In the fast-paced agency world, we fill our schedules to the brim with projects, meetings, and deadlines, hoping our behind-the-scenes efforts will be impactful enough to be recognized by our clients. But as we’ve worked with hundreds of employees over the years, we realized our longing for a sense of purpose beyond our work contributions.
That’s why, in 2012, our executive team started a company initiative called Avalaunch Gives Back to provide employees with meaningful opportunities to do good and give back to the local community. Since then, Avalaunch Gives Back has made good use of our employees’ altruistic attitudes and behaviors and has benefitted many worthy local causes.
Over the years, Avalaunch Gives Back has evolved into a two-pronged effort that has transformed our organization, helping us launch brands, people, AND purposes on a daily basis. Here’s how we do it.
Our Two-Pronged Approach
Today, #AvalaunchGivesBack is a dual-purpose initiative focused on a) supporting communities around Utah and b) promoting education in all its forms. We donate time, resources, and expertise to create lasting change and make a difference in the lives of those around us. #AGB now encompasses the following efforts:
1. Giving to Our Local Community
To fulfill our sense of duty to corporate social responsibility (CSR), our agency has made a concerted group effort to focus our donations of time and money on improving our home state of Utah. Our charity partners and service projects enhance our local communities and make this state a better place to live and work.
How We’ve Helped Utah
We are proud to have supported a range of Utah-specific charities and organizations, including (but not limited to) the following:
- Wasatch Community Gardens: Our company spent a day in the service of Wasatch Community Gardens, helping them prepare for the upcoming vegetable season.
- Ronald McDonald House:We waged a garden cleanup day for the families of Ronald McDonald House Charities.
- Make-A-Wish Foundation: Avalaunch raised money for a two-year-old Utah girl named Remy, battling cancer, who wished to visit a Disney theme park. We were thrilled to help make that happen through the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
- Thanksgiving Dinners: Our teams helped to provide Thanksgiving dinner for several Utah families struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Utah Diaper Drive: We rounded up diapers and monetary donations for the Utah Diaper Bank to help mothers in need.
- Humane Society: As an animal-loving organization, we launched a social media contest and partnered with NEADS (dogs for deaf and disabled Americans) and the Humane Society to raise several thousand dollars for each organization.
- Loveland Living Planet Aquarium: Our COO, Andrew Melchior, spent five years volunteering on the local Loveland Living Planet Aquarium board of directors. In this capacity, he attended quarterly and ad hoc meetings to provide free strategic insights into the aquarium’s marketing initiatives and helped them make connections within the space.
- Festival of Trees: We donated a themed Christmas tree to the annual Intermountain Healthcare Festival of Trees event to benefit Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City.
- Avalaunch Gives Back 5K Race: We hold an annual family fun run to support local causes, help our nonprofit partners, and raise money for our #AvalaunchGivesBack Scholarship program, which helps students pay for tuition at Utah colleges. This 5k race tradition was started by Avalaunch strategist Aaron Marks, in fulfillment of his goal to raise charity money to qualify for the New York Marathon.
2. Empowering Education
Education is a powerful tool for creating positive change in the world, and Avalaunch Gives Back has helped to provide educational opportunities for people at all stages of their careers — both within the company and externally.
Our Educational Efforts
- Elementary School Education: Our teams organized a service project at Thanksgiving Point, where we put together tulip dissection kits to help Utah elementary students learn about natural science in a hands-on way.
- High School Education: We are proud to have sponsored the Lone Peak High School mountain biking team and the Bingham High School baseball team, which provided much-needed funding for equipment and facilities and helped build a sense of connection between the schools and the community.
David Mink, CEO
Our CEO, Dave, serves on UVU’s digital marketing board, helping a team of professors plan curriculum and internships that help students find employment and experience long-term success in the field.
Aaron Marks, Strategist
When Aaron started as a strategist at Avalaunch, he had a goal of becoming an adjunct professor of marketing. Our CEO connected Aaron to the marketing department chair at UVU. After the chairman invited Aaron to guest lecture there for a year, he was hired as a professor to teach Intro to Digital Marketing to classes of ~70 students.
Kyle Shurtz, VP of Performance Marketing
Kyle is our VP of Performance Marketing, who served as an adjunct professor at Ensign College in Salt Lake. As Kyle reflected on the events leading up to this experience, he said, “The biggest thing was the support from ownership. They were fully on board and told me I should do it. Additionally, the flexibility of my schedule allowed me to teach classes during a normal 9–5 schedule, and everything I was teaching was from what I learned on the job and through working with the amazing clients we have.”
Luke Alley, Professor at BYU
Luke was Avalaunch Media’s first-ever employee. Through the support of Avalaunch Media’s leadership team, Luke became an adjunct professor at BYU and eventually obtained full-time employment as a professor at BYU-Idaho due in part to this experience.
Jason Coulam, CFO
Jason, our CFO, created the Utah Service Scholarship as part of the MBA program he completed while working full-time at Avalaunch. His team collaborated with the internal teams at Avalaunch to create a logo, video, and other assets for the scholarship program. This program has grown significantly and awarded money to many students in need.
- Avalaunch Media Scholarship: Each year for the past 10+ years, our company has awarded a $1000-$2000 scholarship to one student based on an essay submission to help alleviate the financial burden of education. One of our scholarship recipients is now an employee of Avalaunch! We have also funded hundreds of thousands of dollars in additional scholarship money by working with our clients to create dozens of new private company-backed scholarships and promoting them through our sister organization ScholarLaunch.
- UVU Presidential Interns: We invited participants of UVU’s Presidential Internship Program to visit our office and talk with each department head about their career paths and what students can anticipate from an exciting career in marketing.
- Non-Traditional Education: Dave Mink is one of the co-founding board members of the Utah Digital Marketing Collective — the state’s most prominent digital marketing community. The organization provides high-quality industry education through networking events hosted by local and national industry experts.
Reach Out to Us for Partnership Opportunities
We believe that giving back to our local community is a responsibility we all share. That’s why we’re always looking for opportunities to partner with nonprofit organizations in our area and amplify our impact.
If your organization is dedicated to making a positive difference in the lives of others, we’d love to hear from you. Whether you’re seeking volunteers, fundraising support, or marketing expertise, we’re here to help. Let’s work together to make our community a better place for everyone. Contact us today to learn more about partnering with Avalaunch Media.