March 10, 2021
Seneca 360 helps non-profits pivot during pandemic
Projects target event production, marketing
Before the pandemic, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) used to fill a room with 400 people for its annual awards gala.
“It’s a signature event we host every year,” said Ariel Benjamin, Specialist, Public Affairs, OCC. “That was not happening with COVID.”
Thanks to a Seneca 360 project team that helped the OCC produce a series of videos celebrating organizations and individuals that made a difference during the pandemic, the OCC was able to transform its gala into a virtual event. It also secured a partnership with TLN to air the videos, leading to more than 200,000 views.
“As soon as we connected with Seneca, they made the whole process easier for us,” Ms. Benjamin said. “They gave us a refresh and made everything seamless. In the end, we reached an even wider audience.”
Today is the day! Tune in on @TLNTV today at 2:30PM ET to watch the 2020 virtual Ontario Business Achievement Awards as we celebrate #DifferenceMakers!#OBAA2020 is brought to you by Series Supporting Sponsors @facedrivecanada and Series Supporting Sponsors OMERS & @TCEnergy! pic.twitter.com/HYKHPwjomy— Ontario Chamber (@OntarioCofC) December 27, 2020
Seneca 360 is an initiative that provides non-profits free access to a broad range of quality services provided by Seneca students and grads, overseen by faculty.
To help organizations such as the OCC pivot during the pandemic, Seneca 360 recently created two project teams to expedite its usual process of finding, hiring and paying the students or grads who match the requirements of services requested by a non-profit.
“We want non-profits to focus on their mandates,” said Peter Moscone, Managing Director, Seneca 360. “Because of COVID, people tend to cut back on giving. Non-profits are used to putting hundreds of people in a room to fundraise but that’s not possible, so Seneca 360 mobilized to assist with the transition to virtual.”
To assemble the project teams, Mr. Moscone, who also teaches in the School of Electronics & Mechanical Engineering Technology, hired recent graduates from the Event & Media Production, Creative Advertising and Brand Management programs to work under the guidance of professors Tim Abbott from the School of Media and Reza Alavie from the School of Marketing.
For OPEN.innovate Creative Arts Incubator of Durham Region, a non-profit that provides accessible learning and mentorship opportunities for young creatives and entrepreneurs, Seneca 360 provided expertise in technological support and direction in hosting a virtual workshop series. For both this project and the OCC, Seneca’s Information Technology Services provided additional platform support, including creating a virtual vMix server that enables the teams to record, process and stream video content.
For Hang Tough, an initiative led by a team of University Health Network doctors for patients with multiple health issues, a social media strategy was developed from the ground up to raise money and awareness in online communities.
Likewise, an enhanced social media strategy was implemented across existing platforms for YouthSpeak Performance Charity, a program dedicated to addressing mental health in youth, with a focus on compassion and mindfulness.
In total, 1,200 hours of work were logged by the Seneca 360 teams on these projects.
“Those are hours that the non-profits didn’t have to fundraise,” Mr. Moscone said. “And our graduates got paid by Seneca 360, which is funded by Seneca and our donors.”
Srilata Sridhar, who graduated from the Brand Management graduate certificate program in 2019, was the social media expert who worked on both the Hang Tough and YouthSpeak projects.
“I was excited about this opportunity as it included social media and content strategy — both key focus areas of my career,” she said. “I’ve never worked for a non-profit before, and I got to lead both projects, which was a confidence boost for me. Amid the pandemic, working on these projects was easily one of the highlights of my year.”