Much to blog about.


Sun King’s Tips for a Creative Nonprofit/Corporate Partnership

October 20, 2016 | by Heather Hall

When thinking about CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility), it is easy to limit the scope of impact if the focus is only on monetary contributions and the relationship is only seen as transactional.

For both the nonprofit and business to achieve the full potential benefits, the relationship has to be cognitively acknowledged as a mutual partnership, and both parties must value what the other has to offer. This value is rooted in both entities being provided with something that meets their needs and being able to assist the other organization in fulfilling its needs. This approach does take more time, but the outcome can be exceptionally rich for both the nonprofit and the business.

The development of this partnership (do note that I am not using the term sponsorship) starts with a conversation where the parties share what assets they bring to the table and what needs they need to meet. One pitfall that can derail the development of a strong partnership is the expectation that a nonprofit organization needs to accept what is offered no matter if it addresses their need or not. This type of giving only lessens the efficiency of an organization because they either have to determine how they are going to utilize the unexpected resource or how they will redirect the resource to another nonprofit that can properly utilize the “donation.” Just as businesses have specialized “products” or focuses, nonprofits have specific missions that they serve. A quality CSR partnership allows both participating organizations to walk away feeling understood and valued. When correctly executed, the return on investment (not just financial, but time, staffing, etc.) is measurable for both parties.

A solid illustration of a successfully executed partnership is the arrangement between Sun King Brewing Co. and its existing community partners to execute the CANvitational beer festival presented by the brewery annually. In previous years, an external organization was contracted and compensated to arrange for volunteers to assist brewers and monitor gates, set-up, tear-down, and registration. These volunteers were primarily interested in the brewing scene and were attracted to the opportunity because it provided free access to the festival. For the 2016 event, Sun King Brewing Co. took a different approach by choosing not to pay a contractor for the volunteer recruitment and organization, but rather invest that money and all net proceeds in community partners that were willing to assist in recruiting volunteers through their preexisting volunteer pool. Through this model, Sun King was able to have access to trained volunteers whom took the job seriously as they were focused on fundraising for their organization and the individual nonprofits benefited from the proceeds of the event based on the number of individuals they provided.

It is important to note that both Sun King Brewing and the nonprofits were having their needs met, while using their assets to meet the need of the partnering organization. Although the individual nonprofits had to communicate initially with their volunteers, all coordinating once someone agreed to participate was done through Sun King. No additional pressure or time commitment was asked of the nonprofits. Both organizations were invested and rewarded without individually having to carry the bulk of the weight.

Although the example of CANvitational includes a large and complicated event, collaborations can be as simple as sharing tools, sampling products, and sharing social media reach. All great CSR needs is two parties willing to listen and use creativity to connect the dots.

Heather Hall is VP of Community Engagement for Sun King Brewing Co.

Hear Sun King’s story for yourself at the “CSR in the Age of Social Enterprise,” a breakout session on October 25 at the PRSA International Conference in Indianapolis alongside panelists from Bohlsen Group, Endangered Species Chocolate, and Pedrotti Hays, Inc.  

For event details, click here (conference registration required to attend).


Tangram gains national recognition for life coaching program and Disability Employment Awareness Month

October 19, 2016 | by Heidi Harmon

Tangram is an Indianapolis-based nonprofit organization that creates extraordinary lives for persons living with a disability. They have several arms of the company focusing on different goals, one being their business resourcing consultation service. This arm aids in keeping companies’ bottom line where it needs to be while working with them to focus on diversity and disability inclusion with unique policies for individuals living with all types of disabilities.

Tangram also operates a life coaching program to help young adults create and sustain positive life change, working within the individual’s environment to identify and overcome obstacles that keep them from creating the life they want. They routinely work with students who have learning and developmental disabilities to get through college and life successfully.


Tangram wanted to gain more attention for their national life coaching and business resourcing programs. One major factor working against us was that while they are expanding, the majority of their work is currently located in the Central Indiana area. Getting national media outlets to cover them could be a challenge because of this. However, we had timing on our side because not only was it the start of a new school year for students, but we were also approaching October, which is National Disability Employment Awareness Month.


‘Tis the season when parents were preparing for an empty nest and high school grads were getting ready to head off to college. For those students who received extra attention in high school for a learning disability, there’s not a great road map out there for how to get the best help you can in the transition to higher education. We created a guest article titled “Top 10 Tips for Students with Disabilities Who Are Heading to College,” and began outreach to targeted national parenting and higher education media outlets, offering the article as a ready-to-run piece in addition to interview availability with Tangram staff and clients.

On the business resourcing side, we knew that disability inclusion in the workforce is quickly becoming the next great horizon in American business. Contrary to popular opinion, diversity doesn’t stop with women and minorities; it also includes individuals with disabilities. Fortunately, many companies are beginning to recognize that there are many business benefits to hiring a diversity inclusive workforce, so we offered Kathy Bernhardt, director of Tangram Business Resourcing, as an expert on the topic for interviews.


A number of parenting and higher education outlets across the country published the ready-to-run article by Tangram. The Chronicle of Higher Education interviewed Tangram and a client who had received life coaching for a feature article on its website.

Media coverage includes:

Also, keep an eye out for Tangram features on Disability Employment Awareness Month in the following media outlets:

For more information about Tangram, visit


5 ways to flex your brainstorming muscle (without free food)

September 28, 2016 | by David Cordell

It might seem cliché, but building your brainstorming muscle is a lot like building your physical muscles. Coworkers complain about sore biceps from P90X but you rarely hear, “My dorsolateral prefrontal cortex is sore from all of that thinking today.”

Most people don’t think about even “having” ideas until the dreaded work email: BRAINSTORMING MEETING TODAY. Gulp.

“How do I get out of this?” you might think to yourself. If it weren’t for the free food associated with such a meeting, you might even fake an illness or give yourself the Zika virus (I’m not a doctor, but I’m not even sure that it’s possible.)

In many ways, you DO have to think of your brain as a muscle and work that muscle out every day. You can actually get better at brainstorming, concepting, or ideating– whatever you call it– and have fun doing it. So, fear no more. If you follow these five simple tips, I’ll have your corpus callosum tighter than Tony Horton’s Gluteus Maximus:

Set up an idea workout plan

Like a workout plan at the gym, you have to be disciplined. Buy a handy-dandy notebook and write down ideas every day. Set up five to 15 minutes to write down as many ideas as you can. These don’t have to make sense, just a few words, a sentence, or quick sketches. Some days you will have a blank page, but that’s ok because it’s a process. Make it fun. Give yourself prompts for the day to quickly generate ideas, for example: “How would I make a better coffee maker?” or “How could I make a better notebook?” I don’t care what it is. You will actually get better at asking questions too, which is another part of getting good ideas. Start your ideas with “What if….?” questions. You may not be good at first, and that’s ok too. Think back to your first day of your marathon training (ugh!).

Find your cozy “idea place”

Being comfortable and relaxed is a big part of conditioning yourself and getting your whole body ready to accept new ideas. It could be your bed, shower, a coffee shop, a museum, or even just a quiet place at work. My favorite place to go is a bookstore. I love all of the ideas and possibilities around me. I would find three random books and apply one thing from each book to my topic. Most of the time it makes no sense at all, but it forces my brain to consider ideas that I would never have thought on my own.

Have more bad ideas

Failure is necessary. Sometimes it’s good to even say, “Let’s get the bad ideas out there first” You can call your brainstorming sessions “quest for failure” meetings. Even the great Apple computer had one of the biggest product failures of all time. The Newton MessagePad was supposed to change the world, but instead, it was a huge failure. But the basic idea of the Newton was the seed for the iPhone that has revolutionized how we live today.

Get an idea buddy

There you are in the company brainstorm meeting, and it’s your turn to talk. You look on at the 20 other faces in the room, open your mouth, and your idea sheepishly crawls out. Silence. Nobody—I repeat—nobody feels 100% comfortable throwing out ideas in that setting. It’s better to assign (or let people choose) an idea buddy. This one-on-one environment is more conducive to a conversation-type atmosphere for maximizing ideation. Then have a larger meeting to throw out each buddy groups’ ideas.

Believe that ideas are all around you

We’ve all done it. You see the infomercial for the flowbee and think, “I thought of that!” How can we all be thinking the same thing? I personally believe that ideas are all around us. If you can adopt this belief, it will take the pressure off of you making an original idea. Again, recognizing this is another way to help yourself relax. Be a conduit for ideas, like metals conducting electricity. Over time, you can condition your brain to be a better conduit of those floating ideas. Increase your personal idea conductivity level and you will be surprised with the results.

Now go with confidence to brainstorm and treat yourself to all of that meeting food knowing that you worked your brain like a pro.


Four Fresh Ideas to Generate Marketing Content

September 20, 2016 | by Mandy Bray

Like being in a long relationship, sometimes in marketing you have to be creative to keep things fresh and relevant when you’re talking about the same topics day after day.

The best kind of content marketing is that which informs and entertains, delivering value to your customers or stakeholders. Talking too much about your own products and services without showing interest in the other person can be a real conversation-killer.

With that in mind, here are a few ideas to help you generate new content and stories that will enthrall your audience and move them to action.

Address your audience’s pain points

Find out what makes your customers or stakeholders tick. What are the problems they face on a daily basis? Search for a common denominator. Ask people within your organization that have the most touch points with customers (sales, customer support, field personnel, etc.) what barriers they encounter or problems their customers discuss the most.

Once you have these pain points outlined, create marketing content that 1) acknowledges and empathizes; and 2) provides a solution to those problems.

What do you know?

When planning content, think about the assets that your organization has. It could be people who are knowledgeable in their fields, videos or artwork, resources, or data. A lot of organizations are sitting on caches of data that they don’t think is valuable to anyone but themselves. However, complex data can easily be broken down and presented and repurposed in interesting ways. Likewise, think through how the other assets that you have can be repurposed, or people leveraged for the valuable expertise that they have.

Give your customers a peek behind the scenes

You work hard to make your final product or service look like perfection to customers. Nonetheless, showing the process at work can help build anticipation among customers and help them connect with your brand on a deeper level. Look for ways to show progress, such as:

  • Build excitement for an upcoming event by showing preparations
  • Show a teaser image of a new product launch
  • Interview your leadership team
  • Make a video showing a behind-the-scenes peek of something customers wouldn’t ordinarily see

This strategy can also generate more consistent conversation when your organization may only have a few big events or launches per year.

Create the Content

If you find yourself in a real content rut, sometimes it will fall to you to make interesting things happen even if it isn’t in your job description. Plan an event. Give something away. Create a challenge. Go for a world record. Don’t be afraid to suggest ideas to leadership and other departments within your company for campaigns that you believe will have a big ‘wow’ effect on your audience.

We’re an integrated communications agency specializing in events & entertainment, nonprofit, and corporate marketing. We’d love to see how we can help you get started on your next content calendar or strategic communications plan. Contact us!


Fall in Indy: Abundant with Colors and Events

September 14, 2016 | by Bohlsen Group

By Miranda Maritato 

We know you hate to see summer go, but admit it – fall is your favorite season. As the heat of summer simmers down, it’s the perfect time to get out and enjoy fall in Indianapolis. Check out some of the upcoming events:

Celebrate the Indy Bike Hub YMCA’s 5th Anniversary (#BikeHubBDay)

City Market – Indy Bike Hub YMCA

Month of September

Attention cyclists, fitness enthusiasts or anyone looking for some treadmill time: the Indy Bike Hub YMCA wants to celebrate their 5th anniversary with you. The Indy Bike Hub YMCA has been working to build a stronger and healthier Indianapolis through fitness programs and participation in community initiatives. Visit the Indy Bike Hub YMCA or wish them a happy birthday using #BikeHubBDay!

For more information about Indy Bike Hub YMCA, visit

Indy Urban BioBlitz

Barth Avenue Bridge

Sept. 16, 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Interested in being a good neighbor to the plants and animals that surround us? Come out for an Indy Urban BioBlitz hosted by Reconnecting to Our Waterways at the newly refurbished Barth Avenue Bridge on Friday, September 16. There will be displays, hands-on activities and a biodiversity movie to watch on a giant blow-up screen. This intensive 24-hour inventory of all the plants and animals in the area will focus on improving water quality for every living thing in the city.

For more information, visit:

JA JobSpark

Indiana State Fairgrounds

Sept. 29 – 30

Never underestimated the power released by a single “spark.” The Junior Achievement of Central Indiana is hosting a two-day, hands-on learning experience in different career options geared towards 8th grade students at the Indiana State Fairgrounds on September 29 and 30. The JA JobSpark helps students plan for high school, post-secondary education or a different career track.

For more information, visit 

Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site’s Candlelight Theatre presents “The Witching Hour”

Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site

Oct. 14,15, 21, 22 and 23

Join Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site’s Candlelight Theatre for a hair-raising performance. The only School of Wizardry and Witchcraft in North America is opening its doors for future sorcerers and sorceresses. “The Witching Hour” takes audiences from room to room throughout the Harrison mansion for historical and fictional tales told by witches. Performances begin every hour and last approximately 75 minutes; they are scheduled for Friday and Saturday 6:00 – 8:30 p.m. and Sunday 2:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Visit here for ticket information:

Taste…the Wine Regions of California and Taste After Dark

Salesforce Tower

Oct. 21, 7 – 10 p.m.

Do you enjoy drinking wine? Do you enjoy drinking wine from California? Indulge in the best of California’s vineyards, artfully presented food tastings and a live and silent auction all for the benefit of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Indiana. New to this year’s event is the “After Dark” segment, including electrifying beats provided by a DJ, wine tastings, creative food pairings and more. Don’t miss out on this evening of fine wine – all atop Salesforce Tower at the spectacular D’Amore.

For more information or to register for either event, visit

ICC Fall Concerts

Multiple Locations

Oct. 28, 7 p.m.; Oct. 30, 2:30 p.m.

Enjoy a family-friendly, not-so-spooky concert put on by the Indianapolis Children’s Choir and special guests Echoing Air on October 28. “Music of the Night” will take place at Broadway United Methodist Church, 609 E 29th Street.

On October 30, join the ICC for “Sweet Melodies: A Classical Afternoon,” a showcase of music they performed at a recent visit to Carnegie Hall. The concert will be at St. Joan of Arc, 4217 Central Avenue.

For more information, visit

Spirit & Place Festival

Multiple Locations

Nov. 4-13

Celebrate Indiana’s Bicentennial year and explore the different meanings of home. Spirit and Place Festival presents home as a place, a space and an idea with 40 events. Indianapolis’ largest collaborative festival, the series of events focus on using the arts, religion and humanities to shape individual and community life.

For a full list of events at this year’s festival, visit

IPS Hall of Fame

Indianapolis Public Schools Headquarters

Nov. 10

Support the IPS Education Foundation and celebrate icons who have graduated from Indiana Public Schools at this year’s IPS Hall of Fame luncheon on November 10. This event includes performances from IPS students, honors several outstanding graduates and allows students the opportunity to see what is possible with an IPS education.

For more information