Campus News

College of Communication and Information Works to Help Kentucky Moms

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 22, 2021) — Service is a large part of the University of Kentucky College of Communication and Information’s mission, so when two members of the college learned about an opportunity to assist a statewide nonprofit organization with their community outreach and marketing needs, they brought their expertise together to make it happen.

KY-Moms MATR (Maternal Assistance Towards Recovery) exists to help pregnant and parenting mothers struggling with substance use disorder. The organization serves the Commonwealth by connecting these women to community outreach and education opportunities, substance use disorder prevention and case management services.

To achieve these goals, however, KY-Moms must promote themselves to potential clients and community partners. “They’re there to help the moms; but, in order to do that, they need to reach out to community organizations and doctors' offices, ask for donations for sponsorships, and design catchy promotional materials that can be shared on social media,” said Allyson DeVito, senior lecturer in the UK School of Information Science.

This presented a challenge — the organization is staffed by case managers and prevention specialists, who do not have a background in marketing and community outreach. This led Katie Stratton, KY-Moms program administrator, to reach out to the University of Kentucky for advice. She was quickly connected to DeVito.

Through her CIS 300: Strategic Business Communication class, DeVito had experience in maximizing the limited resources of nonprofit organizations. She has partnered with the $100 Solution Project in the past, tasking her students to build marketing strategies with just $100. Now, the challenge was hers.

“I knew as soon as I spoke to Katie about KY-Moms that I wanted to ask our awesome CI Communications Director Catherine Hayden about getting involved because of her experience and all of the amazing projects she works on each day for our college,” DeVito said. The two spent months planning the logistics, connecting regional offices and creating an accessible presentation. The virtual workshop took place in late October and outlined skills such as website design, newsletter creation, email writing, social media marketing and networking skills.

Hayden presented a main topic about basic design tips and breakout sessions on using free business tools for things like graphic design, social media scheduling, writing/editing and appointment scheduling. DeVito presented a breakout session on effective email and press release writing.

Two KY-Moms MATR employees also presented best practices on other topics including making community connections and marketing strategies as well as a breakout session on media relations, based on the successful strategies of one location’s work with their local media outlets.

As a result of the one-day seminar, KY-Moms MATR has since adapted its marketing approach, utilizing newsletters and free business tools to make flyers, business cards and social media images, Stratton said. She is hopeful that these efforts will lead to more referrals for services from community members.

“It was a good feeling to be able to take what we normally do each day or teach in a classroom setting and say, ‘Here are some tips and things you can do that can help with your job to help Kentucky moms and their kids,’” DeVito said.

Learn more about KY-Moms MATR at this link: https://dbhdid.ky.gov/dbh/kymomsmatr.aspx.

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.