Sep 05, 2012 • By

Doing Good Works

The mothers, fathers and kids who walk through the front doors of People Serving People in Minneapolis are turning to that organization for help when they need it most.

They’re homeless, without a place to sleep or eat. They also may be without a job.

It’s a staggering 112 families or more a night. 60% of the residents are children.

It’s a daily “sea of toddlers” in the building, according to PSP CEO Daniel Gumnit.

PSP provides resources to get families back on their feet. From educational programs to employment services, libraries, computer labs, even culinary arts training.

“Our ultimate goal is to end a family’s homelessness with one visit to People Serving People,” says Gumnit. “It’s really great to see how resilient people are and to see them become successful after being here for just a few weeks.”

When PSP needed help of its own, to learn more about who was supporting its mission and why, a General Mills program was a perfect fit for the project.

In the past three years, more than 100 General Mills employees have participated in Good Works, a volunteer effort that provides non-profit organizations with hours of professional marketing or research expertise. We’ve worked with 29 organizations, to date.

At no cost.

That list includes the Walker Art Center, Hunger-Free Minnesota, the Nature Conservancy and Midtown Global Market.

For PSP, a team of people from marketing, consumer insights and promotions spent nearly five months researching, designing and defining the organization’s brand architecture and a blueprint for a campaign titled, “Give a Dream a Home.”

In this video, you can hear more about the project from Gumnit, and Joe Ens, vice president of marketing at General Mills, who was part of the team that worked with PSP.

Gumnit says the results of the guidance that General Mills volunteers provided PSP go well beyond a campaign or a slogan.

“The consumer insight, truly understanding why people might be interested in supporting People Serving People is most important,” says Gumnit. “The fact that we learned that our supporters believe they were fortunate enough to have opportunities that made them successful adults, and that they believe they have an obligation to give back and help homeless children have the opportunity to succeed – that consumer insight into the people that want to support PSP is incredibly important.”

Joe says the volunteers in all our Good Works projects feel they benefit too.

“One thing should be obvious and that’s the holistic feeling of contributing to something that’s beyond ourselves, or our company or our shareholders,” says Joe. “But I also think it helps us build our muscles as marketers to apply our skill sets in an environment that’s fundamentally different from what we normally do. I think it actually helps us be better marketers.”