed a potential grant list of 240 entries. Each grantor was investigated by the VISTA, vetted for suitability, and either eliminated or moved into the second round. 115 of the initial contenders made the second list, and approximately 30 moved forward with grant requests. The 2nd year VISTA also researched industry and philanthropic institutions outside the above list for future grant makers. Additionally, a student intern identified 5 corporations for the 2nd year VISTA to apply for funding from. Grant composition in its very nature is marketing, proving to the grantors that SoSA is a valuable nonprofit worthy of funding.
The Society of Saint Andrew (SoSA) can trace its humble origins to two families and a sheep shed in Big Island, Virginia in 1973. From these roots, the nation’s premier food rescue nonprofit has blossomed. SoSA’s primary function is gleaning, going into a field to harvest leftover or unwanted produce, and then giving this food to agencies free of charge. Additionally, SoSA has the Potato & Produce project, gathering truckloads of produce for distribution, and the Harvest of Hope, a retreat program for long-distance volunteers to glean and serve. Since 1995, the Society of Saint Andrew has maintained a presence throughout the state of Florida. The primary program, the Florida Gleaning Network, mobilizes over 3 thousand volunteers to gather 4 to 6 million pounds of produce annually. The Sunshine State is a veritable agricultural cornucopia, providing such produce as: onions, white potatoes, bok choy, peaches, pears, strawberries, cabbage, lemons, cucumbers, squash, starfruit, oranges, avocados, and the infamous Zellwood sweet corn.
The Florida office is located in Orlando and oversees all projects and events for the state. The state office team holds three full-time staff: the State Director, a Program Coordinator, and a Harvest Against Hunger AmeriCorps VISTA. The state is sectioned off into geographical regions: South, East, West, West Central, Central, and the Panhandle. Each area holds a satellite gleaning coordinator position who works part-time to carry out gleans in the district.