Broadleaf HEA: How Content Marketing Helps Us Improve Health & Wellness in India [Interview]
In the latest installment of our nonprofit interview series, we caught up with Broadleaf HEA to talk about how content helps amplify their mission and support a region near the Himalayans.
There’s been a lot of discussion surrounding healthcare in the U.S. this past year, but for Michael and Denna Matergia it’s been on their minds since 2007. After living in the Darjeeling Hills for one year — an Eastern Himalayan region of India — they decided to take action and help children in the area by launching Broadleaf HEA (Broadleaf Health and Education Alliance). Their mission is to improve the quality of life for children in this region who are often affected by developmental disabilities, anemia and more. We caught up with Matt Matergia, who runs their marketing department, to discuss how they’re getting the word out — and how content plays a role.
Scripted: Can you explain what Broadleaf does and how it’s helping?
Matt: We’re a nonprofit based in the United States, but operating in the Eastern Himalayan region of India. Our office is in Darjeeling, but the schools we work in can be as far as 3-4 hours into the countryside outside of the city.
We develop innovative approaches to delivering healthcare and health education to children in rural primary schools. We do that through a program called — CHHIP — which stands for Comprehensive Health and Hygiene Improvement Program. It is implemented in 11 primary schools and involves three components; the first one being a health and hygiene curriculum program, which is taught weekly in classrooms. The second is a health monitoring and early intervention program. We do growth monitoring, deworming, vision screening, mental wellness screenings, to name a few. The third component is improvements to the actual school health environment — we provide new water systems, we build toilets, and work to foster a health physical and psychosocial school environment.
Scripted: What healthcare options does this population have, without your presence?
Matt: There are some resources within the cities, but for the actual region that we’re working with, in the rural communities, there’s essentially just one primary doctor for the entire region.
Scripted: How many do you reach in this region, would you estimate?
Matt: We’re talking a pretty large region — our program serves between 500 students and subsequently their families.
Scripted: As the marketing director, how do you plan on getting the word out?
Matt: We had a lot of exposure through a couple of partnerships, one of those being the American India Foundation. We also won some awards though Harvard University’s Innovation Lab — so that’s given us credibility.
We really want to work on social media and focus on creating really good content so we can really tell our story — because we believe that we have a great story to tell.
We’ve also had some really good success with some event marketing as well. We’ve done pub crawls, galas and we have a really unique annual fundraiser event that we do that we called the Eastern Himalayan Charity Mountain Bike Ride.
Scripted: What’s that?
Matt: The Eastern Himalayan Charity Ride is an annual fundraising ride we put together where we invite riders to travel with us to Darjeeling, they get to see our work firsthand, interact with the local communities and visit our schools.
After that, we hop on mountain bikes and we ride the 250 miles out of Darjeeling into Nepal, finishing up in Kathmandu.
In terms of getting the word out about the organization, the riders have done a great job reaching out to their networks leading up to the ride in order to fundraise and then they become brand advocates for us after they’ve returned home.
Scripted: That’s awesome. What’s the blueprint for your content strategy right now?
Matt: Content is one of the three marketing pillars that we’re focusing on this year, the other two being PPC and email.
We want to increase awareness, attract and engage new donors in addition to staying connected and engaged with our current donors and supporters.
We’ve been using a tool called Trello, which is an online project management tool that we’ve used to create a content calendar and organize our content ideas.
Scripted: Is there’s anything specific trending in the content marketing space for nonprofits?
Matt: The overall goal of content marketing — increased brand awareness, educating your customer base, engaging your customers — hold true for both for‑profit and nonprofit companies but specifically, I think when you are asking supporters to open up their wallets and donate to your organization, it’s really important for nonprofits to engage in content marketing, in order to truly engage potential supporters and tell a really compelling story and I think video can be a really great medium for that.
Scripted: What is the biggest pain point for nonprofits, when it comes to content marketing?
Matt: Our biggest pain point — and I would imagine with most other nonprofits — is a lack of resource,both time and budget.
Every nonprofit has a lot of different stories they can tell and highlight but it can be a challenge finding the time to get those things onto paper and then distributed.
Scripted: What’s the biggest misconception about your nonprofit’s mission?
Matt: While we do provide primary care services to the children at our schools, we are not a medical organization, we don’t actually provide charity or fundraise to finance specialized healthcare.
Instead, we’re working to put in place a sustainable system that can scale to facilitate the connection between communities and government resources, or leave that open to other organizations that specialize in those areas..
Scripted: What about the people you serve? What misconceptions exist there?
We constantly hear about the outsourcing of American jobs to India or the rising middle class there, et cetera so it can seem counterintuitive to some to want to donate to an organization working in India versus maybe Nepal or Africa but what the average American doesn’t realize is that the region that we work in is very remote. The Darjeeling district is a remote, mountainous region and it’s far removed from the economic successes of the major Indian cities. It’s an oft‑neglected region, not only by other NGOs and nonprofits, but also the Indian government.
Editor’s note: Broadleaf HEA is part of Scripted.com’s nonprofit program. If you’re a nonprofit organization and need content to help tell your story email Nicole (Nicole@Scripted.com).
Want to hear another story about non-profits and content marketing? Read our interview with the Tuolumne River Trust here.
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