Ben Bartosik

Communications Director

From 20162019

For 3.5 years I was the Communications Director at a Toronto based charity that worked with vulnerable youth all across the city. I worked directly with the Executive Director in helping him plan and communicate strategic vision to the staff, volunteers, and donors. I also supported our 70+ staff in their communication and fundraising needs as they worked across the city.

Here's a breakdown of a few key parts of the role:

Overseeing the Communications Plan

As Youth Unlimited grew in size and scope over the previous decade, the need for central communications support increased. With over 65 diverse initiatives, 70 staff, and 400 volunteers spread out across the city, the need to bring communications under a clear and consistent umbrella was necessary.

My role involved managing both the print and digital communications strategies. This included our annual direct-to-mail campaigns, email campaigns, impact reports, managing the website CRM, and working directly with the frontline staff to gather and share stories. I also managed our summer interns and other creative freelancers we hired.

Skills Included: High level communications strategy and timeline planning, copywriting, editing, email marketing, creative software use (Canva, InDesign, Photoshop), website CRM, coordinating creative freelancers and printers.

Creative Direction for Fundraising Events

Another major part of my job was operating as the Creative Director for our annual fundraisers. This involved collaborative leadership alongside the development teams in planning and executing 2 major fundraising events a year.

Each Spring we would host a charity golf tournament for around 150 golfers. On top of the the actual tournament, we would run a Pitch & Pledge auction style fundraiser. Each year I would work with the Executive Director to put a creative spin on whatever it was we were raising money for.

An example of this was our "Light Up The City" pitch in 2018, where we created a giant map of Toronto and then screwed light bulbs into them to represent the density of youth across the city. Donors could then pledge to give to certain areas and we would turn a bulb for every $500 raised.

In the fall we would have our larger reception (alternating between two formats every other year). Our larger one, the Friends Reception, hosted about 1000 guests, and involved music, art, and more.

My role for this event involved establishing a creative theme to wrap the event around, managing the creative team, promotion, script writing, video production, and more. I would also direct the evening to make sure it moved along on schedule.

One of my favourite creative concepts was when we were trying to highlight the legacy of 70+ years of working in Toronto. We used old archival photography of the city and overlaid it with more vibrant, colourful sketches.

Skills Included: Event planning, script writing (video and live), fundraising pitches, drafting giving forms (online and print), email campaigns, event registrations, coordinating creative teams.

Branding a Strategic Plan

I had the joy of participating in a discernment process to envision the next four years for Youth Unlimited (2019-2023). I got to work closely with the executive director, who led the process. It took about 6 months to determine four clear strategic directions that the org would focus on for the next four years.

My responsibility was then to come up with a compelling brand for communicating it to stakeholders.

Skills Included: Working alongside the ED to communicate the strategic vision in a creative and compelling way to all stakeholders, coordinating creative freelancers.

Supporting Staff In Their Communication Needs

With such a large and decentralized team, the communications support needs were diverse and many.

One of the unique challenges of this charity was that every team member needs to raise part or all of their salary through personal fundraising efforts. This was often a combination of building a network of support partners and some sort of crowdfunding effort. Part of my role involved resourcing and assisting our team in best practices, tools, and new opportunities in communicating their needs.

Skills Included: Inter-personal skills, problem solving, management, building out internal communications solutions, establishing and communicating key policy changes, recruiting and managing summer interns (through Canada Summer Jobs), strategic support for large and decentralized team.