When radio veteran Janine Davis started her nonprofit Girl Talk Foundation in 2003, she used her relationships with local radio stations and word-of-mouth tactics to market the organization dedicated to empowering teen girls. It wasn’t ideal, but it got the job done.

“When I look back at our mindset about marketing, I felt it was underrated when it came to nonprofit because all you think about is where will you get the funds,” Davis said.

With thousands of local charities, and not enough funding to go around, it’s critical for organizations to stand out to potential donors and volunteers. Luckily, Davis built a relationship with Stacey McCray, vice president of public relations at creative agency Luquire George Andrews. Through McCray, Davis learned about Goodstock, LGA’s 24-hour marketing marathon that provides a variety of free services to help local nonprofits gain attention and raise funds. Since 2009, LGA has donated more than $1.5 million in services to 38 community organizations through the annual initiative.

It’s been eight years since Davis participated in Goodstock, and Girl Talk Foundation is still reaping the benefits. Following discussions with Davis, the LGA team customized marketing materials including a polished messaging template for presentations. She credits the team’s expertise in helping Girl Talk secure several sponsorships.

“We still use it today. Whenever we go to a potential donor, volunteer or anybody who wants to wrap their arms around Girl Talk, we now have a template to show them,” Davis said. “We’ve edited the template, but for the most part, we have a really strong foundation because of them.”

Applications are open for this year’s marathon, slated for Sept. 20 and 21. To be eligible, registered nonprofits that provide services in Mecklenburg County must complete an online application by July 30 at 5:30 p.m. Places of worship, political organizations and past recipients are ineligible to apply.

Katrina covers Charlotte's Black business scene for QCity Metro. She's a Miami transplant, pescatarian and lover of the arts. She earned a public relations degree from the University of Florida. Got a...