Communications Coordinator

VISTA Name: 
Ashley Matthews
Program Start: 
Program End: 
Project Description: 

The mission of is to serve as a catalyst for positive social change by leveraging modern technologies and business best practices. spreads important social information via our network of socially-focused web sites, while also providing non-profit organizations with free valuable resources to increase their efficiency and productivity.

Working in cooperation with the Executive Director and Director of Outreach & Development, the Communications Coordinator will:

- Strengthen the capacity of’s website to serve nonprofits, recruit new members, and generate needed attention from media outlets, donors and partners.

-Develop and execute a strategic Media Presence campaign. The Media Presence campaign will ensure that news about’s services reach as many potential nonprofit organizations as possible, increasing our capacity to serve organizations (and by proxy, individuals). In addition, the Media Presence campaign will increase our financial capacity as an organization as warranted attention attracts the attention of potential donor and partner organizations.

- Develop high-profile portal sites, cooperating with partners to ensure the sites serve as premier destinations for information and interactive content. Potential portals to be developed include,,, and others.

Project Outcome: 

Ahsley began her service by taking part in a staff retereat in Columbus, Oh which was very helpful for team building. She was able to meet all of the people who make it possible for Grassroots to be successful and prepared her for our fundraising event in LA the following spring.

Shortly thereafter she began developing the domain, one of the portal sites we had in mind. She scouted the field for partners that would help provide content to the website. She has recruited a number of local Professors of criminal justice for this purpose.

From July 26-28, Ashley attended the Non Profit 2020 I will be attending the NP2020: “Giving Emerging Leaders a Voice in the Nonprofit Community” in Grand Rapids, MI, for which she had received a scholarship to attend. She was able to get the people she met interested in the potential web-based programs such as egroupware and Salesforce to help their nonprofits.

Ashley helped us prepare for a fundraising event that took place in Seattle on August 13, 2007. She learned what goes into making such an event successful, such as creating a theme compatible with the invitations and organizing a budget. She performed public-relations functions such as preparing advertising and outreach materials.

Due to a critical blood shortage in central Ohio, Ashley represented in their efforts to help recruit donors to the blood drive on October 11, 2007. I am in the process of coordinating a blood drive with the Red Cross, which will be held on October, 11. She established relationships with local businesses. She also strengthened our relationship with Strongtech, with whom we share office space, by inspiring them to recruit donors as well.

In the months following the drive, Ashley continued her web development work while helping staff market some of its new programs, such as its MBA Mentor program, which pairs Grassroots members with MBA students from the University of Maryland to provide free marketing consulting, and the Social Venture Consulting program which will begin spring 2008.

Ashley attended the She’s Geeky conference in Mountain View, CA. The conference was for women working in the field of technology. She network with people outside of the nonprofit tech world such as google reps, yahoo reps, and AOL reps. She was able to participate in a free public speaking training from an acting and speech prof. from UC Berkley.

Beginning in January 2008, Ashley isolated a number of Foundations that fund national open source technology projects. Because Grassroots works at the national level, it is often difficult to find funders who match our profile.

Ashley updated our constituent database using Salesforce’s nonprofit edition. She also attended the NTC conference March 19-21 in New Orleans, where she joined sessions about database management and how to use them effectively.

Instructions for E-Newsletter


A set of guidelines and deadlines for the creation of Quote…Unquote’s E-Newsletter. Prepared by corps member Erica Jones.

Boston Email Fundraising Bootcamp

October 7, 2009
Boston, MA

Idealware and Third Sector New England are thrilled to host the Boston Email Fundraising Bootcamp! The Bootcamp will be an intensive, activity-packed day to help you jumpstart your email fundraising efforts. Whether you are new to the world of email fundraising or just need a refresher, join us to hear from experts from Idealware, Firefly Partners, and Database Design Associates and get hands-on help from peers and consultants in designing your own email fundraising strategy. With a cap of 45 participants, everyone will benefit from individual advice tailored to their own organization.

Idealware Software Tip of the Month - Creating Online Charts

There’s a reason they say pictures are worth a thousand words. Graphical depictions of data on your website can help your audience understand complex information and move them to take action. Thanks to a set of newer, mostly free, online tools such as Google Docs Spreadsheet, ManyEyes, and Swivel Business, creating online charts has never been easier.

International Labor Communications Association Convention

September 10, 2009 - September 12, 2009
Pittsburgh, PA

The ILCA is a professional support organization for labor communicators. We work to strengthen and expand labor print publications, websites, and radio, television, and film productions by providing resources, expertise, and networking opportunities for labor communicators. The ILCA works to encourage democratic labor media that engages workers in an ongoing conversation.

Newspaper Article: Calling Home and Losing Minutes


VISTA member Kris Rios serving at People’s Production House in New York, NY had a piece published in the Gotham Gazette (New York City News and Policy) about the difficulties and costs experienced by those trying to stay in touch with family and loved ones. This article discusses challenges people using calling cards faced, notes pending regulation and law changes, and provides consumer advice.

Magnetic Car Ad, HandyCapable Network


An example of how to promote your organization and its programs inexpensively: print up magnets to put on your cars. This inexpensive and portable strategy was developed by Nathan Badera at HandyCapable Network in Greensboro, NC.

Transmission Project